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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Last Day


We flew in from Orlando early Friday. Lucky, flying standby, we got bumped up to first class. Nothing too special, it appears to me to be the way flying was when it first appeared on the commercial carrier scene -more comfortable, more service, smoother ride, but I could hardly imagine paying the premium for it unless my wallet was well endowed.

Days before leaving are solemn, made more so by a memorial service for Betsy's aunt that we attended once we landed yesterday. I did get to meet her great aunt Margaret, a woman with lots of spark at nearly 101. I have never met much of Betsy's extended family on her mother's side, mostly because her mother is no longer with us. I never met her mom, regrettably, because she died years before Betsy and I met.

There is snow on the ground and the light is brilliant. The temperature a pleasant 18 degrees, far better than the 4 or 5 while we were wearing shorts in Florida. It's tough to leave Rex behind, more so these days due to his declining health. There is always the chance that this could be the last time we see him. We won't be able to return, in any meaningful way, until late July. I'll be wrapped up in the garlic harvest at that point, plus school, so scheduling will be tricky.

Travel is a luxury, like so many others, that requires agency of time. There are so many places we haven't been, that we would like to experience, but our responsibility to family is powerful, and instead of using our time off to travel to exotic locations, we dutifully truck to see family.

There's no need to complain about this, one day it'll be different. We will soak up our last day here in the frozen woods of Minnesota. Tomorrow, by noon, we will warm up the van and trek east toward Madison, Wisconsin. The cats will mew in discomfort. We will stop in Menominee (ba dada bop) for our usual cup of better road coffee. Eyes will glaze over as numbing vibrations of interstate travel permeate the fingers and bums of being while our van unceremoniously rolls over two hundred thousand miles somewhere in Ohio.



Terrarium


Now that the ant food has sprouted, the ant farm is becoming little bit more of a terrarium.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Posting From The Plane


We were going to see temperatures down about -15 tonight with a brisk wind chill on top. So we decided to leave our cats with Rex and visit my mother and sister, west of Orlando, Florida for a few days.

Weather should warm back up to 15 or 20 by the time we return. Then a couple more days in Minnesota before we make the driving journey back to New York City.

Happy New Year everyone!





Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sprout


Ant food is sprouting in Rex's any farm. I suppose that's good since these are harvester ants.



Friday, December 28, 2012

Land o Frozen Lakes


Just east of our terrestrial realm is another, aqueous realm -the lakes. In winter, normal winter, these lakes freeze and the people leave their homes for a life on the lake. Sometimes on skates, often on mobiles, and perhaps in little shacks.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Minnesnowta


Last year there was no snow -the whole time we were here and the temperatures were in the 30s and even 40s. That was very unusual. Usual is 15 for a high and often enough a low around -5.

This year we are back to normal. A brief snow is on its way, on top of the remnants of last week's snow storm, for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day promises a high of 6 degrees F, in wake of the storm.

The light is low, earth tilted away from the sun as it is. It's funny to think of this, as it has always been, and how the plants have evolved along with it, and the cold it brings to us in the north. And even funnier to think I am standing less sideways in our x,y,z world at this northerly latitude, this time of the year, than I am say in New York in summer.

Here's to standing upright.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Howl


Coyote have made a comeback in almost every mainland wood and clearing I have been to. It's no different in the Big Woods of Minnesota, where up until the last year or so, I hadn't heard them. This video, black because of night, holds the music of night on the edge of the Big Woods in August.




Friday, August 24, 2012

Cardinal Matters


I'm well aware of the disdain (see Garden Rant) and the rhetoric (see Michael Pollan).

Still. As I look upon this cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis, I immediately, emotionally respond to its presence.

On the other hand is purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria. It's pale purple wands are pretty, especially so en masse, which is often how one finds it, but hardly stunning. Is this a learned response? If purple loosestrife was a native plant, would I espouse it's regal nature?

I do not know. What I do know is that seeing cardinal flower marsh-side is rare, yet finding purple loosestrife is becoming exceedingly common in Hennepin County ditches, wetlands, and cloverleaf water basins.

Rex likes the purple loosestrife, he says it's pretty where the marsh is just a wash of green. He believes the loosestrife cannot outcompete the cattails and rushes. But I doubt that, as evidenced by New York State's marshes and wetlands. Those must have once looked like Minnesota's, but now many are nearly a monoculture of purple loosestrife. After bloom in July and August, the wetland becomes a wash of dismal brown, whereas Hennepin County wetlands offer a kaleidoscopic interference of green and gold.

I'm not sure people care all that much. Like Rex said, it's pretty, and it's spread appears incremental, hardly noticeable. The government has policy, it is a known invasive, it is illegal to harbor it on private property (this is where tongues tingle with politi-lingual fascism), and it's hard to control. And maybe, maybe, an appreciation for rarified things in life is an elitist affair. And maybe people, humanity, has a thing for the strong, aggressive, and adaptable in life. Maybe.