Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday skywatch

Daily dose of Lucas County: 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, mixed clouds and sunshine with an occasional light shower, high in the upper 70s, walking north along the east levee at Pin Oak Marsh.

Monday seemed remarkable only because the mix of clouds and sunshine punctuated by sprinkles was the first break in our string of beautiful October days. That long stretch of sunshine after a summer of almost constant rain has been the remarkable thing.

The grassy trail connecting the paved trail at Pin Oak with the levee system has finally dried out enough to be navigated without boots and even was clipped Friday to make it more inviting. So I headed down it Saturday morning and again Monday to check out what has usually been the largest display of bottle gentians in the reemerging prairie.

What I found was amazing, at least to me --- dozens of these usually unobtrusive plants along the trail's edge glowing blue in the grass. Bottle gentians, so-called because their blooms are shaped like bottles, are not as showy as their prairie gentian kin but like prairie gentians are among the latest blooming of prairie species.  Perhaps our wet summer has been a factor in their prosperity.

The rest of the color scheme, other than the bright blue sky and its reflection on the water, has gradually shifted to muted gold and brown punctuated by mahogany as big bluestem matures and pin oak leaves turn.

I'm chafing a little at the need to actually do a few useful things, other than wander around outside --- a project in Albia that took most of Sunday afternoon, finally getting around Monday to preparing a program  presented Monday night, a board meeting this morning, another meeting tonight and bread to bake before it. But the forecast for the rest of the week is sunshine, highs in the 70s, lows in the 40s and still no frost. Wonderful!

We're planning a low-key appreciation day plus celebration of the windmill's rising from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the museum and it looks like we'll be able to do it on the patio. Y'all come!

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