Angel wings paint the sky

Angel wings paint the sky

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5:37 PM, August 11, 2016

Rays shine down from above

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5:38 PM

Clouds mottle, drama swirls

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7:28 PM

Watchful eye peers downward

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7:28 PM

Over parched yellow fields

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7:29 PM

Orange sun yields to dusk

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8:16 PM

Angel  wings paint the sky

Rays shine down from above

Clouds mottle, drama swirls

Watchful eye peers downward

Over parched yellow fields

Orange sun yields to dusk.

Linking to Skywatch Friday.

©2016, all rights reserved by ontheland.wordpress.com

 

 

 

A creek runs dry

On my Sunday stop at a local woods I discovered that Collin’s Creek is dry. We’ve had so little rain since Spring that our water table is seriously diminished.

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Collins Creek upstream view August 7, 2016
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Collins Creek downstream view August 7, 2016

There was a creek where cool waters tumbled

dogs wet their feet and skidded on rocks,

birds fluffed and drank,

bugs buzzed and skittered.

Now all is quiet in harsh summer heat,

in endless days of merciless drought

Collin’s waters shrank,

to a hard creek bed.

‘Level 2 low water condition!’

conservation experts exclaim

as hoses gush and swimming pools fill,

folks unaware of a stream in the woods

barely a trickle, no longer there.

©2016, all rights reserved by ontheland.wordpress.com

Mullein—a towering medicinal flower plant

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From floppy flannel

velvet green leaves,

a friendly casual shrub

just hanging out,

a towering stalk

bursting

yellow buds

thrusts

upwards

like a spear

leaving

delicacy

far below.

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I finally identified this wild plant as Mullein, not from thumbing through a field guide, but with one quick internet search for a plant that ‘looks like corn’.  Its visual profile resembles corn, but with velvety leaves and a flower spike, it’s not like corn at all and is a member of the Snapdragon family.

Some people love these plants and grow them in flower gardens.  There are many varieties. For herbalists, Mullein are known as a source of traditional remedies.  For me, the young plants, even younger than shown in my first photo, are quite attractive.  As they mature location becomes a factor. They are so huge that sometimes a towering stalk can feel like an obstruction–in the fall the stalks become hard wooden sticks.

Mullein is also known as:  Velvet plant, Verbascum Flowers, Woolen Blanket Herb, Bullock’s Lungwort, Flannel Flower, Shepherd’s Club, Hare’s Beard, Pig Taper, and Cow’s Lungwort.

A thank  you to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow, which gave me a nudge to gather photos, identify, and write about these plants.

©2016, all rights reserved by ontheland.wordpress.com

 

 

Bees buzzing in flowers—Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge #106

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Riot of bugloss,

purple spikes buzz and bumble,

bees sipping nectar.

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My haiku is in response to Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge #106: ‘sing’ and ‘flower’.  ‘Bumble’ means to make a buzz or hum.  I am fairly certain (from peering at a field guide) that the wild flowers in the photos are ‘Viper’s Bugloss’.

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Meet my neighbors

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Round ears lift, listen,

soft curious eyes inspect

dinner distraction.

Beyond old farm fence

An unfamiliar sight

wearing a sun hat.

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Across the road from our house is a farmer’s field where  he sends his cows to graze. Sometimes they stop nearby and I can’t resist taking photos.

©2016, all rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com

 

Royal Milkweed

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Butterfly Flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallow-wort, Virginia silkweed, Common Milkweed.  These are all names for the same plant, known where I live in southern Canada as Common Milkweed.  The only common aspect of this plant is that it can grow everywhere, even on a gravel driveway—as shown in the photo I took this weekend.

In recent years milkweed has gained attention as a plant to cherish if we want to continue seeing monarch butterflies.   This is why I nickname it ‘Royal Milkweed’.  Its leaves are monarchs’ cradle.  Monarch butterflies carefully lay their eggs on the undersides of broad milkweed leaves so their progeny (caterpillars) may feed on the green flesh and white sap–no other food will do.

Milkweeds also flourish behind my garden, where every spring sprouts emerge from rhizome roots.  Their perfume is intoxicating.

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Milkweed flowers are amazingly beautiful–comparable in their complexity to orchid flowers (says Wikipedia).

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Milkweed is a plant of many contrasts, some of which I have noted in these haiku:

Growing in harsh ground,

Bearing milk sap and nectar,

Milkweed nourishes.

Broad thick leaves,

deep traveling roots,

sweet perfume.

Star flowers,

fresh beauty defies

common name.

©2016, all rights reserved by ontheland.wordpress.com

I was inspired to highlight the contrasts shown in these photos by the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Opposites’.