Saturday, May 23, 2009

Intentions and discoveries


Grass leaved chickweed, perhaps? I don't remember it being in our yard last year. Did I simply forget?



I meant to document the progress of our lawn to meadow project.

"Project" is not quite accurate. "Project" implies action. We stopped taking action - we stopped mowing. Occasionally, we weed a multiflora rose, Oriental bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle or autumn olive seedling, and sometimes we pull small carpgrass (Arthraxon hispidus) and Japanese stiltgrass. Rarely, we transplant a few leftover natives into the meadow. The dandelions and chicories work the hardest on the meadow - busting up the hard packed clay and mysterious layer of gravel that underlies the entirety of the meadow.

So, I went out with my camera and photographed the increasing number of plants that are residing in the meadow.

Speckled Joe Pye weed stems - measles. Striated water hemlock stems - a sharp pin striped suit. Waves of violet leaves. Sedges. A dogwood sapling. The turf grass is largely gone except for around the pond, really a pondlet, which is as of this week, dry, most likely for the remainder of the summer. Sweet vernal grass, a non-native is abundant, but I expect it to fade in prominence over the years.

Looking at a photographs, I documented something else. Small things, things very difficult to see. Things that I might have seen with my eyes had I not been photographing. Focus, click, next...

Here is what I see now:


The house wren uses 2-3" sticks (pin oak in our wren's case) to build a nest. I never noticed that the bird also weaves a few delicate blades of dried grass in, too. He's not just a coarse fellow.



Spring beauty going to seed is also a place for a tiny insect to escape the hungry bluegrey gnatcatcher high in the white oak.



While I was recalling that I've heard nimble will grass called both native and non-native, a leaf hopper escaped my detection.



Dandelion seed heads catch the light and my eye. An insect or bird (I've seen finches eat them) enjoyed a few.

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