Friday, August 6, 2010

Quit grousing, summer's not over yet!

So off I went on walk day. Cloudy, threatening rain. The first thing I saw -- indeed, right in the driveway -- was the famous Alaska spruce grouse.
These birds are none too smart. If you are patient, you can get within a meter or less of them. They must know my driveway is safe. There was a whole family:
Eventually their defensive instincts, such as they are, came to the fore and they buzzed off. But I usually see them in fall, although they are there year-round. Hmmm. Could fall be coming early? A weighty question. We must consult the Alaska Oracle. So on the same walk, we did a Fireweed poll. Fireweed is not bad, because the leaves from young plants make a good salad ingredient. However, what we are after is the flower. Here is an exemplar:
You will observe that the flower is only halfway up the thing. Traditionally, when it gets to the top, summer's over. One flower does not make a good poll, so we consulted as many fireweeds as we could on our walk. Very nearly unanimous: don't fret, still some ways to go! I am relieved. I have enough undone chores without coping with frosts and snow.

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