National Wildflower Week June 2-10

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white-eyed grass This is national wildflower week! Did you know that? To celebrate I attended a tour sponsored by the Prairie Plains Resource Institute www.prairieplains.org  Tuesday.  I plan to go on another tour Saturday. PPRI owns several properties across the state that can be accessed at one’s leisure. I learned several things on this first tour. #1 Not many people are as excited to tromp around in the grass as I am. Only one other person showed up, and he was well known to the guides.

rose  

#2 It is exceptionally difficult to take a photo of a wildflower during daylight, with a moderately priced digital camera. The sunlight reflecting on the screen makes it impossible to see if you got a clear shot. 

Ratzlaff prairie

#3 I still have my eye. Part of my job used to be driving around in people’s pastures looking at plants. I got to see lots of different places, not just the public access ones.  After resigning in 2004 and really leaving the area where one finds abundant wildflowers in 1997, I was happy to find that I can still spot a tiny flower in the middle of the tall grass. Obviously I could still look at flowers when ever I want, but a lot of the prairie is planted to corn and soybeans around here. Most of what isn’t has been overgrazed and invasive grasses have taken over.

Prairie ragwort

#4 I learned a couple of new plants, new to me anyways.

pink poppy mallow

#5 I can go to these prairies when ever I want, and one is pretty close to my house, so I hope to get some great native grass photos later in the season. You are surely rolling your eyes if you have even made it this far, but I get excited about native grass. I know Nebraska’s main grasses by their Latin names as well as common names. Unfortunately most of the grass around here is smooth brome, it came from Russia, and it wasn’t one of her greatest gifts to the new world. I believe she also sent over leafy spurge, another gift we should have returned unopened.

onion

#6 I am a little out of shape!

Storms again

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We went to the basement this time. No tornado damage that we know of, but we got two inches of rain. Again. Our basement sprung a leak, and water was pouring in between the lowest showing blocks. There was a little waterfall, sounded like someone taking a long, refreshing, beer leak. The rain stopped for a couple of hours, but has started again. I think instead of chickens we should look into getting ducks.  The springRain storm-01 The river on its way to the sump pumpRain storm-04 The gentlemenRain storm-08  And Jane. Rain storm-09

 Service Soil Survey I have on my shelf.  When you look up the soil type it flat out says if you dig a basement here, it will get wet and possibly even cave in due to the soil structure.  They guy who built our home didn’t read that part, so he dug a basement in a dry year.  Then the groundwater came up in the spring and he finally decided to fill the thing with sand.  It has tiny 1960s windows and a cinderblock wall bisecting the area lengthwise.  The heifers and Prairie-horseRain storm-14 behind the chicken houseRain storm-21 and the garden.Rain storm-13

This water was runoff from the field across the road, two inches.  These days home builders in the area first dig a pond, then use that dirt to build a mound on which to perch their home.  They can have half basements that way, and a food source if they stock the pond. lol Personally I would worry about my kids drowning in the pond, but drowning is a possibility here too!  Three separate storms came through Weds night, totalling 3.5 inches of rain.  I remember people talking about the flood in North Dakota years ago, and describing it as pouring a gallon of milk on a table.  All this water is on its way to a slough which is typically dry 9 months a year.  Just down the road I saw cattle in a lot belly deep in water on its way to a creek which is usually dry 9 months a year.  People are making jokes about cubits.  Looks like it will rain again in the next few days. 

Is one of the Village People an Internet Cable Repairman?

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I discovered quite by accident that the YMCA has wireless available.  I would have known this earlier, but apparently I don’t exercise anymore.  Now I have a great excuse to visit the Y.  They also provide up to two hours of child care while I am there.  Here is my plan.  Get everyone ready for swim lessons early.  Pack them into the Y, drop them off and upload photos in the lobby, then get the ladies and take them to their lessons.  Whoo hoo! I took a bazillion photos in the last 48 hours, so brace yourselves.  I could possibly do the internet thing instead of watching the lessons, but I have a friend whose daughter has lessons at the same time, and I don’t get to see her often enough.  I am so psyched.  Does anyone say that any more?  Between Pike and Waterbabies, we will be at the Y three evenings a week for the next month.

Lost again

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Speaking of tornadoes, they postponed showing the Lost season finale because the weather guy was busy on Thursday. They showed it Sat at 12:30 pm, and I missed taping it.  Mom said she taped it…I  hope she wasn’t lying.   I went birthday shopping Thursday, (follow me here) and found a Barbie doll sized action figure of Sawyer with a raft. I looked and looked, but they didn’t have one of Sayed. Drat. I might have bought it, although I don’t know how I would have explained it to GD. I guess I could have hid it somewhere… I also found some cool semis that go on our train tracks. Leo is forever wanting me to hook up his semis. I think he will be able to hook these up himself, they have larger connecting points. He will be two at the end of the month.

The TV is on for background noise while Jane is taking her nap. Our choices are baseball, info-mercial or car show. I think I just heard a guy say that when he got his Ferrari, he got all kinds of new friends. Hmm. I bet I could get new friends too if I won the lottery. I could have misheard, I am busy making tractors and formula 1 cars with play dough. Imagine Leo’s disappointment to find that they don’t drive. I’m a little bummed myself.

When everyone wakes up we are going to a friend’s place.  They live on a sand pit lake, so we are suiting up and slathering.  GD is supposed to be helping move the dock then we’ll grill out.  Before kids, we used to do lots of things with these friends, but we don’t get together nearly often enough anymore.  I wonder where my suit is, I have been pregnant since 2002, with the exception of summer ’05.  I am sure it won’t be pretty. 

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