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Late Summer Meadow

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Here's how it looked last January. And here it is in August. Oh, what a difference. Summer, can you stay just a month or two longer?

Bill took the kids for a weekend adventure in West Virginia not long ago. I expect he'll tell you about it sometime. I was left with Chet Baker and a little time to myself to think, walk, and paint, commodities that have been in very short supply this peripatetic summer. Chet and I decided to walk our winter route down to a beaver pond. This is a little more daring than it sounds, given that briars have grown over our path and it was hard wading in some spots. Chet especially detests briars; he's very careful of his pop eyes, which are vulnerable to corneal scratches (thank goodness, none to date).A well jack, just about buried in ironweed. This is a classic southern Ohio sight, and I'm sending it out to Trixie in Alaska. We're rich in oil and gas here, and every 40-acre parcel has its well jack, pumping away or resting silently. We've got one on our meadow, and it gives us free gas to heat our house. Yeahhhhhh. Life is good. Now, if only our lease with the oil company would let us run a car off natural gas...or an air conditioner...hey, it's our gas. There oughta be a workaround. Maybe a Y in the pipe, before the meter? Nah, I didn't just write that.
Blackberries still hung heavy on the vine. These didn't taste as good as they looked, which is probably why the towhees, who were cheeping all along the path, hadn't cleaned them out yet.
I believe this is woodland sunflower, Helianthus divaricatus, but I would happily accept a correction. There are a lot of different yellow sunflowery things blooming right now, and I get cornfused.
I believe this to be tall ironweed, Vernonia altissima, but I didn't inspect its tiny bracts, so I'm not sure. Might be New York ironweed, V. noveboracensis. The curse of the Science Chimp--knowing there are many options undreamt, so the Chimp is never sure unless she brings her books along, which isn't an option when she's already lugging binocs, camera and two lenses. The second curse is having to KNOW.Boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, so called because it was used in a poultice to help knit broken bones. Cool. I hope somebody somewhere is still using it.
This is another Eupatorium, one of the Joe-Pye weeds. Sweet-scented? Eastern, Spotted? I dunno. I'll have to smell it next time I'm out. It is gorgeous, though, about 10 feet high, making a pink mist over the meadow.
Ahh, wild bergamot, Monarda fistulosa. It was buzzing with hummingbirds. And oh, the smell of its leaves when bruised. Note that the leaves you see here belong to black raspberries.
And the pokeweed is setting fruit, ready for the migrating catbirds and thrashers, ready for the bluebirds in October. What a wonderful plant. We've got it all over the yard; the only place I pull it up is in my raised flower beds. If it's on the border, it stays. And the birds thank us for that.

We were drowning in flowers and briars, Chet and I, but we waded through the overgrowth and made it to the beaver pond. We'll share that next.

Summer hiking is a thing. It is harder than winter hiking, but there is a lot more to look at, and it's more colorful and tickful.


"Peripatetic"? Once again I had to resort to the dictionary to fully appreciate your post!

According to my unabridged:

per·i·pa·tet·ic adjective
1. walking or traveling about; itinerant.
2. of or pertaining to Aristotle, who taught philosophy while walking in the Lyceum of ancient Athens.

I'd say both definitions fit to a tee. And once again you prove you know exactly what you're saying. (We just don't use them big, fancy kinda words down here in Texas.)

Wonderful post, Julie. Thanks!

Loved your blog today. The last picture of Chet Baker reminded me of my black lab mix Jakey. She and I have spent many,many hours together in the woods and fields bird and bunny watching. And the blackberries! We have picked about 45 gallon this year for my husband's awesome jelly. I think a blackberry bush loaded with red and black berries is one of the prettiest sights of the summer. Thanks for the walk! Dawn Z.

Dear Kyle,

The Aristotelian definition of peripatetic never crossed my radar screen. I just meant to say "wandering," but thank you, anyway. No philosophy here; I'm just lookin' at flars.

News flash: We don't use them ten-dollar words in southern Ohio, either. I'm a salmon, always swimming against the prevailing grammatical stream. People look at me funny, but most of them have decided I'm harmless.

Dawn. Dude. You gotta use your whole last name. Wave that freak flag high. Good to hear from you.


Zick and Chet a'hiking; a'hiking they will go... I think you have the makings of a children's storybook here.

Say it ain't so--the Science Chimp without answers. What is the world coming to?
BTW--heard your NPR peach story. Loved it. Had to chuckle at the metal solution that fizzled. Peach tree with collar!

I have to say that I LOVE that first photo in winter. Looks like a painting with the heavy dark sky.

Love the pokeberry too. A friend came by over Memorial Day to help me in my yard and I found her pulling them up. I ran to her, NO!! Oh, these are just weeds, she said. But they are beautiful weeds and the boids love them!!

Christine (quite possibly the only person who is absolutely giddy about fall approaching)

Sorry Julie, I'm with Christine.
FALL!! Bring it on!!
And I'm a Minnesota gal with winters longer and colder that most of your readers- except for Trixie. I'm ready for the change.
My old pug Kirby wore the lampshade twice for scratched corneas. It was a pitiful sight.

What a lovely walk with Chet.

I am also prone to innocently use an extensive vocabulary. Recently a friend mentioned, "There she goes again. Using them SAT words."

BTW, the word in question was efficacious, which I don't think is so very complicated and is so perfectly descriptive. There just isn't a ten-cent synonym for it.

Julie: You are doing the same thing I am, trying to sort out the fall Compositae. My nemesis flowers are always the yellow ones, as shown here:

I'll work on yours if you look at mine!

Nice walk-about,


Your field looks like mine.
And I bet if you were wading through those 10-foot tall Ironweed and Joe-Pye, you're just a little itchy?
Chiggers seem to be out in force!

