Where the Cottonwood Blows

It’s that joyous time of year when downy cottonwood seeds float through the air. And then they land. And cover everything. We actually had big clumps of them all over the yard. They got in our clothes, our shoes, Blitz’s fur … Thankfully, I’m not seeing quite so many this week (she writes, as she spies one floating past her office window).

I’ve been pulling huge amounts of what two different apps on my phone identified as false dill or dog fennel. Turns out, it’s actually larkspur. We still have huge amounts of it (so I’m not really mad about how much I pulled), and it’s blooming now. It’s featured prominently in this week’s bouquet.

Tansy, larkspur, coral bells, and yarrow — I have a feathery leaf theme going on this week.

I had a decent harvest yesterday. The mulberries are finally ready. The cherries — what few of them we have — were mostly ready to be picked. And strawberries, of course. Though I’m not fond of this variety of strawberries the previous homeowners planted. They’re small and get squishy very easily. I suspect this is a variety meant for jam, and I eat most of my strawberries raw.

Anyway, this harvest was roughly one cup of fruit, so I tossed in a cup of frozen blueberries to make a chia jam to swirl into my homemade yogurt. (Eaten with my homemade granola.)

Cherries and berries

Carnage yesterday: It looked like a bird exploded in our backyard, though the only evidence was the piles of feathers everywhere. My brother (an ornithologist) identified the feathers as a raptor of some sort. His best guess: a red-shouldered hawk was attacked by a great horned owl.

But that’s not all.

I walked out to the front of our house, only to see a dead opossum on the road at the end of our driveway. Its poor little corpse is positioned right where neither one of us can avoid hitting it if we have to leave the house. But what alerted me to the dead opossum was the vulture that flew right over me to come and feast on its carcass. The vulture was soon joined by a friend. But they didn’t stay long.

It’s still there. I put in a call to the township office that has jurisdiction over our street. (We literally live right on the township/county line, and it’s not our township/county that takes care of it.) They said they will send someone out either today or tomorrow.

I didn’t hit it and kill it (and trust me, if I had, I would be inconsolable), so I want nothing to do with the disposal of it. If only the vultures had stayed. I watched them in morbid fascination for a while. It was like watching a nature documentary right at the end of the driveway. But they honestly just made it worse.

Can’t say this is something I ever had to deal with in the suburbs. Sure, we had the odd dead bird in our yard now and then, but nothing like this.

It looks like we have some rain headed our way. I mentioned before that our yard tends to flood and then stays soggy for days afterward, but that issue isn’t as bad this time of year. We have a few squishy spots that take longer to dry up, but for the most part, the yard has dried up faster as the weather gets warmer. And at least I don’t have to water the gardens.

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