So VDOT got a late start on this project, supposed to have begun last Monday. (And work will NOT be finished until at least July 22 or 23.) The foreman realized how bad things really were, and instead of the single pipe with a 4 inch concrete cap, he decided this replacement needed two pipes and an 8 inch cap. You can see they’ve dammed the creek upstream and are sending the water via a large-diameter flexible hose–like a firehose–back into the creek bed …

An Even Slower Road Home Read more »

We rounded the bend on Griffith Creek last week to find a hundred yards of creekside lined thickly with a flat-topped pink-flowered shrub I recognized as Spirea, a member of the rose family. But the members of the genus I was familiar with are knee-high wildflowers, not shrubs. And seeing the extent of this population, I suspected it was spreading without threat of disease or predators, because it was “not from these parts.” I sometimes wish I did not notice the invasives that are …

What Native Plants? Read more »

I’d never seen a horntail wasp until I saw this one last week, but knew at a glance what it was. Note the horn on the tail, just above its rather short, stout ovipositor. It is NOT a stinger. And so now, I have familiarity with both the predator and the prey. How they interact is truly amazing, and a story I had known about for decades. This short video below shows excellent details of the Ichneumonid’s remarkable way of getting its egg onto …

(extra)Ordinary Nearby Nature Read more »

It seemed simple enough. On the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way back from an oil change yesterday, and in no particular hurry. I pulled off to the shoulder of the road and grabbed my camera (which you can also use as a phone! Really!) and walked back a hundred yards to a nicely-lit display of surrealistically-orange Butterfly milkweed. I grabbed a couple of shots and brought them home. But as so often happens, looking and thinking back to this ordinary moment with this …

Pollinia: How Milkweeds Do It Read more »

One of my favorite features on the trip to town along 221 this time of year is the wildflower assortment, the “unplanted garden” in which yellow is disproportionately well represented. Much less familiar than the yellow-rayed Black Eyed Susans or the soon-to-come goldenrod y is this yellow (or lady’s) bedstraw.  The flowers can only be seen individually if you stop your car (near Ray’s Rest for instance) and look carefully. The leaves remind me of the thready foliage of dill. About this plant, Wikipedia …

Spontaneous Flora of Floyd Read more »