Stay at Home Nature: Pokeweed

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Happy to see American Pokeweed poking up in the yard today.

Most years, it’s too much work to process for safe eating, so I let the pokeweed grow.
This time—this particular spring—the thought of boiling *toxic* yard greens three successive times in clean water is no big whoop.

I mean,
just this morning I ground my own flour to make pancakes;
I made broth from scraps;
I planted butts of celery, cabbage, and carrots;
I made new pickles with old pickle juice,
and I made a mask out of a yarmulke (because the mask-from-a-bra idea didn’t work).  Continue reading “Stay at Home Nature: Pokeweed”

Native flowers in the yard today

Parks are closed, so I’m sticking with nearby nature. Yep, I’m sticking like Cleavers on corduroy.*

Small-flowered Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila aphylla)

Today, I walked the yard to take phone pics of native flowers: only natives. (Non-natives, I’ll post tomorrow.) Continue reading “Native flowers in the yard today”

Kitchen Nature: House Centipede

A “House Centipede” was in the house this morning. He was trapped in my kitchen sink—my uncharacteristically clean sink—which proved so slick even 15 pairs of centipede legs could not scrabble a foothold.

Centipedes aren’t new to me, but a clean sink is, as is an organized kitchen. My threshold for dirt and chaos has always been high. But looming pandemics change people. I changed when I realized my family would be hunkered down for an undetermined length of time, and that we’d need to feed ourselves,
and that I was the only one who knew where the food was.

The first thing I did was organize the pantry so that if I dropped dead,
at least my boys could find the mac ‘n’ cheese. Continue reading “Kitchen Nature: House Centipede”

Sidewalk Nature: Trout Lily

I specialize in sidewalk nature—because it’s the nature most of us have—so woodland spring ephemerals do not usually qualify. But this trout lily does. It was blooming next to the road, one short leap over the drainage gully.
And not just one trout lily, but a whole school of them, dappled and nodding alongside a steep stream that empties into a parking lot.
Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Trout Lily”

Warner Wildflowers, mid-March part 2

A short walk on the Mossy Ridge at Warner Park is good medicine.

I never say Nature is for Healing, because “Nature” is not here to make people feel better. “Nature” has every right to exist for its own mysterious, necessary, world-turning processes.

BUT, I do say that paying attention to the natural world can mitigate some humans ills, and one of them is anxiety. Continue reading “Warner Wildflowers, mid-March part 2”

City of [Sandhill] Cranes

wheeling out above the neighbor’s elm . . . 

I walked out into the usual construction noise, but threading through Next Door’s pneumatic nailers and skilsaws came a new sound: softer, sorta familiar, and somehow very, very important. A rolling, repetitive, ratcheting trill . . . a cross between a toad and a fanbelt? Continue reading “City of [Sandhill] Cranes”

DIY Invasive Plant Decor


Last week, my family hosted a simcha—a festive life-cycle event—and fed 160 well-wishers inside a Social Hall not known for its beauty.

“You’ll need something on the tables,” warned a friend the week before.
“Where are the centerpieces?” asked the man who arranged the tables. Continue reading “DIY Invasive Plant Decor”