Tag Archives: going green

Every living creature has to have a migraine from this air pressure

Fir0002/Flagstaffotos Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

 Morning: 8 am~

Silence- over cast sky, heavy air pressure but most of all, the silence  it’s settled in like a thick blanket.

A couple of Blue Jays screamed and whistled at me this morning. I wouldn’t have thought twice about the silence if it had been cold, which is not the case; the temperature is around sixty degrees.

I felt something move around me, Mother Nature is waiting for something to happen.  Every living creature has to have a migraine from this air pressure.

Somewhere around 12:00pm~

The ground is holding in the vibrations from the train nearly two miles away. When the air is this still sounds drift around the trees, and illusion can echo eerily in the darkness and fog. In the middle of the day it just feels odd.

Around 1pm~

I stood out on the deck and sneezed five times, painfully irritating. I looked up as the sun peeked out behind the grey clouds.  Blue sky slipped into view along the horizon.

My sneezing disturbed a Blue Jay. He flew out of the old apple tree into a miniature crab apple tree, closer to the deck and to me, then screamed his anger.

About 5pm~

I just remembered to take Uriah for his last walk around the back. It is almost too late. I decided he needs the exercise, and so do I.

It’s nearly dark; that point where the lighter objects glow and the darkness is shadowed in a mist. Above me the clouds in the western sky fanned out towards the east. Pieces of yellow sunset and blue sky shine through the clouds along the horizon.

A heavy musky smell wafts past me. I whistle for Uriah. He is panting as he trots to keep up. We hit the lowest part of the path. I can’t see the mud so I hold tight to my walking stick and slip on towards home.

 Suddenly Uriah starts to growl, a low muffled sound that comes from deep in his throat. He pushes past me.  Then stops directly in front of me, and starts scraping the ground with his back paws and takes a stance of ownership and protection.

“Good, dog, Uriah!” My voice is loud in the darkness, he turns towards me, sneezes then growls back at the trees and tall grass.  I wondered if his sneezing is a warning that a skunk is hiding in the grass?    I wasn’t going to stick my nose anywhere near a skunk. Hmm,  It could be a raccoon another reason to walk faster.

 I moved past Uriah, and called him to follow. We are moving rapidly towards home I could barely see the ground. 

 Fifty feet or so away from the path, Uriah turns back and barks, scraps his back feet kicking up dirt and grass. His hackles are still raised, as we hurry towards the house.

 Raccoons are dangerous for both of us. A few years ago, when I had three dogs I was attacked by a forty pound raccoon. My dogs saved my life.

Milkweeds, Snowballs and Wishes

400px-Milkweed-in-seed2

I have been trying to grow milkweeds on my property for the past fourteen years. I have some milkweeds with whitish flowers, and some with pink flowers.

When I first moved here, the Milkweeds were small and very few, they were about ten inches high and scrawny. A neighbor, in Chicago, had credited me with the first monarch butterflies he had seen in years. So I pulled out my squirreled away milkweed seeds, saved from my Chicago plants. They were tall ones, three to maybe five feet tall.

I wanted to bring that out here. This is the country; it should have been easy to grow wildflowers, right?  Well, not really. When the farmers spray the fields in the spring I lost the majority of the milkweeds. A few survived growing next to some trees or protected by tall grass. Each year they made the attempt to grow taller and stronger. Until finally had a patch in the front, near the drainage pond. Last year, that area flooded and the milkweeds sat in deep water for over a month and everything turned black and molded.

This year I had a small patch closer to the driveway. I watched it all summer. The plants grew between three and five feet tall. Even when they started to die down, the stalks stood straight and held onto the seed pods.

I was expecting to grab a couple of seed pods, like I do every year, and save them in the garage until spring. Two days ago, the seeds burst out of their pods, in a puff of pure white, sparkly, silky blur. The small flat brown seeds were connected like tiny parachutes waiting for the winds to catch them. For a moment, serenely, they held on to their pods, narcissistically I assumed they were waiting for me to notice them.

I did a double take when I walked out to get the mail.  Surrounded by a variety of browns and dried dark greens, and sitting on those splotchy dried stalks the  pods had burst into view. At first glance, I thought I was looking at snow perched on the end of a branch.   

