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More Ironweed Festival

Thursday, September 4, 2014

 Still meandering down in the ancient cow pasture down Dean's Fork. It's now inhabited not just by 12' tall ironweed, but by a lone Hereford cow who, by her owner's admission, has always eluded capture. He's long since moved the herd to better pastures, the ironweed having taken over this one, but she remains, alone and wandering up and down Dean's Fork, well-fed by pastures and hayfields and watered by the stream, but doubtless lonely. I see her enormous tracks going up and down the road. The first time I found them it was like discovering dinosaur prints. Outsized. A bit scary, until I figured out who'd made them.

I see where the tree fell over her fence, letting her out of the ironweed jungle to wander free. I'm a little haunted by her, and hope I'll run into her someday, if only to offer her some company. I heard her coughing in the woods not long ago; I see huge fresh hoofprints deep in the mud on the road. It'll happen. 

Cow habitat. Really, she's got everything she needs except the society of other cattle. I know how she feels sometimes. That's why I love my friends so, love when they can come visit and hold me close, and share the boundless natural magic I see and feel every day. My friends complete me. 

Chet Baker trots in to bomb a photo of butterflyweed against the black barn. Vastly improves it, he does.

I make a series of studies of ironweed against the black barn. The light is hard and harsh but some of them turn out OK.


The arrangements seem planned, they are so beautiful.

I put the camera's eye up to a crack in the black barn's siding, and it sees what I cannot.

I love doing that, spying with my all-seeing iPhone and its little eye. I wonder if the number 38 holds any significance for me. I look for signs everywhere. I see so many.

I find a mutant plant, a sport, not half as vivid as the others, just a delicate lavender. I'm sorry, but it thrills me only by being different; it doesn't hold up to its rosepurple compatriots. There are many pale lavender flowers. 

Not many deep rose-purple ones. 

Ironweed paints the landscape and brings me joy. Even if the farmers would disagree. Someone has to love ironweed. And that would be me, Donna, Tim, Shila and Anne.


Hooray!! Ironweed on sky!


A northern pearly-eye pauses for a moment

and a tiger swallowtail graces award-winning plants from the 2014 Ironweed Festival, Dean's Fork, Washington County, Ohio.

Tableau after tableau. A million postcards from the Ironweed Festival, to you.

Shila, happily dwarfed by the tallest ironweed in the best ironweed year in memory.

 Doesn't she look like something off a Land O' Lakes box?

And so ends the 2014 Ironweed Festival. See you next year!

Psst. Go out and find something to celebrate today!


Yes to ironweed. And you. These skies have been something, a long string of something. A good year for skies and for ironweed. What a beautiful windup to a beautiful summer.xxoom.

Posted by Anonymous September 4, 2014 at 4:16 AM

Evidence of a great day spent soaking up whst your world has to offer. I love tagging along.

I LOVE Ironweed! I am so happy to see it honored this way. What a delight to find it as the subject of your blog today. Ironweed is one of those blooms that is a celebration in and of itself. -- If no one were there to see -- it would celebrate anyway -- and the birds would rejoice, and the critters would rejoice, and God would smile. Darlene Shamblin

Posted by Anonymous September 4, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Now I know what color my toenail polish is. Ironweed!

Love it!

They just mowed front pasture FULL of iron weed & cattails !! Must remember to save cats next year

I have always loved ironweed but did not know its name. A few weeks ago, I was riding through the countryside with my aunt (my deceased father's sister) and asked about it, knowing that she would know. She said it was always said that it was a good thing to have in your fields because it wouldn't grow in bad soil, but it would take over, so had to be mown. She told of how my father, as a teen, would spend the whole day sything it down and she would carry lemonade to him. I like it even more now that it has a story!

Julie, your final directive " go out and celebrate something today." brought to mind Byrd BAylor's story ""I'm in Charge of Celebrations." Do you know it? If not, you should find it immediately and read this joy-filled prose-poem. The poem's narrator, a little girl, tells us "Last year I gave myself one hundred and eight celebrations--besides the ones they close scroll for" Then, she shares some of them--Coyote Day and Rainbow Celebration Day among them.
On second thought, you probably know of Byrd Baylor and perhaps know this story too. I hope so.

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