Monday, July 15, 2013

The Prairie in July

Zinnie and I took a walk through the woods and prairie tonight to see what is growing mid-July this year.
The nettles are in full bloom - maybe it's a bit late to harvest them for pesto but I still intend to do so this week.
Another edible weed, wild parsnip, is in bloom and beginning to form seedheads. I must get out there this week in protective clothing and cut off those flowers to prevent them from expanding their territory next year.  If you brush up against the blooms in the sunshine and they are wet or you have sweaty skin, you will get a terrible blistery, painful rash that lasts forever. The root is edible, however -- this plant is ordinary parsnip gone feral.
After  five summers here, I am starting to know many of the wild plants that grow in our field.  This is fleabane, a tiny daisy-like flower that is at its peak bloom right now.
Huge drifts of fleabane on the south end of the prairie. I just  learned it is called fleabane because it deters fleas. With 3 dogs and 4 cats, I am happy to know that!
Blue vervain--I love this pretty flower, plus it  supposedly has many magical properties. It is the most potent protection against vampires, so I guess we shouldn't have to worry about them in our pasture.

Milkweed blossoms. I checked under the leaves of  several plants for Monarch caterpillars or eggs, but didn't find any. A few monarch butterflies  were fluttering around, however.
Wild cranberries in July -before they turn red.
One of the cool prairie grasses in bloom. I can't remember what this is called - it is about armpit tall.
The sumac spikes are beginning to turn red. We have acres of these.
I cannot describe how much I do NOT enjoy seeing these beautiful red sumac leaves in July! Summer has scarcely begun-- we  aren't ready to be reminded of fall yet.

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