Monday, May 14, 2012


Here's what I remember seeing and learning a name for on our walk. If I practice these maybe I'll retain them...
Sweet clover: small yellow spikes of flowers
Evening primrose: yellow
Horse nettle: five petal white
Wild roses: pink and white, katy ate a rosebud, very very! bitter is her report
Phlox: pinky purple, groups of flowers
Deptford Pink: pinky purple, one tiny five petal flower on top of stem. Teeny dots on petals. This is a eurasian species.
Larkspur: cluster of white snap dragony blooms with one dark mark on each petal
Penstemon: cluster of white snap dragony blooms, no marks on petals, smoother than larkspur
Cat's claw: crazy pink puffball flowers, spines on stem, has sensitive leaves that fold when touched.
Lead plant: grey foliage, can make tea but toxic in large doses
Yarrow: feathery leaves, use to help scratches heal
Coneflower: just starting to bloom
Milkweed: a few blooms
Wild alfalfa: tiny vivid purple blossoms
Gamma grass: very tall, long seed heads at top of stem
Sedges: like grasses but "sedges have edges" triangular stems
Compass plant: shaped like coral fans, leaves are mostly aligned north/south
Puccoon: small orange flowers, I didn't find any of these they were mostly done. Native american word for dye plant.
Daisy fleabane: sprays of little daisy blooms. An excellent nom de plume
Pepper grass: long spears of seed heads, peppery but not a grass.
Tomatillo: tiny and green. Dried (sweeter that way) for food by Native Americans.
Slender mountain mint: no flowers yet, skinny leaves, eucalyptus-ish scent when crushed.
KS wildflowers by color:

I *loved* the Kansas Land Trust mother's day walk in the prairie meadow. We tromped around with a botanist from KU who plucked various plant parts and told us their histories. It was part sun, part cloud and a beautiful day out in the rolling prairie farm land SE of the city. On the drive out we saw cows, goats, lots of birds (the birdsong was loud and gorgeous), and a farm dog. This field has never been plowed we were told but just burned and mowed for hay. The plants on it should be close to what was found there over the last 12,000 years. Cool. Lots of flowers, more than I expected.

It was warm and the children eventually wilted. Near the end of the walk I sent them back to the tent at the field entrance with the water jug. They are old enough to be bored but not explode and require all of us to leave. (This feels like a major advance!) Being bored is not the end of the world. I would have been tremendously bored by the plant talk if I was their age too. Katy was also v. resentful that we wouldn't get to go walk in the woods. Her dad took her to the treeline after the plant talk was done. They got to see how it was just a dense tree stand grown up along the fence line. From all those birds sitting on the fence and pooping seeds for hundreds of years.

When we got home and tick-checked it was Katy who got the prize. None of the rest of us came up with any, she just had one. I found the tick removal tool and it worked really well, much better than tweezers. Nod's eyes were beginning to swell even after his shower. He had quite a florid allergic reaction to all that pollen. I also had itchy eyes. I don't think we should go tromping through the prairie every day. But I am so glad to have done it and learned new things.

I got to show off my sweater on Saturday. It was cool enough when the sun was behind the clouds. My knit friends and neighbors gave me applause. I can see that in my haste I made one sleeve cuff two rows shorter than the other. Not sure if I'm going to try and amend that or just live with it. We also admired Beth Ann's day of the dead themed quilt top that she's made for a nephew. She is a color artist and puts together beautiful fabric assemblages. I knit furiously on Katy's hoodie and have finished the three panels. I'm halfway through the first sleeve. Then I will see if I can figure out how to sew it together. The shoulder area in particular does not seem obvious. I've made the whole thing on smaller needles than it called for because I didn't want it to be loose/lacy and to make it Katy-sized not woman sized. Hope it will all come together.


Bee said...

What a really lovely idea for Mother's Day. Your recall is quite impressive, or did you take notes?

Nimble said...

No notes, but I did rehearse while we hiked in the meadow. I found other examples of plants that he had already identified. My memory is great at wiping itself clean so I know I have to make an effort.