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A Light Dusting Of Snow

Such a gloomy winter we have had–brown grass and gray skies. But look what just a light dusting of snow will do: Bluff Spring Fen, Elgin  1/16/07  The large trees are Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa), while the smaller trees are Hill’s Oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis).  A red oak, it has pointed bristled-tipped glossy green  leaves that […]

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Book Report

Book Report I belong to an Environmental Book Club and I encourage all of you to begin or join one. Invite like-minded friends to create one in your area–there is no end of books to read concerning the environment. What books to read?  There are old ones:  Small is Beautiful, E.F. Schumacher, 1973; new ones:Eaarth: […]

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Through the Year 2016   January My Street Corner–I do love winter’s long blue shadows.   Late February-Early March  The catkins of American Hazelnut  (Corylus americana), formed last summer, elongate and spill their golden pollan, showy in the still drab landscape. In March, Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) is the first to bloom in my patio […]

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Snow Catchers

During winter the winds come in crisp and invigorating from across the prairies.  At this season of the year the landscape assumes a dreary look to many who do not understand.  But to others, when the gray arms of the cottonwood are illuminated by the January sun and silhouetted against the blue sky, when sleeping […]

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Prairie Grasses in Late Fall

Prairie Grasses By December, the flowers of herbaceous plants have all faded and the leaves of woody plants have fallen.  But the landscape is not barren: some may think this is the most beautiful time of year.  Why is that?  Prairie grasses come into prominence, creating stunning pictures. Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is one of […]

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This Weekend in My Back Yard

This Weekend in my Back Yard   Golden-leaved Wild Grape (Vitis riparia) crawls along my neighbor’s clothes line contrasting beautifully with the scarlet leaves of my Hazelnut.  One never plants Wild Grape–it just shows up, planted by birds,   American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) is the most spectacular autumn shrub we have in the Midwest. Its […]

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Where is Jack Frost?

Where is Jack Frost? He is late–in previous years, he always came around 8 October, my mother-in-law’s birthday. Actually, it’s not Jack Frost that causes leaves to turn color. What causes leaves to turn color in the fall?   Shorter day lengths and cooler temperatures trigger the leaves to discontinue the production of chlorophyll, allowing […]

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