Posts made in December, 2012

Hay: Everything Old is New Again

Posted by on Dec 15, 2012 in seeds, Unmowed Blog, winter | 0 comments

An old hay bale. Left over from last winter—we bought hay to feed the sheep, but the early spring weather brought early grass and that meant the sheep didn’t need all the hay. So this one stray bale just sat there, ignored. It got left out in the rain and weather all summer and fall. Now in December it’s still just sitting there. No good for sheep fodder. The hay is all dead and useless.     Except it isn’t dead, because life is starting over on top of the bale. Some of the zillions of seeds baled up inside have germinated, and there you go. The seeds of grasses and...

Read More

Great Ideas: The High Line

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in great ideas, nature centers, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 0 comments

A great idea. An idea with potential to really change things, to create something new, to make the world a better place. I have them all the time. And then I think, ah well, that’s all a bit too much like work, really, for right now. I’ll get back to it later, for sure… In New York City, in the 1930s, an elevated railroad track was built to connect the docks, factories and warehouses that used to line the west side of Manhattan. But as the years went by, the trains stopped running, and the track was abandoned. It rusted for years, as grass grew between the rails. It was a...

Read More

London Plane Tree: Sidewalk Art

Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in photos, plant parts, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

When you go to New York City, you expect to see great art. There are world-famous museums on every streetcorner, it seems, with paintings from all over the world. Modern art can be a challenge, I admit it. Stuff by artists like Miro or Pollack or Kandinsky. Sometimes it just looks like, well, blobs.             Of all the great art I’ve seen in Manhattan, this is one of my favorites. Beauty courtesy of a sidewalk artist: a London plane tree. One of the commonest street trees of New York City. It has this strange bark thing going on: the outer bark peels off to...

Read More

Thistle: Waiting for the Train

Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in adaptations, leaves, plant parts, Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog, winter | 0 comments

The Beacon train station. Waiting around for the train to New York City on a chilly damp day. It’s a long wait, and the train is running late, and the commuters are starting to grumble. Nothing to do but scout around for some interesting plant life. Over here in the rocks (which were carefully placed to keep weeds from growing) is a nice healthy cluster of thistle leaves. Not unlike commuters, thistles are aggressive and prickly. You have to be a bit prickly, to survive in a train station. Thistles have survival down to a science. They’re dandelion relatives, members of the Asteraceae,...

Read More

Moss: True North

Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in adaptations, plant parts, Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

I took a picture of this tree at high noon. Twelve o’clock. Why? To test an old piece of wilderness lore: the belief that moss grows on the north side of trees. Does it? Or not? If you’re lost in the woods, should you look for moss on a tree trunk and set your path accordingly? Is this truth, or an old wives’ tale? Every time I walk in the woods, I conduct a highly scientific survey on this topic–I glance at tree trunks from time to time. And I have conclusively proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that moss grows on trees. But. Does it grow on one side more than on...

Read More