I took off very early this morning and headed up to Florida, MA and Rowe, MA., driving the back roads looking for any sign of early fall foliage color. Usually the swamp maples and other trees near water turn way before the overall colors arrive in October, …
… but in over 100 miles of driving today, I found just a couple of trees that had started to turn. Well, it is still very early and they have had a very dry summer up here, so I will just have to wait and see what happens a little later.
One thing I did find were wild turkeys … everywhere!
Every time I have gone out I have spotted flocks of wild turkeys, really don’t ever recall seeing many, or any, around here when I was growing up.
I passed many fields of ready to pick corn …
… and some very suspicious looking new farm crops, that I have to assume might be hemp?? since there were signs around these fields saying ” This is not WEED”.
Not finding much on the back roads I headed south to Deerfield, MA. and bought some delicious fresh sweet corn at a roadside farm stand. I know it was fresh since the farmer was just unloading the corn from the back of his pickup as I pulled in.
This post is for the nice folks back in New Hampshire, still playing with snowblowers and snow plows when you should be thinking spring. I was looking for a little visual relief from the bleak gray landscape here in Oklahoma, so I decided to visit the Tulsa Botanical Garden to see if there was any color to be found hereabouts.
Along the way to Tulsa I came across this scene, some VERY productive acreage, cattle grazing under wind turbines while hydrocarbons are being pulled from below ground. A goldmine for the fortunate party that owns this land.
Tulsa Botanical Garden
With a bit of blue sky showing, I decided to drive down to the outskirts of Tulsa ( you can just see a couple downtown high-rises in the upper right corner of the image above ) to check out the spring blooms at the Tulsa Botanical Garden.
All in all, a fairly spectacular display of spring bulbs, and with temperatures barely hitting 40 degrees, I pretty much had the place to myself, ideal for photography.
Blue skies gave way to clouds and, unfortunately fairly strong winds came up, making it all but impossible to shoot flowers that were now in constant motion.
However, before the winds came up and the sun disappeared, I did manage to cover most of the garden and got some nice shots of their wonderfully designed flower beds.
With temperatures forecast to drop to the low 20’s tonight, with the possibility of sleet and snow, the garden’s director told me I was lucky to get here when I did, because he assumed that the frigid conditions would take a toll on his gardens. I guess most of the country is suffering from this delayed Spring/ prolonged Winter, but here in Oklahoma, Spring was glorious, even if it did only last two days.
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Driving all the back roads above the city of Homer, I run across patches of wildflowers here and there, nothing like the fields of wildflowers you may find in the west, in the lower forty-eight, but still a visual treat when you do discover them. This is a particularly dense patch of cotton grass growing alongside the road, a very neat plant I was able to get some nice shots of very early in the morning before the breeze came up.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
I really haven’t come across much Columbine, just a couple of plants here and there, again nothing like in the mountainside meadows of Colorado for instance.
Wild Geranium is starting to appear more frequently.
And this is not a wildflower, but some form of perennial that caught my eye in a bed next to East End Road. I am not sure what this impossibly blue flower is as I have never seen it before, and I used to pour theough all the perennial flower catalogs back when I managed almost a half acre of perennials at my art gallery.
Gorgeous flower in a very nicely designed perennial bed.
And then there is the lupine … everywhere it seems. Unlike back in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, here there is only one color, this blue, or perhaps purple. At least I have yet to find any other color here.
As I said, lupine, everywhere.
What I am patiently waiting for, here in Homer, is for the fireweed to start blooming. I think it is a real shame this wonderful plant is labeled as a weed because it is just a beautiful flower that fills the fields and roadsides here above Homer.
Thes two images kind of illustrate that point quite well, and just happen to be images taken on the back roads above Homer some twenty two years ago on my last visit here. I have actually been able to locate the fireweed farm location and would like to get an image to show the penalties of progress. That wonderful scene is now bisected with dirt roads leading to not so scenic homes breaking up the previous expanse of fireweed, and though I’m sure a lot of the plant still survives, the beauty of that particular landscape has fallen victim to progress.
I enjoy watching the antics of the bald eagles on the beach every morning while I have my coffee. This guy was doing his angry eagle walk up the beach heading directly at me until my neighbor came out and slammed his door only thirty feet from the eagle and scared him off. There used to be a woman who fed the eagles here on the Homer Spit for many years so a lot of these birds probably are somewhat accustomed to approaching humans looking for handouts, though now it is illegal to feed them.
As I walked around the boat harbor very early in the AM I was startled by the number of gulls on the breakwater there.
And this one really suprised me, what I am quite sure has to be a Ring-necked Pheasant mom and chicks feeding along the dirt road at the end of East End Road. I had no idea these birds could survive this far north.
And finally my daily dose of moose. This mom was feeding along the edge of the road and when I stopped to watch, her calf came struggling up through the deep grass behind her. As the cow continued to move forward and browse, her calf was having a really hard time trying to keep up with her movements. At first I thought maybe the tall grass and bushes were just so thick, and tall, that perhaps that was it’s problem.
But when they finally crossed the road, it became quite clear that the poor little guy had somehow broken, or severely injured his left hind leg and was hobbling along on three legs.
Barely one in three moose calves survive their first summer, most here on the Kenai fall victim to black bears or grizzlies, although there is also a growing presence of wolves in the area. Not being able to run or keep up with a protective mom probably will mean a short life for this guy. Mother Nature is cruel.
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