The Farm
1 July 2007 | 9:31 am

I pass this farm every day during my new commute and immediately recognized its photogenic quality. It is, for me, an interesting subject and I enjoy seeing it daily, watching how light, weather, time of day and the seasons keep it from seeming static. The field in front often has cows and calves in it who seem mildly annoyed and surprised when I pop over to take a picture.

I abuptly stopped when I rounded the corner and saw the clouds piling up in the Mohawk Valley beyond the silos. A lot of detail is lost in this picture but in the original the clouds and trees evoke paintings of English landscapes and the Hudson River school. I reduced and moved my logo because it seemed a shame to obscure the most interesting section of the picture.

Where I've been
25 June 2007 | 11:00 am

Papaver orientale 'Prince of Orange' - indeed

I wanted to say I've been living with indigenous people in New Guinea or trekking the mountains of New Zealand or finalizing the arrangements for moving to Tenerife in the Canary Islands but I can't. No, I've taken a few weeks hiatus as I adjust to a terrific new job. With a much longer commute and a constant stream of gardening and other outdoor activities, a reordering of priorities happened and this blog ended near the bottom.

poppy buds

Less time at home has sharpened my interest and made me more attentive to the growing cycles of everything. My intent for this blog has never been to chronicle the minutiae of every task but discover and share in the why's behind what is happening here. I'm an observer by nature and nature is what I'm interested in.

ready to "pop"

Good news is I have been gifted with a digital camera (thanks Beth!). Now I am teasingly addressed as "Ansel Adams" - I wish - but I've always admired the work of Eliot Porter. Anyway, expect more photography and less text as this blog moves forward. I much prefer the written word but it's that "finding the time" thing again.

poppies and peonies

Spring flowering tree
10 May 2007 | 11:00 am

a large Amelanchier bordering the horse run

The first spring after we moved here, I noticed small white trees flowering in early May. They weren’t found in great numbers in any one locale but were lightly sprinkled among the other trees, especially along tree margins and in transition areas bordering open fields and along roadsides. They hadn’t shown up in the meager resources I read before coming here and were a delightful surprise discovering them. But what were they?

Without a huge amount of sleuthing, I found out they were Amelanchier (am-el-AN-keer), a name that begins flowing off the tongue after the 372nd utterance. It's no wonder it has a stable of common names: Serviceberry, Juneberry, Shad Bush, and my favorite, Shad Blow. Like salmon and steelhead, shad are fish that migrate from salt to fresh waters to reproduce, their spring runs coinciding with the blooming of this tree, hence the name.

Locally common but not abundant, they are mostly found in part shade in the company of other trees. I have found them on dry hillsides and almost boggy lowlands but suspect they prefer soils that are moist and well draining.

It isn’t until they flower that their Rose family inclusion is apparent. Small sprays of flowers are white with a tint of pink and have many stamens, a typically rose characteristic. Fruits are black colored when mature and are relished by birds. The oval leaves are distinctive enough for identifying trees when out of bloom and are complimentary to the branching structure.

One of the odd things I noticed last year was early leaf drop in August, depriving us of their autumn tones of beige and rust. I don’t know if it was the excessive rains or earlier predation from Eastern Tent Caterpillars but Amelanchier and other small trees were under stress and defoliated early.

full picture of my May header

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