Choke Cherry: Prunus virginiana

While the last blossoms of the Choke Cherry shrubs, which line the road near our home, have faded away their sweet smell still lingers in my head. Most of June was filled with that sweet smell as different bushes bloomed at different times of the month and thus we were treated to a wonderful progression of fragrance and sights.

The astringent fruits and even the leaves and branches of the Choke Cherry are considered an important food plant for wildlife. Both large and small mammals as well as birds utilize Choke Cherry for food. In addition to food Choke Cherry provides wildlife habitat and protection for watershed in the areas in which it grows.

Human uses include Chokecherry Jams, wine as well a medicinal uses by native cultures. New growth on the leaves can be toxic to humans and cattle especially those leaves injured by frost or draught. So do not eat the leaves.

While the fruits are quite useful it is always the blossoms that take the cake for me and somehow posting on Choke Cherry seems a fitting thing to do on the forth of July.

References:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
United States Department of Agriculture.

Where spring came late

There are those places where it is said there are only three seasons, July, August and winter. While perhaps not always that way, this year, spring arrived late to this high mountain valley and when it arrived it was a welcome sight indeed.

Grass grew and flowers bloomed just like it always has.

Early June 2018

Pasque morning

This is the time of year for the magnificent Pasqueflowers to bloom and brighten the hillsides, forests and meadows near town.

These flowers are part of the genus Pulsitilla family which contains numerous species spread across the globe and are the state flower of South Dakota. We noticed two distinct species while on a recent walk with both growing along the sunny hillsides and one growing just about everywhere in both sun and shade.

Hope we can get back out before they are done blooming and wishing you all a Pasque morning.

Transformers

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A magnificent Blad Eagle taking a chance and playing with electricity.

Although power poles present a wonderful perch from which to hunt they also come with risks. Electrocution of raptors has increased as our construction of infrastructure has increased and with a little thought and consideration can be reduced.

Raptor interactions with power lines and power poles can be reduced and the following article suggestion way to do so might interest you.

https://www.eagles.org/take-action/avian-friendly-power-lines/

On the earth day earth.

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Although spring had a calendar date of March 20th we have had an extended winter and this year earth day was the day that felt like spring had actually sprung.

The sun had been out for several days in a row without a flake of snow falling and the temperatures were downright warm. The snow was receding at a rapid pace and the earth became exposed. Flowers were budding and blooming all of which were no more than several inches high.

The promise of spring seemed fulfilled at last.

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Flowers blooming with life inviting the early season pollinators in for a drink.

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Pine cones alive on the forest floor and glow in the morning light.

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Not more than an inch in height the flowers came in yellow and white.

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The state butterfly Nymphalis antiopa “Mourning Cloak” basks in the sunlight on a road which only a day or two ago was covered in snow.

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And then came the day after earth day…