Sidewalk Nature (vacant lot)

Our dog walk took us to the vacant lot again. Every visit rewards us with new things to notice. Today the new things were new seeds (a sudden green ash windfall) and new graffiti:

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Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature (vacant lot)”

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Winter Solstice flowers

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henbit

Folks get sad with the short days and cold weather, so I need to advertise what might be a brief antidote.
Flowers.
In the grass.
In late December.
Henbit’s tiny purple trumpets, chickweed’s white stars, and ivy-leaf speedwell’s bright blue eyes are all twinkling from the grass right now in Nashville. Continue reading “Winter Solstice flowers”

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice came and went, and this time I marked it with fire, and even better, with the publication of last year’s winter solstice story. I am grateful to Chapter 16 for including it in December’s essay lineup.

Winter Solstice image Brichetto

Chapter 16 is a branch of Humanities Tennessee, and it acts as our “virtual Tennessee Center for the Book.” And lucky for me, they also publish original essays from time to time.

Winter Solstice is a short, contemplative piece, with lots of American Robins, sugar maple leaves, and of course, hackberries . . . Continue reading “Winter Solstice”

Sidewalk signs

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Of all the sidewalks in all the towns in all the world, this label dropped onto mine.

I looked down on my dawn walk a block from the Interstate, and saw this plant label: a nursery tag for my favorite native grass, Little Bluestem.

Right now, whole meadows of Little Bluestem are waving in Middle Tennessee cedar glades: thigh-high seas of wintery coppers and golds.
Can’t help interpreting this morning’s label as a sign to go see some today.

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#SchizachyriumScoparium #grassland #nativeplants #alltheginjoints

Secret Path: milkweed vine

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milkweed vine

On the Secret Path today:

When a climbing vine casts its tip out and out but finds nothing to grab, it will curve round and grab itself.

That’s what’s happened here. You can see the loop at the bottom of the photo, and how it continues as a younger, greener “switchback” still counter-clockwising up its earlier self.
The vine’s goal is to aim for sunlight by the most expedient means, which in this case is its own body. Continue reading “Secret Path: milkweed vine”

Why this sweat bee and I hate your mosquito contract

Carolina rose and sweat bee
Rosa carolina and friend

When I was a kid, sweat bees were the enemy. Now we are.

This little sweat bee is gathering pollen from a native Carolina rose.
See the yellow grains stuck to the hairs on her legs?
She’s likely gathering provisions for eggs laid in a teensy underground tunnel. Continue reading “Why this sweat bee and I hate your mosquito contract”

Black Walnut “log” (food and dye)

black walnut on twig
at an interstate easement

Walnut time is here again, and I’ve just realized I never posted my walnut work from a couple of years ago. I need to record what I’ve made so far, because 1) I’ll build on it next time, or 2) there will be no next time. I never know if an enthusiasm will catch fire or burn out. Either way, walnut work must be logged.

Continue reading “Black Walnut “log” (food and dye)”