Posts made in July, 2013

Down by the Riverside

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in environment, summer, Unmowed Blog | 4 comments

Down by the Riverside

The river. Hot and lazy under July sun. If I happen to feel like a swim, though, it’s a long stumble over sunbaked rocks for a hundred yards to get to the water. I stub my toes a dozen times. A persistent horsefly circles my head, buzzing evilly. When I finally reach the water, it’s brownish, murky, lukewarm. Heaven. I wouldn’t trade my river (the Schoharie Creek in upstate New York) for a thousand swimming pools with crystal turquoise water. I’ll take the smell of river mud over chlorine any day. Crayfish nibbling my bare feet? Dragonflies whizzing past? Not a problem. But wait. What about...

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Sunflowers on the Menu

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in birds, edible, flowers, seeds, summer, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 1 comment

Sunflowers on the Menu

Charlie’s Diner. Coffee, cream, no sugar. Two fried eggs over easy. Whole wheat toast with strawberry jam. Sunflowers. Every summer this great old diner has sunflowers in pots outside the restaurant, to cheer the travelers whizzing by on Route 20. And every year the sunflowers shoot up, dwarfing the pots, and produce giant suns of flowers. And of course birds adore sunflower seeds, so avian travelers stop by and help themselves to a beakful of seeds. Sunflowers to go. Last year, a few seeds must have fallen into this crack in the pavement. And with all the rain we’ve had, the seeds sprouted....

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The Road Not Taken

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in photos, summer, Unmowed Blog | 1 comment

The Road Not Taken

Driving home from central New York, and I try to get on the NYS Thruway at exit 32, about halfway between Albany and Buffalo. Hm. There’s a huge line of traffic getting on the Thruway. I’ve often spent time waiting to get off the highway, but never getting on to it. When I finally get to the tollbooth, turns out there’s an accident eastbound, and the Thruway is closed. (Seems as though they could put up a sign or something, but never mind, it’s too hot to quibble. Just be glad you’re not the one in the accident.) So, muttering under my breath, I get out the map...

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Jewelweed: Poison Ivy Cure?

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in birds, edible, flowers, leaves, native American, summer, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 5 comments

Jewelweed: Poison Ivy Cure?

Can jewelweed cure poison ivy? It’s been used for centuries as a poison ivy remedy, but results differ depending on who’s using it.

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Poison Ivy: Jumping to Conclusions

Posted by on Jul 20, 2013 in insects, leaves, plant parts, summer, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 0 comments

Poison Ivy: Jumping to Conclusions

Quick! Is this plant poison ivy? I was at the Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia, strolling along, and I noticed this vine draped all over the historical fence. As I was peering at it, a family walked by and the mother turned pale and gathered her children about her. “Stay away!” she said. “Poison ivy all over the place, you’d think the Park Rangers would do something about it.” And the kids cowered away from the plant and stayed obediently in the center of the blacktop path. Just another reason to stay inside and play video games. Now I’m afraid I get testy when I hear...

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