Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Three Rides

In the last few weeks the weather has run the gamut of thunderstorms, heavy rains, fog, near-freezing nights, and a few precious, sunny, summer-warm days. Flowers are bursting out everywhere, birds and frogs are giddy with passion, and the sound of the lawnmower is heard in the land. Spring, in short, is At It.

For a wildflower-lover like me, this is the time of year when every ride is filled with hope and the joy of renewing old acquaintance.

Two Sundays ago:

It's a sunny, bright, blue-and-white day. I've been watching eagerly for the first blossoming tree, and here it is:



Streams are swollen with rainfall:


Here, the water covers the feet of the trees:


Around the corner, maple blossom (I think) hangs over a marsh:


I head to the spot where a favourite wildflower grows, hoping for blue blossoms, but find it still at the budding stage:


Miles later, we pass a cow standing in a temporary pond:


Around a few corners, on a busy county road, Tallulah spots a painted turtle (or, as she puts it, "a Very Distant Cousin") sitting in the opposite lane. We stop to offer help, but the turtle seems very shy and doesn't respond to Tallulah's cheerful advances.

"Hi there!" says Tallulah.

While Tallulah struggles to get acquainted with her unresponsive cousin, I keep my ears open. At the sound of an approaching car, I snatch up both turtles and run for the side of the road. Tallulah yells "Whee!", but the cousin merely shoots out its legs, wriggling wildly.

I set the turtles down in the grass, and Tallulah asks the Very Distant Cousin if she can pose on its back for a picture. (No response.) Taking the VDC's silence for compliance, Tallulah climbs aboard, and I snap a quick photo:


Then we ride away, leaving the Very Distant Cousin in the grass at the side of the road. "Still silent," I remark. "But unsquashed," says Tallulah.

Deep grey clouds are piling up in the west, and looming over a favourite barn:


A mile or two later, we're home.

~ ~ ~

A week ago:

A sunny afternoon and a short ride squeezed in between work and errands.

Water is slowly receding from the streams and marshes, and Marsh Marigolds are in bloom:


It's violet time (lovely phrase!), so I'm scanning the roadsides for likely photo candidates. Though violets are thick in our yard at home, they're just beginning to blossom out here:

Violets with cyclist

A little farther on we find a pale lavender variety:


Serviceberry trees are blooming too:


Around the corner, another small tree has burst into a glory of white:


Tallulah buries her nose in a flowery cluster:


"How does it smell?" I ask. "Like Spring," she replies.

We ride on, over the bridge of a stream gradually shrinking to its normal size...


...past deep-green fields under streaky white clouds...


...and so home.

~ ~ ~

Last Sunday:

It's a mostly cloudy, warm-seeming day, but plagued with a chill deceptive wind that seems to blow every direction at once.

On the way out I pass Mr. M, who left before me and is on his way home:


A little farther on, I find that last week's wildflower buds have opened:

Jacob's Ladder or Greek-valerian

Other small flowers are blooming too. We see garlic mustard and winter cress, and patch after patch of wood anemone sparkling like small stars. I never knew until today that the wood anemone's buds can be pink:

Wood anemone in bud


As we approach our favourite sheep farm, we can hear the occupants a-hollerin' and a-bellerin'. ("Maybe they're having a Sunday hymn-sing," says Tallulah.)


Just up the hill, past our egg-supplier's house, is the home of the pedigreed pigs, where we find two batches out to pasture.

Little ones:


And big ones:


Both batches are friendly and rush to the fence to pose for photos.

Photo time over, they turn to gossip through the fence:


Then Tallulah and I ride away and the piggies return to their rooting.

Around the corner is a place where violets grow thick every spring, so of course we stop for photos:

Why yes, I do like purple and green together.


Then on we go, around another corner and up a hill where the sweet scent of plum blossom stops us in our tracks.


Miles later, near the edge of town, we pass a pair of sandhill cranes in a field:


Later, when editing the photos at home, I find that there was a third sandhill crane, whose presence we overlooked:


This is the second baby crane I've seen this year. I'm hoping for wild goslings soon.

~ ~ ~

Whew! This month has gotten away from me. Now that the cycling season is warming up, I need to post my ride photos more often. (The next I-cord installment also needs to be posted.)

Is May flying quickly for you too?

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