23 de abril de 2018

Earth Explorations

Publicado el abril 23, 2018 12:49 TARDE por anneclewis anneclewis | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de junio de 2015


Yuccas are common plants here on the prairie. I first noticed them in the book Dakota Flora (sadly out of print).

Each spring I wait for t he yucca to bloom so I can see the little yucca moth that both consumes and pollinates the plant. I don't know why but not a lot of yuccas are blooming this year. I wonder if it has something to do with the spraying for mosquitoes? The city sprays at night, when the yucca moth is active.

Publicado el junio 10, 2015 11:45 MAÑANA por anneclewis anneclewis | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de mayo de 2015

Memorial Day

On a warm and sunny Memorial Day in the late 1990's, before 9/11, I took a walk on Farm Island on the Missouri River with my three sons who were in elementary school at that time. We came upon a little meadow filled with Dame's Rocket.

I did not know then what this fragrant, radiant purple flower was called. The first thing that came to mind was the poppies of Flanders field. I knew this flower was not a poppy of course, but in lieu of its proper name I started thinking of it as the Memorial Day flower. To me, it became a visual reminder of those who had died in service to the country.

I also did not know then how world events would unfold and that two of my sons would go to war one day. Both made it home but one had a friend and a brother in arms who did not. Baker was killed in October of 2009, a few short weeks before the battalion was due to rotate home.

I intended to return to that field in May 2011 and think of him. But I could not. Unusually high snow pack and a freak spring rain event resulted in flooding along the Missouri River just a few days before Memorial Day. Farm Island was inundated with three, four feet of water in places.

When the waters receded in the fall the trail to Baker's Field was gone, some of it washed away, some covered in debris and detritus. I have been out a few times looking for that field to no avail. Since I did not have it geo-located, it remains lost.

But I have not lost Baker's memory. Whenever I see a Dame's Rocket I think of him and all the men and women that have died. I think too of their families.

Rest in Peace. Be at peace,. You are not forgotten.

Publicado el mayo 24, 2015 01:22 TARDE por anneclewis anneclewis | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de mayo de 2015


I took a walk last night, just before sunset.

I was surprised to hear crickets. I was even more surprised to realize that I have never-and I mean this literally-thought about when do crickets start.

This is particularly odd since I have thought quite a bit about when they stop. In the past, come autumn, I listen each night for the crickets knowing that their time is short. "This will be the last night I hear crickets" I think on an especially warm September or early October evening when I sleep with the windows open.

Since I pay a lot of attention to things like the first robin, I am surprised by my cricket ignoring. I usually like to make informal note of these things. Knowing that crickets start mid-May is helpful.

Anyway, since the hour was late-ish (after 9pm) and the light was low, taking a picture of the crickets was out of the question. I opted to record them instead.

I know almost nothing about crickets. I do not know if you can ID them by their chirp. Most of my observations on iNaturalist and Great Nature Project have been of plants (because they stay stiil).

In my day to day life, I make note of birds. Since my camera is of indifferent quality, I do not attempt pictures, but I still make note.

I have paid very little attention to insects, bugs and spiders. This is a whole new thing for me.

Publicado el mayo 15, 2015 02:13 MAÑANA por anneclewis anneclewis | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de mayo de 2015


I came across this plant while walking to a meeting. The day was fine and I had a lot on my mind; the meeting was called because things that had been stewing for a while were going to be addressed head on. Yes, one of THOSE meetings. I was glad for momentary distraction of the goatsbeard.

Goatsbeard catches my eye because it is one of the first wildflowers (some would say ditch weed) that I learned to identify in South Dakota. While an introduced species, it is not a troublesome plant according to Grassland Plants of South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains .

Publicado el mayo 8, 2015 09:34 TARDE por anneclewis anneclewis | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de mayo de 2015

Common Lilac

I am particularly fond of those aspects of nature I remember from childhood. Robins, red wing blackbirds, and blue jays were the sound track of spring and summer outdoor play. When I hear them now, if I pause and allow memory to do its work, I can find myself outside my childhood home on a fine late spring evening. All the people I loved then are alive and well; all is right with the world. I'm grateful to have this avian touchstone to the past.

The same is true for lilacs. My childhood neighborhood had its share of lilac bushes and every May they would be denuded of flowers as high up as elementary school children could reach. One bush, the one near the neighborhood bus stop, was hit particularly hard by those picking flowers for teachers. In retrospect I see how this was vandalism of the most well intentioned sort but at the time the flowers were too pretty leave on the bush.

Adult me is shaking her head at 10 year old me.

I took this picture of a common lilac on a recent evening walk. The fragrance from the recent blooms overhanging the sidewalk stopped me in my tracks. I took a moment and savored the scent and the color before snapping this picture and then going on my way.

This bush is but a block from an elementary school. I wonder if children, the few that seem to walk, still pick flowers for their teachers?

Publicado el mayo 7, 2015 08:58 TARDE por anneclewis anneclewis | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario