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)”

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Driveway-Crack Flowers: Perilla

“It’ll take over,” our neighbor warned, followed by: “I cannot believe you planted Perilla.” But, I didn’t plant Perilla. Perilla just happens. This was years ago, and the first time I’d heard the name. Until then, I only knew it as the maroon thing that fluffed in every flower bed (and pot and driveway crack) if allowed, and that the leaves looked like basil but smelled like licorice. Continue reading “Driveway-Crack Flowers: Perilla”

Hackberry Jam

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”

Sidewalk Nature: Ginkgo Fruit

sidewalk-ginkgo-fruit
ginkgo

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.

Welcome to Sidewalk Nature. Today’s nature is ginkgo “fruit.”* Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Ginkgo Fruit”

Lacebark Elm Snack

lacebark elm plate
Lacebark elm leaves and seeds (with American Elm leaf for contrast)

I kept seeing these suspiciously perfect trees at Vandy—flanking the Children’s Hospital, standing guard along West End—with fluted columns and urbane foliage. When I noticed they had elm seeds in October (most elms produce seeds in spring), I investigated. Continue reading “Lacebark Elm Snack”

Wild Persimmons on the Sidewalk

native persimmon
native persimmon

Native persimmon time again: fat little sacks of sweet pulp waiting to be baked into muffins. Mom and Izzy and I foraged in an office parking lot last night, under a tree I watch all year. I check for blooms, leaves, caterpillar tents, and any evidence that the property owners have lost patience with car-spattering, jelly-bomb season. Continue reading “Wild Persimmons on the Sidewalk”