Monarch

Well, according to a radio station that I listen to on a daily basis, today has been Milkweed Monday. So I’ll throw one in for alliteration, and mention the majestic monarch. There were two in the garden in early October. That is 100% more than in each of the past two years.

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Who would have thought? First stop on the black and blue salvias! Plop!

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Helianthus

It is true, some Latin names have a sound of sophistication (Diospyros virginiana). Others may sound ominous (Toxicodendron radicans) or simple (Zea mays). But it is the Helianthus spp. that holds me rapt when I say the word, out loud or in my head. It is as though the word has sprung forth from the divine lips of mother nature herself. So steadfastly does it stick in my mind, I cannot help but think this group of plants holds something special about it.

This is the swamp sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius. Native. Perennial. Taller than tall.

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Pretty sure that is a beneficial little wasp. Those green fuzzy shapes in the top foreground are Amorpha fruticosa.

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Quite unruly – in the future, I’ll cut them back before they put out flower buds (June or July).

This is a flower that gives more than it takes.

Leguminolandia

I visited a botanical library in Mexico once, somewhere in the state of Puebla or Morelos. This was long before I spoke Spanish. But, in the library, I remember there was a poster, and I think that was the title: “Leguminolandia.” I have always loved legumes, but even I thought that sounded kind of bonkers. I guess now I’m bonkers by my own definition.

These are non-native legumes I’ve found growing within a quarter-mile of the farm. I don’t know what they are – so I’ll put what I conjecture to be their names. Corrections graciously accepted.

 

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Honey locust (Gleditisia triacanthos). Reasons why: the compound-pinnate leaves, and the large seed pods (not visible due to bad contrast). Reason why not: I can’t remember if this one had thorns or not. 
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Albizia julibrissin. Native to Asia. Mimosa or Persian Silk Tree. Does well in North Carolina Piedmont. I need to come back and check to see if it has the pink silk flowers. Also, I need to find it at night to see if the leaves are sleeping. (please note, even though it is called “mimosa,” this species is not a member of the Mimosa genus; note also, mimosa and albizia are both members of the Fabaceae or legume family)
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Albizia julibrissin, same as above.

 

Iron Behemoth

Really, you’re not that big, but intimidating in your rusty patination, you defy the passerby to brush against you, to venture close enough to touch.

I spied you on a detour from my detour; stopping to examine the meadow grasses beneath my feet, I knew I was not alone. And glancing to my right, in the 20-year growth, you made yourself known.

On the approach, your charisma only expanded, to fill the atmosphere 10 feet in every direction; your sphere of influence dominant in this silent patch of woods. (the cicadas have ceased their death sirens for this revolution)

I did not touch you, but I knew. You are a product of human effort and ingenuity, you are not here by choice. But if humans created you, it is nature that will be your companion in the here and the hereafter. Silent and still in your slumber, your power had not been exhausted.

You will still be with us. As we go about our quotidian meanderings and distractances, you will stay apace with the inexorable march of time.

So many questions unanswered – who were your passengers? what precious cargo did you shuttle from one place to the next? what was your original color?

Woodwork for kitchen and cave

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Mr. Daily proudly stands next to his craftsmanship. He got started with wood-burning, then began producing more elaborate works. These would make a perfect addition to the tv room or anywhere else that sports are enjoyed. He also honors special orders.
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Mr. Daily does all of the woodwork himself. These are the perfect answer to the age-old question of how to corral that paper towel roll that just won’t stay put.

Elder

Elder berries are a delicious native fruit. They can be used to make pies, preserves, and jams (recipes here), a home remedy, wine. Another jam recipe.

Cleaning the berries

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Harvest the berries by cutting the cluster. The stems should be pink.
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Gently pull the berries off the cluster. Remove as many remaining stems as possible.

 

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In a colander, wash them off. Allow to drain.
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Clean berries!