September 27, 2021
David and I drove to Madison, Wisconsin, last week to visit my daughter, her wife, and their friends. We spent a fair amount of time outdoors (when we weren’t playing Rummikub indoors).
1 Two of the friends live on land surrounded by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum. They have enhanced their property in many ways, including by planting this Japanese maple.
2 We arrived there just as the sun began sinking.
3 The Buddha seems content on their land.
4 One day we drove to the driftless area.
5 Another day we visited some U–W-owned land being developed into a proper prairie. This view is looking from the prairie to the surrounding countryside.
6 The path we followed was lined with Big Bluestem grass (Andropogon gerardiiI).
7 But other grasses were present, including this unidentified kind.
8 And these.
9 The variety of prairie plant life was remarkable.
11 Notice all the white objects in the previous photograph? This is what one looks like up close. They are seed heads of something that is not a Goldenrod, says David. But even he didn’t know what they were.
12 The prairie is on the fringes of Wisconsin’s driftless area, known for rock outcroppings . . .
13 . . . and caves.
14 Not far away is farmland owned by a cousin of another of my daughter’s friends.
15 Grazing dairy cows still conjure peaceful feelings in many of us.
16 With climate change—as Alexander Kunz reminds us in a recent blog post—those feelings may alter.
17 Rolling fields of corn—a sign for me that I have reached Wisconsin—once made me think of succulent corn on the cob. Now I know that most corn grown in the US goes to feed beef cattle. Do read Alex’s thoughtful post.