Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rides and Walks and Flowers and Barns....

Once again, the weeks have gotten away from me. Work and family commitments (and more work) have made blogging time scarce, even as the photos continue to pile up. So here are three weeks' worth of rides and walks, with scattered thoughts on the weather and the passing of time.

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Short Tuesday Ride

The gloriously dry heat has turned a bit sticky, but the sun still shines from a summer-blue sky.

A spot of bright fuschia-pink catches my eye - the first ironweed of the year:

Common Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)

Just across the road waves a field of feathery goldenrod:


I used to associate goldenrod with autumn, and would get a bit depressed at its appearance in late July. Somehow, this year, it has ceased to bother me. I think I've finally realised that though the summer flies by so quickly, winter will pass quickly too. The seasons and years are beginning to march in double time, disappearing over the horizon almost before they've arrived. A sign, I suppose, of encroaching age....

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Cloudy Friday Ride

The air is thick and threatens rain. I pass clumps of wild cucumber, climbing and sprawling over the edge of a field:


A mile from home I stop to snap this blushing bit of creeper:


Then the clouds open. In a minute I'm soaked, but happy that we're getting some sorely-needed rain.

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A Walk to the Post Office

The back road to the village PO runs through what some might call waste land. (I call it charmingly undeveloped, and hope it will stay that way for a good long while.)

On one side of the road is a vine-adorned fence that serves to keep a small factory within bounds:


Growing on the curb is a kind of plant I've never been able to identify (until now):


It's Four-o'clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea). I've seen this species on bike rides in other summers, and have been mystified by what I took to be green flowers. The blossoms are actually pink, but only come out in the late afternoon. Sometime I hope to see them in bloom.

Also on this road grow Fleabane, like clouds of tiny daisies:


Spotted Knapweed, invasive but delicately lovely:


Don't the buds look like little aliens? :)


Goldenrod with a colour-coordinated insect:

Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle

A clump of tiny Whorled Milkweed:


Also spotted on this walk: Flowering Spurge, Hoary Alyssum, Sweet White Clover, White Snakeroot, and Sumac. I do like taking the back way to the Post Office....

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A Long Tuesday Ride

The day is gorgeous, hot and sunny and blue-skied. I decide to photograph mainly barns and buildings, a subject somewhat neglected in this wildflower-minded summer.

An old barn with a cupola, shrouded in trees:


A feed mill, looking like a circus of the prairie:


A green barn, blending in with its surroundings:


Bright red-and-white barns, and a silo topped with a bird:


On the other side of the barns, cows turn to look as I take their photo:


Then it's up, up, up a hill so steep I can photograph the shadows cast by my spokes (a sign of how slowly I'm climbing):


On the way down the other side, two border collies come rushing out at me, circling and wanting desperately to herd me to the side of the road. I do not take their photo, being too busy trying to avoid a dog-bike collision.

The road takes me past a windmill farm...


...beneath which sits a perfectly glorious red barn, adorned with a painting of flowers:



Then around a corner and down a steep, curving grade into the valley. The descent would be perfect were it not for cars coming unexpectedly around corners and straying into my lane....


Then up again to the high prairie, past fields of corn, under clouds like a trail of wandering footprints across the sky:


Miles later, a favourite white barn with pigeon-decked silo:


And a clump of Sweet Joe-Pye Weed too beautiful to pass up:


A long, relaxed ride on a beautiful summer's day.

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Sticky Saturday Ride (with Mr. M)

Some true mid-August weather - hot and horridly sticky. Mr. M and I take off in the morning before the heat becomes too intense. The air is moist and the sun glares, making photos look overexposed and a bit misty.


Close encounter on a country corner:


Mr. M eventually turns for home, but I stay on the road to put in a few extra miles. On a steep, curving climb, I reach a welcome patch of shade and stop for a photo of the deep-green field below:


Red clover blooms at the side of the road:


A few miles on, corn and power lines march down the valley:


Back on the outskirts of town, purple loosestrife glows in the morning sun:


A satisfying morning ride.

That brief spell of extreme heat and humidity didn't last; now, in the last week of August, temps have turned unseasonably cool. I do hope we get more summery weather before the first frosts strike in September....

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The Great 2015 Wildflower Count is coming on apace - 124 varieties spotted so far. Every time I think I've seen all the flowers there are to see, I spot something new. What a wonderful world.

What's wonderful in your life right now?

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