Comment moderation?
Aw, jee. Must've gotten bad.

Visiting your blog is like a visit home. So many times you mention some precious memory I have of growing up in southern Ohio. We just picked the last of the blueberries near here and have enjoyed them so much. This year has been a hummingbird hatch of monumental proportions. Can't grow flowers in West Tennessee so feeders are next best? Right?

Yeah, I got a peter w. from China who spammed my ten most recent posts. Those Asian spammers just love me. I can't imagine what the payoff might be for posting a 5" block of Chinese gibberish on an English blog, but somebody's there, entering the word verification codes. Gold runescape wow leverage! I'll have to coin a new word for how I feel about them, the pathetic cyberpunks.Ecccch.

Great post. What I love about summer is the progression of wildflowers that quietly marks its passage. Even though fall is my favorite season, I always get a pang of melancholy in August.

Lookin' forward to the beaver pond...

Cyberticks. They're about as invasive. And annoying.

This post reminds me of my mother. When we're driving the backroads of South Carolina she'll point out every wildflower in sight. She learned them from her mother and now I feel that the tradition must be passed to me.

Thanks for sparking the memories.

You're using those $2 words again. Keep it up it helps keep our minds sharp.

I do enjoy your blog and the comments it draws

Your post is always a breath of fresh air. Loved especially the first picture of Chet in the winter meadow. And the names of the wildflowers.... I hate seeing August end..


You are so kind! I love the sight of that well jack surrounded by all that lush greenery. Sigh...wish I could walk with you. Your post is so Southern Ohio, I think I can smell and hear it. It is a lovely gift (on my birthday today no less).


"Cyberticks." Love it!!


I don't see any spots on the stem of the Joe-pye, so I don't think it "Spotted"; I don't know "Eastern" - is that the same as "Hollow?" It looks the same as mine, which I'm pretty sure is "Sweet."

Your Ironweed also looks like mine, and I think I have "New York," not "Tall."

The yellow flower is a DYF.

(Can you tell I got a new flower field guide this week? Four books and STILL not all the flowers are in them!!)

Wishing I could walk with you,


Zick -
Free gas; get off the grid.
Set yourself up with a natural gas powered generator and have free electric as well.
Find a decent location to lessen the noise pollution.

Keep up the good work. You keep me longing for home.


Hi, JZ...or dear Science Chimp...

Well..since I am in plant collecting mode I will attempt to assist with your plant ID's! :)

I need to be a bit closer the yellow one for a positive (or close) ID.

I am 99% (I would need to see it in the hand) certain that your Ironweed is Vernonia gigantea (Walter) Trel. ex Branner & Coville a.k.a. (Vernonia altissima Nutt.). Vernonia noveboracensis is a possibility (McCormac would be very happy) but it has only been collected once from Gallia County in 1892. It is currently listed as extripated for OH. It has very long and distinct filiform phyllary tips. Our other OH species are Vernonia missurica Raf. and Vernonia fasciculata Michx. and they are both state listed species.

Your Joe Pye Weed is most likely Eutrochium fistulosum (Barratt) E.E.Lamont a.k.a. (Eupatorium fistulosum Barratt) This is the huge, common species that you tend to see growing in large numbers out in fields and such. It has the hollow stem. Eutrochium purpureum (L.) E.E.Lamont a.k.a. (Eupatorium purpureum L.) tends to be a smaller species with a solid stem. Both this one and the previous tend to have convex inflorescences. Eutrochium maculatum (L.) E.E.Lamont a.k.a. (Eupatorium maculatum L.) tends to be less common than the other two (especially in SE Ohio) and also tends to have a more flat-topped inflorescence.

Keep those kewl flower pictures comin', JZ!

Thanks for the walk to the Beaver Pond! :)

Oooh, Jason, you rokk so hard. Thank you very very much! Now, could you go ease Katdoc's anxiety about those durn yellow flars?

Got the salvia and lemon gerania in the ground, salvia's jest settin' there, waiting for fall.

Hi, JZ!

Thanks! You Indigo Hillites rock my world, as well. Glad to be of some botanical assistance! :)

I'll try to see if I can give KatDoc a hand with those yellow buggers, although as you well know, at least Helianthus can be a real pain in the rear!

Glad to see you are getting a bit of mileage out of Salvia discolor and scented geranium "Mabel Gray". Yes...that's what the ornamental and species salvias tend to do. They sit through the summer heat and do nothing but grow green (even though they are almost all from the tropics) and then bloom like mad in the fall before getting nailed by the frost! Grrrr!



I've been waiting for someone to shout this out, and go ahead and shout me down if I'm wrong, but aren't those yeller flars Wingstem?

Okay, I've been waiting for someone to shout this out, and you can shout me down if I'm wrong, but aren't those yeller flars Wingstem?

The Poke took me back to the kid days in the Florida prairies. Good eatin', too!

Here's a recipe for "Poke Sallet" that I like. There are dozens of other ways to serve it. Google for a variety.

1 lb. Poke leaves, washed
3 or 4 strips of bacon, fried crisp (save the grease)
2 chopped green onions or scallions

Put the poke in a gallon of cold water and bring it to a boil, then cook it to the tenderness desired. Doing it this way prevents any gastic disturbance, and is easier than double parboiling.

Drain the poke and rinse it in cold water, then squeeze it to get the water out.

Briefly sautee the onions in the bacon grease.

Add the poke and heat the mixture thoroughly.

Crumble the bacon over the top and you have two servings.

You can substitute for the bacon (I often use turkey bacon) but it's not the same without the grease to sautee in. Definitely not for folks with clogged arteries.

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