I have to admit, second and third glances they still looked like snowballs.

 I waded through the dried grass to get a closer look. At that moment, a slight breeze made a wish and the seeds drifted around and above me, the seeds littered the grass, and wafting along on each breeze.

My first thought, “The Monarchs will love this.” Then I remembered that sometimes the farmers use Bt insecticides their crops, not very beneficial to Monarchs. 

We live in a world of chemicals, electromagnetic radiation; poison rain,… the list can be endless. All this makes me wonder how one person, not pouring chemicals into the land can help?  Help will come when we start to love the so called, weeds again and stop being afraid. Fear is a reaction to things we don’t understand.

I wonder if I make a wish with one of these seed pods, like a child when holding up dandelion that has gone to seed and wish for ,…What would you wish for?

 

 

This site has a description of what, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn pollen is;

“Colorado State University”

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/00707.html

Here is some information from the, University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Pesticide Review;

http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/ipr/i4188_829.html

“Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a bacteria that occurs naturally in the soil. It produces an endotoxin crystal that attacks the gut membrane and creates pores, which cause leakage and swelling. The swelling continues until cells burst, which allows the gut contents to leak into the insect’s blood, disrupting the blood pH and resulting in paralysis and death within 24 to 72 hours. In Bt corn, the genes in the bacteria that code for the production of this endotoxin crystal are inserted through genetic engineering into the corn plant. The resulting corn plants produce the endotoxin crystal, causing the death of caterpillars that feed on them. This toxin is produced in many locations of the corn plant, including the pollen.”

Picture of Milkweed-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Milkweed-in-seed2.jpg

I Never Walk Alone

This morning, around 8am, I took Uriah out for his morning walk. The air was still and cool. I could hear the muffled chatter of the birds. A dog complained somewhere. He could be miles away. Around here, with all the open spaces sound moves across miles of fields, over the roads, past cows and horses grazing silently in early mist to land at my feet. Curiosity will have me speculating  at each sounds origin.

Uriah ran ahead of me as I circled the back yard. I walked close to the trees to the north, near the old apple trees.

I felt someone, or something watching me. Peering intently into the nearly leafless bog willows I saw nothing. The dense summer foliage had changed over night, to naked branches weaved together in a haphazard maze.

Still, I felt something watching me. I tried to shrug it off and turned toward the house.

 I took a few steps forward. My right side towards the trees, that’s when, just out of the corner of my eye I spotted him, a buck, standing quietly, about one hundred feet from me inside the tree line.  He was the size of a large horse! 

I didn’t move. Yet, I could feel him. He wasn’t frightened, neither was I…

 I didn’t have time to react even if he charged. This is mating season, and crossing paths with a buck now can have direr effects.

 His ear moved. Then he turned his head slightly in my direction.

 I couldn’t differentiate between the tangle of trees and antlers on his head. He stood tall; his stance was similar to walking with a heavy crown on your head.  All this time I kept looking straight ahead. I could only see him in my peripheral vision, he bended into the trees when I tried to look directly at him.

Time moved slowly.   Finally, I noticed a slight breeze as it blew towards the deer explaining why I hadn’t caught his scent. Just as I was wondering if he was going to charge me, I saw his white tail flip; just slightly.  He slowly started walking east. I took the hint and headed to the house walking west.

That’s when I realized, Uriah had decided to go check him out. I really wasn’t in the mood for irritating a buck today, or any day.

 I whistled and Uriah did his bravado dance of scrapping at the grass with his hind legs. He squeezed out a couple of attempts at a growl. Then rolled his eyes, mouth open in a wide doggy grin he trotted over to me. His job is to keep the wildlife out of the backyard. He raised his eyebrows at me then he glanced around, as if to say, “No one here but us. I did my job, gimmee cookie!”

 I gave him a choice of a Milk Bone, or a Liver Snap. Being Uriah, he ended up with both.

I grabbed my coffee, and stood out on the deck. High pitch screams circled above me and I could hear branches breaking.  I love my morning coffee.

 

Show Me Your Secrets~

     Early this morning the ground was frozen and the air was crisp, as I headed towards the path. I wondered if the water had receded enough to allow me to walk .

