Photo of the Week – March 28, 2019

I photographed flowers this week! Ok, they were just flowers on the little speedwell plant (Veronica polita) that grows as a weed in our yard, but still. Flowers! My photography brain muscles were starting to atrophy and it was great to flex them a little.

Those flowers were a nice sign of spring. I’ve never understood why people point to the arrival of robins as a indication of spring since there are migratory flocks here during most of the winter, but it’s hard to argue with blooming flowers as a harbinger of seasonal change. It’ll be a while before most prairie flowers start to bloom, but the tiny blue blossoms in our garden are a great step in the right direction.

The other significant sign of spring in our yard this week was the big ol’ Woodhouse’s toad Kim spotted as she was cleaning up the landscaping around the edge of our house. The toad must have just recently emerged from its winter burrow because it still had dirt on top of its head. I was so excited to have a small animal to photograph that I took (no exaggeration) 270 photos of the toad as it sat cold and motionless in our yard. As a favor to you, I’ve winnowed that batch of photos down to the five that I’m including here. She’s just so pretty…

In this photo, you can see the nictitating membrane (a kind of transparent third eyelid) toads can use to protect their eyes from hazards.

Cooler temperatures, and maybe even a little snow this weekend, will set us back a little, but spring is still coming… In addition to the flowers and toad, Kim also heard chorus frogs calling this week. Oh, and of course, the Platte River is full of migratory sandhill cranes – here for their annual spring staging event. Before we know it, prairies will be greening up and we’ll start to see and hear all kinds of activity again. Just…another…few…weeks…?

Photo of the Week – February 8, 2019

It’s cold outside. Not just cold – blustery cold. The kind of blustery cold that takes your breath away unless you turn your face out of the wind. It’s the time of year when people ask themselves why they live in places that get this cold. That’s never been something I’ve fretted about. Seasons feel right to me. I appreciate spring because it follows winter. Winter is also a time to slow down and get things done that are too easily put off during the rest of the year. When going outside is a pleasant option why would you install the new toilet or sort through the overflowing drawer of miscellany in the dining room?

On the other hand, late winter is certainly a time when I start to feel flower withdrawal. It’s not a major affliction, but a real one. Looking at spring flower photos from previous years sometimes helps me, so in case the same applies to you, here are a few spring flower photos from recent years. These are the friends I’m looking forward to seeing in about two months. In the meantime (Brr) I have a drawer to see about…

Wild plum (Prunus americana)
Carolina anemone (Anemone caroliniana).
Ground plum, aka buffalo pea (Astragalus crassicarpus)
Sun sedge (Carex heliophila)
Pussy toes (Antennaria neglecta)
Pasque flower (Anemone patens)