adaptations

Daylight Savings Time: No, Thanks!

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in adaptations, birds, photos, spring, Unmowed Blog, wildlife, winter | 2 comments

Daylight Savings Time: No, Thanks!

I have a cause I’m deeply committed to. I really get quite emotional about it—just ask my family. And I’m asking for your support. I’m asking for your vote. And a sizable monetary donation wouldn’t hurt, either. My cause is this: Daylight Savings Time. I’m against it. It’s a hoax. A giant prank played on us by the powers that be. We’re all fooled into thinking we get an extra hour of daylight. It’s amazing, right?—the sun slows in its descent, bounces back up into the sky, and gives us a whole extra hour of sunshine. Only, of course, we all know it doesn’t. We just fiddle with the clocks and...

Read More

Branching Out

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in adaptations, Unmowed Blog, winter | 2 comments

Branching Out

The only thing more beautiful than a tree in full leaf is a tree with bare branches. The branching pattern of this tree—of any tree—is beautiful, complex, and anything but accidental. There’s a reason for every twist and turn in every smallest twig. It’s all driven by the search for sunlight. Each leaf has to maximize the amount of sun it receives in order to make food for the tree, and therefore the tree has to spread out as much as possible so the leaves don’t shade each other. But spread too wide and the branches will bend and break. The tree also has to grow upwards, to get above any...

Read More

Poison Ivy: Hairy Vine, A Danger Sign

Posted by on Dec 26, 2013 in adaptations, plant parts, Unmowed Blog, winter | 6 comments

Poison Ivy: Hairy Vine, A Danger Sign

How can you tell if it’s poison ivy twined around your backyard tree, when the leaflets three are long gone? Look for the hairy vine.

Read More

Cattails: Winter Warmth

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in adaptations, birds, native American, plant parts, seeds, Unmowed Blog, wildlife, winter | 0 comments

Cattails: Winter Warmth

Cattails in a winter marsh, with a skim of ice on the water. This chilly picture seems to be the very essence of cold. But actually this is an image of potential warmth. You’ve seen cattail seed heads, I’m sure, when they’re just ripe–they look like a brown velvet hot dog impaled on a stick. Just one of those spikes can hold an unbelievable number of seeds–somewhere in the vicinity of a quarter of a million seeds on each stalk. Each individual seed is a tiny dot, almost invisible, attached to a little cluster of fluff, which acts as a parachute so the seeds can...

Read More

Dandelion: Up Against the Wall

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in adaptations, fall, flowers, seeds, Unmowed Blog | 2 comments

Dandelion: Up Against the Wall

Dandelions grow anywhere, it seems. That’s almost literally true. Dandelions can sprout in places that seem little short of miraculous, barren habitats where almost any other plant would throw in the towel. They seem to thrive in parking lots, sinking roots into rock-hard soil that’s driven over by cars, parked on by eighteen-wheeler trucks, and scraped and salted in wintertime. The tender green leaves shove their way through gravel and slice through layers of blacktop. Dandelions are found world-wide, spread across the planet on every continent except Antarctica, below sea level...

Read More

Wild Thyme: Bee Harvest

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in adaptations, edible, fall, flowers, insects, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 1 comment

Wild Thyme: Bee Harvest

Funds are tight everywhere these days, and one thing that must have gotten slashed from the budget of the Florida, NY Town Hall is mowing. Of course there’s not a lot of lawn to mow in front of the town hall, it’s just a tiny oval island of green in a sea of blacktop. Usually it’s scalped into a brutally short crew cut, but this year they’ve let it run wild. Which is to say, the grass must be quite two inches long. And intermixed with the grass are several large purple patches of thyme. Lying on my stomach on this sun-warmed savory blanket, I can see the honeybees bumbling around among...

Read More