This Dragon Flies


Most insects are a nuisance, biting or stinging. This one doesn’t bite even though they have serrated teeth.

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They have been around some 300 million years and continue to fascinate people of all  ages. Their larval state in water can last up to 2 years, while they devour other insects, fish, and even each other. When it emerges from the water, it’s exoskeleton cracks open and releases the insect’s abdomen. The wings come out to dry and harden over the next several hours or days.

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Dragonflies can fly  up or down, hover, and also mate in mid-air. To survive they must fly,  as that is the only way to catch their prey. A single dragonfly can eat 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes a day.  Hundreds will gather in swarms to migrate; some for short distances, some average around a 100 miles a day, and one, called a globe skinner will travel 11,000 miles back and forth across the Indian Ocean.

IMG_0019Their head is comprised  mostly of two compound eyes, which gives them almost 360 degree vision.These beneficial insects have survived since before the dinosaurs. I hope that their future is guaranteed (that will be in part up to us) so that coming generations can benefit from these unique creatures. It makes sense to me that any insect that can eat up to a hundred  mosquitoes a day is worth protecting.

Lauren

I look forward to their arrival each year at the lake; being entertained by their ballet like dance, hoping that a few will land on my hand. But alas,no such luck, they are to occupied securing their Future.

Firsts


If it is raining you stay in where it is dry, right? Apparently not! Out we go, 3 rambunctious kids, ages 9-14 and the instigator. Donning rain jackets and umbrellas we head to the trail. Watching children play can be infectious. You do not walk around a puddle, you walk through it. The kids did , that is. There is a limit as to how much fun I can have with wet feet. Despite the cool and the rain, I have to admit I enjoyed myself, thanks to the instigator. It is never too late to enjoy life’s little and simple moments.

I am in my early 70’s, and experiencing new moments are few and far in between. S’mors to the rescue. That sweet, sticky,  gooey sandwich . Goes really well with scotch! Could only eat one; did not want to ruin the scotch. Let the adventure continue. Off to the ‘Rock’ next week to join the “instigator”. Why? See last sentence in first paragraph.

Fire, friends and firsts.
Fire, friends and firsts.

A tree grows and flourishes – slowly


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My spring assignment which I have chosen to accept is to document by photographs the leafing out of a young tree in my area. My weekly walks takes me right by it. But we are off to a slow start. One week is mild, the next there is snow on the ground with temperatures below P1000569zero. Keep in mind this is still the 3rd week in April. This is going to require patience on my part. This week shows great promise; lots of sun and  warming nicely. What kind of tree is it? Next week I will have to put my sleuthing hat on and hope I read all the clues correctly.

This is not a very big tree, now. Someday it will tower above the spruce in the background. It will certainly outlive me, I hope. It is hard for me to understand how something this fragile and skinny has the means of surviving our winters. And yet, here it is.

My detective work tells me that this is an oak tree, based on the dead leaves at the base.

The hunter-gatherers of the Fertile Crescent at the east end of the Mediterranean realized some 10,000 years ago that for a plant to thrive it must first appear to die. And so it is today, new life springs from what appears to be no life at all.

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Finally, I am here!

So here we are in the 3rd week of May and many of the trees in my area are in full leaf and a most welcome addition to Spring. My little tree, well finally there is evidence of a leaf escaping winter’s grasp. I am sure this tree has a lot more patience awaiting Spring and the life giving warmth than most humans. We are seldom satisfied with our lot as regards to weather even though we know full well what to expect! As to my sleuthing ability, I would not make a good arborist. The leaves are jagged and not lobed as in an Oak tree. More on that later.

It is now June, and my tree is fully leafed out, to be totally appreciated. After digging around several websites, I am going to say it is a hickory tree. My mistake in calling it an oak. Never got this close to watching a tree come to life. As with so many aspects of nature, we tend to just walk on by. I am glad I did not.

For all to enjoy.
For all to enjoy.
In full bloom
In full bloom