The Smells of Summer

moon phase Week of 06/21/2009 Most fruitful days to plant aboveground crops

It was a week of sweet fragrances. From all over the yard they drift by my nose, no matter where I stand, and I find myself lifting my chin to breathe in deeply through my nostrils. Black Locust flowers Black Locust flowers Taking in the sweet aroma of the flowers sends a gentle massage directly to my brain, and softens my attitude.

Some flowers have a more subtle scentónot to say they don't smell beautiful, but you have to stick your nose into the petals to get a good sample of their fragrance. The three flowers that are now in bloom are bolder about how they send their scent on the air. The black locust trees near the stream are in full bloom. It's a lovely sight to see a large tree covered in creamy white bunches of blossoms. The branches are thick with blossoms, yet there are no leaves. Grape Iris Grape Iris   The locust tree will send out its leaves only after it blooms, making it the last tree to get leaves in the spring. The sweet scent of the locust blossoms is more like perfume and it's no wonder the bees are so drawn to them.

The row of tall grape irises send their grape aroma on the breeze, and I can smell them from a hundred feet away. The peonies always make me stop and sniff the air as I pass by. Ah! The sweet smell of summer.

The fireflies have been out in good numbers the past few nights. What a beautiful sight at twilight: Hundreds of twinkling fireflies dancing over the lush green meadow. Spiderwort Spiderwort   It's the stuff that good dreams are made of, and I enjoy watching them as much now as I did when I was a boy.

The young Red tailed hawks that were raised in a stick nest in an oak tree across the road are nearly ready to fledge. For a month they have grown, and now they are ready to make their first attempts at flying. More often than not, that first haphazard flight may end up on the ground, but only for a few minutes. It isn't long before he flies up to a wooden fencepost. The young hawk surveys his new surroundings while a pair of Bank swallows dive bomb him from above. He doesn't feel very welcome here, so he finds a branch in a nearby leafy tree, a better perch. Blackcaps Blackcaps This is a much cooler place to be, but it's no secret where he is. In no time a Jenny wren and a sassy chickadee are scolding him from the nearby branches. Then a bluebird and a robin join in to voice their objection to the hawk being in their territory. Of course there's also the noisy "beeping" from the ever-present, white-breasted nuthatch.

It's late afternoon and the young hawk is feeling the pangs of hunger, so he starts to call out for food. His high-pitched calls continue for about half an hour before his mother finally shows up with dinner. A fat, fresh, ground squirrel is quickly passed to the anxious youngster. Day One pretty much goes like that, and so will the days that follow, until the young hawk figured out how to catch his own meals. It usually takes them about two weeks to master the art of catching frogs, grasshoppers, and an occasional snake. Catching voles may take a little longer to get the hang of. Lupines Lupines This week's new flowers include the pretty Blue spiderwort and the rich, dark pink of the wild Prairie rose (rosa arkansana).

Midsummer's promise is seen in the long snow-white blossoms of the wild blackberries. The hot orange faces of the little hawkweeds peer out from the short grass, and a gorgeous, tall Lupine is in full brilliant blue bloom in the garden. The yellow Swallow-tailed butterflies have been showing up to visit the flower gardensónot too many, but enough to brighten my day.

Spring is about the simple and the obvious, the subtle, the bold, and the beauty of life. Spring is aboutónature. I hope your spring has brought you closer to what is real in your life. Mother Nature will always offer you that truth.

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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Ellen from from Lake County, California on June 24, 2009 at 10:32:45 PM
I enjoyed the close up vivid pictures of nature that you posted on this site. I have a question about the spiderwort plant. Do you know if it really is a natural antidote for poison oak? It sure is pretty and seems to grow near the poison oak areas near us. I've dug up the root and pounded it and applied it to skin, and it seems to work.
Maggie from on June 24, 2009 at 08:24:35 PM
Thank you so much for your beautiful words, pictures and photos! I always look forward to your emails and appreciate all of your insights into Nature's ever changing beauty. Being outdoors and experiencing Nature's gifts is my greatest and most joyful meditation!
Judy Isaacson from from Sunset Valley, TX on June 24, 2009 at 08:15:36 PM
I love your photos this week, Dan, especially the Lupines. Aren't they kin to Texas Bluebonnets? They are really beautiful, and I save all your wonderful photos and artwork.
Joyce from from Pa. on June 24, 2009 at 06:27:03 PM
THANKS YOU so much for sharing your passion !!!!!!!!!!!
Georgette from from Staten Island,+NY on June 24, 2009 at 05:34:35 PM
Thank you for your stories and pictures. They always touch me and I am enriched. : )
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