Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's the Little Things

Seen on runs this past week:

Hepatica in bloom (though closed due to the cloudy skies - more on spring ephemerals later) - Jay Cooke State Park/NMTC Bull Run

Violets (purple ones even!) in bloom - Superior Hiking Trail in the Piedmont area

Mertensia (Virginia bluebells) in bloom - my back yard (has been blooming for past week or so)

Daffodils in bloom - my backyard again

Lilac leaves are bursting out, how far behind can the flower buds be?

Cherry sp - leaves appearing.

Rhubarb is up a few inches

Bloodroot in bloom - Piedmont area

Wild Leeks (ramps) - up at least 6 inches or more - Piedmont area

Wood tick (only one) - Jay Cooke State Park - NMTC Bull Run (last year I had 25)

Despite the cool temps spring is inching it's way into Duluth.

Have managed a run or two more in shorts though it has been a challenge of late. No more run-ins with angry hawks.

Rode my bike for the first time this year. Great thing about my neighborhood is the fast ride downtown. Bummer is the climb back up. Today I rode downtown to meet someone for coffee. By the time I headed home I had picked up Porter (got another meal out today) and the two of us "biked" back home. First we had to figure out a leash as Jon did not have one in the car. Lucky for me, rope seems to materialize on a regular basis around Jon and it was a long enough piece to work as a leash. Skijoring commands come in real handy when you are biking along side your dog.

I think the 50 degree temp (cooler by the lake with the northeast breeze) was a bit much for Porter. His tongue was hanging out pretty far at times, and we needed to slow the pace a bit, though he was threatening to leave me behind on the steeper uphill bits.

The low gear on my bike is a big help in getting up the hill, though I have yet to be able to pedal up 7th (third steepest street in Duluth according to the DNT). I do plan on running 9 miles tomorrow morning (Happy Mother's Day to me) so was not very interested in pushing it too much. From here on out until the 17th it is all about staying healthy and saving up some energy for the race.

OKC: Baby Surprise is coming along slowly. No other knitting has touched my fingers. Not much in Interweave Knits to get excited about...

Oh yeah - about spring ephemerals: this is a term for the wildflowers that appear early in the spring before the trees fully leaf out. Many of them will be seen while snow is still on the ground. They appear, bloom, go to seed and disappear all before the woods get shady from the leaves. Often you can find no sign of them by mid-summer, with one exception. Leeks/Ramps do not flower until July, but by then there are no leaves to be seen!

Many of the spring ephemerals have white to pink to purple flowers (though not all); and many of them have flowers that close up on overcast days (and in the evening). Energy conservation tactic? Quite a few spring ephemerals have interesting ways of directing insects to themselves. Spring Beauty uses infrared stripes to guide bees into the pollen. Wild ginger apparently smells wonderful to ground-dwelling beetles and other lovers of dead things.

Most of these plants are not very showy and are low to the ground, meaning they can go unobserved if you are not looking for them. Sunny days are the exception as then they are quite obvious in their presence.

My advice: Get out into the woods!!! Soon the trillium will be in bloom and that is a show worth seeing!

1 comment:

Chris said...

I'm mightily impressed that you bike up any of those Duluth hills! *sigh* I saw not a bloom when I was in the woods (north of Nashwauk) over the weekend, alas.