     I was  surprised to see the ground with only trickles of water still running freely.  I carefully stepped on the grass growing along the edges, avoiding low hanging branches. 

     Frost airbrushed the shadows as I moved up and around the trees. I could see my breath added to the morning fog.  I walked quickly.  I was on a mission.   “Walk the dog and quickly get back in the house to a hot cup of coffee.”

     I reached the curve in the path that swings around and sets me on the path home. Stopping I looked up at the flock of birds screaming at me. I really shouldn’t group them together I saw robins, and starlings, doves and finches, woodpeckers and others that flew past so fast I couldn’t recognize them.

I took a deep breath, thanked the earth for the splendor set in this moment. Then, I asked, “Please show me your secrets.”

Nature is full of secret. You just have to slow down and look for them. 

      At that moment, when I looked up and away from my feet, and asked the question, “Please show me your secrets.” The clouds parted above me so that the sun, which was sitting near the horizon, slipped over my shoulders and lit up the farmer’s field.  

      Acre upon acres in front and around me brightened.

     I could only describe what I saw as a patchwork quilt flowing out and across the land. Golden yellow leaves of soy beans, a deep green wave of grass, corn standing tall waiting to be harvested, 150 year Oak trees  their twisted branches touched with that golden light. 

      The sun moved across the fields dipped low then slipped upward.  I smiled and said, “Thank You!” At that moment a large hawk rose from the corn field, turned and flew towards me and landed in one of the larger trees to the south. 

      I took a deep breath, whistled for my dog and moved on towards home and my coffee…

 frosted clovers

Curiosity can always get to me, and today is not an exception

Curiosity can always get to me, and today is not an exception.

corn 

The farmers haven’t cut down the feeder corn,yet and I find it so mysterious, scary and beautiful all at the same time. When I get enamored by a thought I will end up acting on my curiosity, which is how I ended up wandering around my fallen, barbed wire fence, and standing in the sinking mud to get a, “good look” at the corn field. 

 There are other plants that grow along the edges of a corn field; Milkweeds, Queens Anne’s Lace and a multitude of weeds that as you step past them will deposit burs in your clothing, hair and along your ankles connecting to your socks and shoes making it a treat to remove.

None of that mattered.

  I wanted stand next to the towering rows of corn.

Golden, browns and beiges streaked with green and yellows stood in formation. The large ears of corn still connected to the stalks. Some of the corn had deep orangey, yellow kernels peeking out. This is not the type of corn that if you squeeze a kernel with your nail it will pop a milky sweet juice.   These kernels are hard. They may end up as Ethanol, livestock feed, a starch, sweetener or for use in fermentation.  

 I could see where a passing deer, or a hungry raccoon, possum, or Badger ripped off some ears and carried them onto my property and under a bush to feast. A few kernels were on the ground. I knew from years of walking around here, that tomorrow morning if I were to check they would be gone, eaten.

 Pulling my feet from the mud, with a distinct gooey sound I stepped next to the first row of corn stalks, and looked up, at their waving tops. I tried to focus on the rows deeper into the field. They were so thick I could only see two ahead of me, and then they blended together like a wallpaper field, or a movie set with either zombies, or dreams being chased way.

“Hey Uriah can you chase away a Zombie?” I laughed as Uriah looked around nervously. “I guess not.” I signed as he seemed to take offense by ducking his head and starring at the ground. 

The bitter smell of brown wet leaves, moved around me. Then drifting past as the wind picked up, racing the rain clouds into another county, allowing the sun to spread across my face.  The sky brightened with white puffy clouds and a deep blue sky.

This is the moment I relish! The tops of this corn field wave around me as I stood quietly. Here in my old, mud covered gyms shoes, with wet socks while something crawls down my back.  I am happy.

Corn moves my car…and then

My attitude

Sweetens my dinner… and

My desserts

Then eases through my digestive track

To return

Looking as if it never left

 

 

 

“Illinois Corn”

http://www.ilcorn.org/uploads/documents/uploader/184It%20Begins%20with%20a%20Kernel.pdf

National Corn Growers Association” 

http://lepton.marz.com/ncga/comm_dev_center/index_PG.asp

“Kane County Farm Bureau”

http://www.kanecfb.com/links.html