Gymnasts in the Lavender

Oh, hello.
It’s a thing. With legs like hers (she is, let’s say, about 7 centimetres from tip to tip ), you can jump from twig to twig, in three dimensional space. It’s not like a bee in the flowers, though. This is hunting.

There were four in this bush, hunting together. So, here’s the thing: there are regulations for protecting indigenous landscapes, for the planting of bunchgrasses, mostly. These improvements are welcome, especially in disturbed lands in housing developments, but when the mule deer are locked into them and eat all the wild flowers down to their roots, and it gets on the middle of August, the place is close to a desert. Planting lavender and  Russian sage helps, so does the dill in my garden, not to mention a bit of queen anne’s lace and some red orach, while we sort out how to make deer corridors, hack down the sagebrush, and replant the wild flowers, especially thistles and all the species  that used to grow along the borders of valley bottom wetlands that are no more. Our wetlands are our houses now. The survival of wasps, like these beautiful gymnasts, is up to us. “Wildness” does not come into question. That’s just White thinking, and we don’t need that any more. Or maybe just some wild lettuce. We could manage that.

Or just some smokebush. Look at this tiny wasp below. She likes smokebush.

And, hey, smokebush, that’s a pharmaceutical plant. We could do our lungs some good at the same time.

Juvenile Stars About to Leave the Nesting Colony

They are still being born.

They are countless and perfect.

Born from suns themselves.

At home in the complex interstellar environment.

And now they are leaving home.

Soon they will drift on the interstellar winds.

Among supernovae.

Through solar flares.

Among nebulae…

… and star clusters of all kinds.

It is the season for floating to the far corners of the universe.

… and beginning again.

The universe doesn’t extend.

It deepens and curves.

Midsummer Autumn

Celebrate the season!

It’s a colour palette for rejoicing.

Art without four seasons. Life without four seasons. Life with dozens, often two at the same time, passing through each other like clouds!

What a beautiful dance.

Cheating Weeds Out of their Day in the Sun

There is a new invader in the Okanagan and the Okanogan, our two homelands that are one. It is rush skeleton weed, and it has the potential to wreck stuff. Stuff like balers and combines. And grasslands. Here it is in Vernon…

Rush Skeletonweed

Showing off some of its 20,000 seeds. Control measures in Vernon appear to be Harold pulling it out when he can. 

This is one of the few plants that can take on cheatgrass, which is an invasive plant that cheats most native plants out of their spring water and keeps it all to itself. In the lower grasslands of the Okanagan, it has replaced the blue algal crust that once was the living diaphragm between the soil and the atmosphere and in which the seeds of native plants could effectively lodge and be nourished with water.

Russian Thistle (Another Nasty) Demonstrating its own Method of Cheating Cheatgrass
Go High, go Fast, Lose no Water on the Way, Prick Anyone Who Comes Close, and Tumble with the Wind, Yay!

Rush Skeletonweed can beat cheatgrass, too, by starting early when there’s water everywhere, and, like russian thistle, punching through the cheatgrass cover into the wind. It also has gooooooey latex sap which absolutely destroys farming equipment. We could do with less farming equipment, and more cheaters of cheatgrass, but is this the way? Surely, there are better things for this game of dominance in the new weed lands that were grasslands once. For instance, this…

Asparagus Gone to Seed

An introduced species, but much favoured of deer, humans and birds, and otherwise harmless.

If we’re going to go vertical to get out of the cheatgrass zone, why not asparagus? Or this species, which competes well with the skeletonweeds 20,000 seeds, having a few buckets full of its own to give away every summer and fall …

Wild Lettuce Reclaiming an Old Orchard
This stuff is everywhere that there is wind.

So, if verticality is a secret method of reclaiming land from cheatgrass in the weed lands, and wild lettuce grows everywhere, why not this?

Romaine Lettuce Gone to Seed
In a choice between rush skeletonweed and salad, or between cheatgrass and salad, or between latex-bitter wild lettuce and salad, I’ll take salad, thanks. Dressing on the side.

Who said lettuce has to grow in rows? If it self-seeds in wastelands and weedlands everywhere, and salad is there for the picking wherever you traipse in the spring, and it displaces the nasties in the process, how is that worse than trucking it with diesel fuel fromJohn Steinbeck Country? If we’re going to have weeds, let’s have ones that we can eat in the wet season.