Saturday, June 3, 2023

Under the Strawberry Moon


June’s full moon is sometimes called the strawberry moon, marking the season of ripe strawberries. It is fitting that the imposing moon caught my eye as it was rising yesterday, large and pink. I'd spent the day picking and then hulling strawberries. Behold a few fat of those juicy sun-reddened strawberries fresh from the field. Click to enlarge.

This guy, let's call him "Buck" for his bucket head, guards a strawberry field in South Jersey. I can picture him standing there at night under the strawberry moon. Um, spooky? The moon will technically be full this evening, June 3, but is worth looking at all weekend.

As for the strawberries -- they will soon be jam. I always make sure there are a few jars of this, the first ripened fruit of the year around here, to open at Christmas. Summer in a jar.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Memorial Day 2023


Have a good Memorial Day. Take time to remember.

Soldier rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more;
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking. 

from Soldier, Rest! Thy Warfare o'er
by Sir Walter Scott

Sunday, May 21, 2023

First Pink Lady's Slipper


Here's is the first pink lady's slipper orchid I have seen this year. I was flower hunting in the New Jersey pine barrens on May 9th and there it was. I only saw this one in flower but noted several sets of leaves. Just letting you know -- there are wild orchids blooming out there right now. Click to enlarge.

Pink lady's slipper orchids grow in association with a fungus that enables germination and provides nutrients to the plant. Once the plant is established it returns the favor by providing nutrients to the fungus. Individual plants can live for 20 years and longer in the wild.  Once you find some, you can visit the same spot every spring to see them.

A nice bunch from a previous spring. They are pollinated by bees that are attracted to the scent of the flowers. The flower's big pouch has a slit in the front that allows a bee to enter. Once inside, plant hairs direct the bee to an upper exit that requires squeezing past a pollen mass. Well played, little orchids!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Sunday, May 7, 2023

It's May!


Wasn't the first week of May nice? Click to enlarge.

   As the Scottish poet James Thompson (1700-48) said: 

"Among the changing months, May stands confessed
The sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed!"

Wait -- Is May the shortest month of the year? It only had three letters. 

Not sure -- but I don't think the bees will be able to make up their minds anymore, now that they've all become May bees.

Just remember that although April showers bring may flowers, Mayflowers bring pilgrims.

And in closing I ask -- can February march? Well, no. But April may. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Check Your Sparrows

There are a lot of cute little sparrows in the trees right now, hopping around, singing to attract mates,  and building nests. Like the chipping sparrow above. Click to enlarge.

I heard it singing its cheerful trilled song before I looked up and saw it. The song sounds like this: click here to listen. The bright rusty cap and black eye stripe are diagnostic.

Note the beak full of nesting material. I wish it a successful nest. And remember to check your sparrows -- they might turn out to be chippers!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Wisteria Time

Can't you just smell the sweet purple perfume? Click to enlarge.

Wisteria is blooming now in my neighborhood and it smells wonderful. It smells like summer and  childhood memories to me. 

And it seems to cry out for a haiku, right? I give you In the Moonlight by Yosa Buson:
"In pale moonlight
the wisteria's scent
comes from far away."