The schoolkids around here are on break this week so Johnnie is off work as well. We had tried to find inexpensive flights to Ireland to return to the beautiful Irish cottage we've rented near Doolin in County Clare for our third visit. The prices just weren't in line with what we could spend so we opted to stay home. And in light of the Eyjafjallajokull* glacier/volcano eruption in Iceland and the ensuing flight problems in Great Britain and Europe, we likely wouldn't have been able to go anyway. We've chalked it up to everything happens for a reason.
*Isn't that a great word? Pronounced: EY-ya-fyat-lah-YOH-kuht
So John has gone with our friend Bridget, their Giant Schnauzer Stuka and me for walks this week. The first walk on Monday was one of our rather pedestrian walks on an old trolley car bed - flat and not very inspiring for about 3.1 miles. Yesterday we met at a local park in the afternoon and hiked to see a daffodil meadow. Much more interesting and still relatively flat with a few mounds to skirt around. Again, about 3 miles but lots of stopping and literally smelling the flowers.
Today we went to another trail, much steeper, lots of hills and decently marked areas for walking. We only logged about 2.9 miles but most of it was quite aerobic with long stretches climbing up and down the glacier-created fissures. John is nursing our forever cold this week so he was whipped by the time we finished.
Our weather has been so incredibly warm and dry (both things Rochester is not known for any time of the year but especially in the spring) that all the flowers and trees are two to three weeks ahead of their normal budding and blooming schedule. And as a big bonus, the mosquitoes have little standing water in which to hatch their hordes of biting progeny so it's an awesome time to get out and hike.
Anyway, all this is preamble to showing pictures of the delicate little flowers we found yesterday and today on our walks. We saw lots of trillium yesterday but very few today. Interestingly, the two parks are not more than a couple miles apart but today's trails are in a different elevation so we think that may have had something to do with the very different vegetation and the slower blooming advance on identical plants that we saw yesterday.
Jack in the Pulpit
I looked but couldn't find the name of the moth or butterfly - it was very small and glossy black. I did play with the enhancement settings and cropping on a few of these pictures to boost the colors. Bridget is great to have along on hikes because she studied forestry and loves plants so she knows the names of most everything we come across. I always learn a lot!
Then, when we were back at home, I took a picture of an extremely persistent tulip that is blooming in the dirt that should be grass in our back yard. Once the trees leaf out, the shade is so dense that grass just doesn't grow back there and the lawnmowers scrape what little grass does grows. One of my summer projects (after dismantling the compost heap) is finding some grass seed durable enough to survive in this area.