I took a lap around my woods when I got home this evening. There are several plants in bloom, and here is a sampling:

First up is the northern starflower:

Northern Starflower(Trientalis borealis)

Northern Starflower(Trientalis borealis)


There are a lot of these in my woods right now. You can hardly throw a stick without hitting one.

The Canada may-lilies have started to open now too:

Canada May-lily (Maianthemum canadense)

Canada May-lily (Maianthemum canadense)


Another name for this is “false lily-of-the-valley”, but as I’ve said before, I don’t like that name. There is nothing false about this plant, and like the starflower, it is quite abundant in my woods right now. It’s everywhere.

The wild strawberries have decided to come up in the backyard along the edge of the woods. These usually come up by the driveway (and they have again this year), but I don’t recall having seen them in the back until this year.

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

The sarsaparilla is blooming now too. Not all of these make flowers, but the ones that do often make two umbels, as this one did.

Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)

Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)


I always think of Bugs Bunny when I see this because in one episode, he and Daffy Duck were pitted against “Hassan” who was trying to remember the password to open the secret cave door. One that he tried was “Open sarsaparilla?”

Here’s another that popped up in a new place:

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)


Bunchberry is in the same genus as the dogwood tree, which has always struck me as odd. How can a forb be in the same genus as a tree?

Here’s an old stand-by:

Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)


I looked for this particular specimen earlier this spring because I know right where it comes up. It was almost four inches tall when I first saw it, but look at it now. Someday I know that Penny is going to take this one out with a stick, as it grows right along the edge of our path, and Penny tears through there heedless of the flora while carrying a stick in her mouth. There are another half dozen of these elsewhere in my woods though, and they seem rather abundant in other places too. But this is the only one I look for before it sprouts.

New Hampshire Gardener posted a shot of Wild Columbine today, and I lamented in his comments section that some used to grow near the catchment pond on my property (I don’t call it “my” catchment pond, because the city built and maintains it). I hadn’t seen any for three or four years. But I went out there tonight after reading his post just to make sure, and what do you know?

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)


It’s back!

The city came and scooped out our catchment pond again. They did a MUCH better job this time than last time around. Thanks to the cob-job they did last year, it has been nearly empty all this year, and that means… no frogs.

Well, I did see two frogs in there today, but that’s most likely because we got some rain last night and the pond had refilled. But they have thus far been unable to hatch a clutch of eggs, so the numbers are way down.

On my way to the pond today, I saw this garter snake perched atop some honeysuckle.

Garter Snake

Garter Snake


I usually have a hard time photographing snakes. It’s hard to get close to them, but this one just sat there and let me move the camera to within six inches or so. It tasted my air and decided I wasn’t too alarming. I guess.

Nearby I found another columbine blossom. These had already finished this year, so i was astounded to find another bloom. In fact, that same plant has ripe seed pods on it.

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)


It’s about half the length of the first round of blooms, but I’ll take what I can get!

When I left the house this morning I noticed a half dozen different species of insect perched on my front door. I took pictures of them all, but this one was the most bizarre:
"Bizarrodoptera'
I have not yet tried to identify it. Check out those legs!

In other news… My puzzle geocache went live today. Within one hour, someone had solved it (but did not go out and find it yet). Within two hours another person did the same thing. They both had kind things to say about my puzzle. 🙂 Within four hours two more people solved it and found it. Looks like it might have landed on the easy side of the spectrum, but everyone seems to be having fun solving it anyhow. I can be happy with a fun puzzle.

Several species of flowers made their first blooms of the year here today. I noticed five between my office and Sal’s (a pizza place) during lunch (that was about a two-minute walk through mostly paved areas). I was with people from work though, so I couldn’t just stop and take pictures. I made a couple of quick snapshots on the way back, but nothing spectacular. Here’s a list of what was blooming though:

  • Western Salsify (Tragopogon dubius)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
  • Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
  • Curly Dock (Rumex crispus)
  • Sandspurry (Spergularia)

Celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Celandine (Chelidonium majus)


Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)


Those were the city flowers. When I got home, there were several country flowers waiting for me. The first was some Columbine:
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)


I harvested some seed from one of these last fall and sent it to my uncle, but it never came up for him. This was growing by the frog pond pretty close to the same place as last year, but not quite (it is an annual, so it depends on where the seeds land).

I went into the woods and found some False Lily-of-the-valley finally opened up:

False Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)

False Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)


I had to shade this one with my hat. The sun was blowing out the white spray of flowers, and I took several unshaded photos like that. But by the time I set the exposure quick enough for the petals to not saturate, everything else looked like the middle of the night. So I shaded the bloom and tried again with a longer exposure. It came out much better.

Again I tried taking photos of the Pink Lady’s Slipper, Starflower, and Gaywings, and even though some of them came out OK, I’m still not satisfied. They were shaking ever-so-lightly, but the afternoon in my woods are pretty shady, so that motion translated into blur. Maybe I’ll try it in the morning, I dunno.

Jonathan took his last final this morning, so his semester is finished. He’s gearing up for Brussels now, and leaves Saturday evening.

Beth came in from playing early tonight, laid down on the couch, and went to sleep. My first thought was that she must be sick, and that thought was correct. She was running a fever. I didn’t take her temperature, but I’d guess it was around 102 or so. I went to the store and bought some Ibuprofin for her.

So with Beth sick and Jonathan done with school, I’m going to have a hard time getting myself out of bed in the morning, since I’ll be commuting alone.

Mom’s still in the hospital. Dunno when she’s coming home. I do know that at least three nurses tried to insert an IV into her today, and failed three times. That must notta been too much fun for anyone involved.

Va’s Dad and his family are staying in a hotel now courtesy of the Red Cross. Their house caught on fire yesterday and it is currently uninhabitable. They get three nights, so I hope they can find new quarters soon. The house was rented, and they think it was the A/C that caught on fire. It had not been working well, and had been making unsettling noises. They called the landlord, but nothing was done. So the A/C took matters into its own hands. Or so the theory goes.