Friday, March 8, 2013

Plant of the Week: Gumweed

Grindelia squarrosa (Pursh) Dunal.
Other common names: curly cup, rosinweed, sticky heads, tar weed
Grindelia: in honor of David Hieronymus Grindel, a Russian botanist at the beginning of the 19th century
Squarrosa: from the botanical term squarrose, meaning “having stiff spreading bracts,” in reference to the many bracts surrounding the base of each flower
Daisy family: Asteraceae (Compositae)

Photograph by Thomas Rosburg, Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie: The Upper Midwest, Second Edition

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Excerpt from Esther's Town

A fireplace provided the heat and was the stove to bake bread and prepare the meals. No family intentionally allowed the fire to go out, even in the heat of summer, when a bed of coals was kept outdoors for use when needed for cooking. There were no matches. A trestle-like table and a cupboard supported on one wall were provinces of the housewife. On another wall a rifle, bullet pouch, and a powder horn hung from pegs. The luxury of kerosene lamps was to come later and electric light much later yet. A shallow dish of lard or other grease with a loosely twisted cotton rag in it for a wick provided illumination of a sort. More sophisticated and somewhat scarce were candles fashioned from a mold that was shared by the settlement--an improvement upon dishes of grease. But often an open fireplace provided the family's only lighting on winter evenings.

Deemer Lee, Esther's Town.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Midwest Nature Quote of the Week

We spent our tallgrass prairie with a prodigal hand, and it probably had to be that way, for these are the richest farm soils in the world. There were certain wilderness things that were fated to be spent almost to the vanishing point: bison in shortgrass plains, lobos and grizzlies in settled cattle country—and the vistas of true prairie.

But spending is one thing; bankruptcy is another.

John Madson, Out Home.