Friday, June 30, 2017

A day on the Vineyard

Friends of my wife with a share in an ancestral vacation cabin on Martha's Vineyard invited us out for the day.  It was a gorgeous day in a pretty place with generous, hospitable friends.  (This is more "travel" than "nature.")

From Woods Hole* to Oak Bluffs, the ferry takes forty-five minutes.  By taking the ferry, we avoid a day's sail, and passage among the rocks and reefs and currents for which the Hole is notorious.

Breakfast aboard.

Some Woods Hole residents give new meaning to the term "waterfront property."

Oak Harbor is a bit too cramped for the ferry, which will dock outside the entrance.

 The "Bunkhouse" is an idiosyncratic abode shaped by generations of extended family.

The view from the "bunkhouse" is maintained by occasional cutting.

The shoreline below the bunkhouse is rocky, but a pretty good beach lies about a quarter mile south.

People sometimes leave rock art.

I think this was once a seal.  It's too large for a bird and has hair rather than feathers. 
(Hind flippers in foreground.)  Gray seals--once rare hearabouts--have returned to these waters.

Seaweeds and animals regularly get stranded in the intertidal zone,
but I'd never seen anything like this.  I think this is a cluster of stalked barnacles.

A trek of several hundred yardsfrom bunkhouse to the beach
passes through meadow, woods, and swamp with a short boardwalk.

A small pond above the beach.

Every time we go, I replenish my supply of interesting and beautiful rocks.

Son exploring.

A three-sixty of the shore and sea.

Early evening, and shadows lengthen.

Early evening reading, and then nightfall.

We ate, talked, walked the beach, and just visited.  Not to waste opportunities, we aimed for the day's last ferry for the trip home--and just barely made it aboard.  With an hour's drive home, we were in bed around midnight.

*Yes, that Woods Hole: home of the famed Marine Biological Laboratory and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (home of Alvin).  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Backyard Field Trip

Almost the only "order" in our backyard is that which I impose on the vegetable garden.
(Tomato and dill sandwiches, you know.)

Some homeowners put time and money into fertilizers and poisons into a monotonous monoculture of lawn.  I prefer things wilder and more varied, a more complex living community.  It's also easier: let things be, and wildness results.  Except for occasional battles with the more invasive species--vinca, English ivy, Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard--I do almost nothing in the backyard except regard it with smug complaisance.

Just now, much of it is in flower, or very soon will be.  

I will be forced to mow soon, though: the dogs can't see where they are going, the oldest is worried about ticks, what will the neighbors think?, etc.  Before I do, I will memorialize my beautiful, luxurious backyard in a brief field trip.

A field trip among the plants that form my backyard "lawn" on a warm, sunny June 11.

A small-dog's-eye view of the backyard.

More about identification of grasses and grasses in flower.

 Most--but not all--of the grasses & grass-like plants that make up the lawn.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

May Retrospective

May is the floweringest month.  Here is a (slightly belated) photo chronology for May, 2017.

May 2nd
 Scarlet oak.

 Flowering dogwood.

 Sugar maple.

 Ash-leaved maple.

May 3rd.
 A grass.  (Haven't got round to identifying it.)

 White pine "candles" (new twig and needles.)

 Witchhazel (flower buds will not open until fall).

May 4th.
 Black oak.

 White oak getting ready to flower.

 Another grass.

May 6th.
 Black oak.

 Shepherd's purse (a weed in the mustard family).

 Gray birch.

 White ash (male).

 River birch.

May 8th.

Pin oak.

May 10th.

May 11th.

Red maple.

Black oak.

Flowering dogwood.


Sugar maple.

 Sheep sorrel.

Ash-leaved maple.

Swamp white oak.

White ash.

River birch.

May 13th.
Red maple.

White pine.

Norway maple.


May 16th.
White oak.

Black oak.

White ash.

May 19th.

May 20th.
Red maple with dead seeds.

White pine with growing pollen cones.  


Black oak.

White ash.
White spruce.
May 21st.
Black cherry.

American holly

May 23rd.


White oak.

Shagbark hickory.

Black oak.

May 27th.
White pine pollen cones.

Black raspberry.

Gray birch.


White ash.

Witchhazel with remains of last year's fruit.

May 29th.
White spruce.

Shagbark hickory.

Swamp white oak.

Ash-leaved maple.