Once upon a time, a new grass appeared in the yard. At first, I thought the narrow leaves were wild onion, but they didn’t taste oniony. They didn’t look oniony, either, not on closer inspection: each wore a silvery line down the middle of the green. Continue reading “Star of Bethlehem”→
There are swaths of yellow right now in Elmington Park: small yellow blooms massed in the lawn. I hope the city doesn’t mow soon, because the yellow is Nashville mustard—our mustard—and it needs to go to seed and spread. I saw it on the way to Hebrew School, and as soon as I could, I went back and parked the car in the lot, then parked my body flat on the grass.
To me, this particular “spring ephemeral” is as welcome as a wildflower. It is a sign of the season: a “cedar apple,” doing its wacky thing in wet spring weather. This one is on our volunteer red-cedar tree in the front yard, and I’ve been waiting for the rusty, dry galls to wake from winter. Continue reading “Cedar Apple”→
Our dog loves hackberry trees. If there is a hackberry seedling within range of her face, she finds it. Under the neighbor’s boxwood, up the U-channel of the stop sign, poking from a storm drain, or wherever. She plucks the leaves with her teeth. She will chew as many as her leash lets her have time for. The seedling may be flanked by baby elm or privet or althea or bush honeysuckle of a similar size, but she only goes for hackberry leaves. Continue reading “Hackberry Jam”→
Oaks are hard. Hard wood, yes, and hard to identify. This morning, I’m trying to key out a mystery oak on our dog walk, so I came home with a twig, buds, acorns and leaves. A few leaves are still green, and the undersides (the abaxial surface, thank you) gave me pause. Continue reading “Leaf armpits”→
Fall is here, and stuff is falling. Look down. Although this site is called Look Around, sometimes and to some people, to look around is too tall an order. So look down. It’s easier. Down is just past the margins of our smartphones. And down is the quickest place to see signs of the seasons.
Snowberry Clearwing. Sounds like a unicorn name, doesn’t it? But it’s a type of sphinx moth—Hemaris diffinis—and before it becomes a moth, it’s a caterpillar. The caterpillar even has a single “horn,” though fake (to scare predators) and on the rear (to confuse predators). Continue reading “Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar”→
Another favorite butterfly: the American Snout. That fabulous schnoz is supposed to mimic a leaf stalk: the better to camouflage the butterfly as dead leaf. The system doesn’t work so well on a window. Continue reading “American Snout”→