We assembled the patio furniture today, but there was no time for resting. Painting ruled the day, and we’ll call the landscaping done for this year. Unless of course, my dad can help me remove the tree in the front yard. Last week, the tree experts hired by the electric company were so kind to leave me with half a tree. Literally.
A coworker and I took a photography walk at lunch last Tuesday and discovered these daylilies. The daylily is often called “the perfect perennial,” with its dazzling colors, ability to tolerate drought, thrive in many zones, and requiring very little care. Did you know there are more than 60,000 registered cultivars of the daylily?
I love farmers’ markets. In every city and country I’ve traveled to, outdoor markets are not only great for local produce and good deals, but they show off a bit of the local flavor and people, too. From La Boqueria in Barcelona to las ferias in Santiago; to the back alley market in Wuxi, China (near Shanghai) which included live animals and live fish (but not for long); to fresh fruit from Pier 39 in San Francisco; the outdoor market in Fairbanks, Alaska with giant vegetables, and the farm stands in your local town, the colorful fresh fruit and vegetables flirt for your pocketbook.
As a kid, I remember selling sweet corn for a couple summers at the farmer’s market in Akron, Iowa. My sister, brother and I would wade into the cornfield and load our arms full with stacks of sweet corn, undeterred by the beating sun or itchy pollen. We’d unload them in bushel baskets in our wheelbarrow cart, not stopping until we had several hundred ears. At $2 a dozen, we offered a pretty good deal.
The Curry’s have almost always planted bicolor sweet corn, but in the early 90’s it was more of a rarity than a regular feature at markets or even grocery stores, for that matter. People would ask for our “candy corn.” Sweet corn is not a core part of our family business, but is planted for our family, employees, friends and neighbors. There was always an overabundance of corn, and the farmers’ market allowed my siblings and I to pool together some extra vacation cash. We can’t possibly have earned that much money, but to this day, it remains a rich memory.
Today was my first visit to The Raptor Center in St. Paul. Established in 1974 as part of the Univ. of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, the center rehabilitates more than 700 sick and injured raptors each year. I learned about all sorts of raptors: hawks, falcons and kestrels, eagles, owls and osprey, as well as the turkey vulture. Raptors are characterized by a hooked beak, strong feet with sharp talons, keen eyesight, and a carnivorous diet.
Did you know the peregrine falcon can reach speeds of 200mph? That the bald eagle has 7,000 feathers? How about that the Northern Saw-whet owl is one of the smallest owls, standing at 7 inches tall? Or that if humans’ eyes were proportionately equivalent to owls’ huge eyes and their skull, we’d have eyes the size of tennis balls?
Today’s photo is of a juvenile bald eagle. They don’t get their characteristic white color markings until 4-5 years of age.
Trivia: When is a minute 61 seconds? Tonight actually. At the last minute before midnight on June 30, I learned that the UTC will be adding a leap second. This is the 25th leap seconds that’s been added since 1972. About every 1.5 years, one extra second is added to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). This accounts for the fact that the Earth’s rotation slows down over time while the atomic clocks we use to measure time tick away at almost the same speed over millions of years.
I was intrigued to check out Jim Hodges’ boulders (Untitled, 2011), which were installed at the Walker Art Center’s outdoor green space this past spring. The artist spotted these four massive boulders in Massachusetts, each weighing between 8-13 tons and thousands of years old. Shipped to Minnesota on three semi trucks, the boulders are “wrapped” in a layer of high-polished stainless steel in a different color—copper orange, blue, gold and lavender. The viewer is able to walk around them and between them, and the light and shadows dance off the surface in myriad ways.