After the snowstorm

South Street Bridge over Charles River, NeedhamWe had a snowstorm that took out power in our neighborhood, so suddenly we had to quit working and also couldn’t do all our various other projects that require computer-staring. So we hunkered down, made a fire, (cheated by going out for dinner)…. but after the storm was over, the sun came out for an orange sunset on the sticky snow. We drove to the South Street bridge and it was so gorgeous…

Charles River, Dover, Massachusetts, aftermath of blizzardsunset after blizzard in NeedhamThen the heat came back on during the night (yay!) and at dawn, we immediately went out to look for beautiful photographs. The sun comes over the ridge and touches the treetops first…

Dawn breaks over Charles River after a blizzardCharles River in Dover after a blizzardCharles River with glow from morning light, frozenSnowy day on the Charles River, Dover CharlesRiver-ripples-WThis last scene had a glassy surface, but my boot slipped into the river and made this rad ripple! A day of stunning sights. These are all of the Charles River as it divides Needham and Dover, MA… and all within five minutes of our house, which is so GREAT! And now, grateful for heat, light, and a way to upload my photos! Time to make some hot chocolate.

And if you’re wondering about the wildflower report: yes, skunk cabbage is up, blackened tops showing through the snow in some places, and plump and green in the swampy spring at Ridge Hill.

Ovate-leaved Violet

This is a glory time for wildflower watching. Noanet Woodlands is peppered with blossoms. Plus I just found a wildflower I’ve never seen before, in the years I’ve been paying attention: a woolly sort of violet. (very exciting!)

Ovate-leaved-violetwThe leaves are a different shape and the whole plant has a downy surface. I’m surprised to see it’s rated “common”! Generally found in dry, open spaces (but I found this plant in the woods). Native.

Ovate-leaved Violet (V. fimbriatula)

Bonus pictures: Lucy making short work of the horse jumps at Noanet Woodlands. I especially like the second one, where she appears poised for takeoff.

Lucy-leap1 LucyLeap3 LucyLeap4

Winter Share from Powisett Farm

PowisettWinterShareThis year we were members of the Powisett Farm CSA and we loved it. When the season was over we signed up for winter shares, which was about 4 pickups in November and December. People would ask what could we be getting in mid-December?! This was the last share: squash and beets, carrots and sweet potatoes, parsnips and garlic, potatoes and kale, turnips and radishes, kohlrabi and celeriac, cabbage and onions and hot peppers! Love that place!

Yellow Star Grass

Yellow StargrassI was going to a conservation area in Dover that I hadn’t visited in a long time, accidentally took the wrong road and happened across a small wood I hadn’t been to, which had this beautiful little flower. This is the first time I’ve seen it and in fact I thought maybe it was some kind of escaped domestic; it’s reminiscent of squill. But it’s wild! Native. Lily family. (Photo taken June 3, 2013.)

Yellow Star Grass, Common Goldstar (Hypoxis hirsuta)

Snow blanket on the purple loosestrife

Blizz2013river_tonemappedloosestrifemallow1Alert Flowerophile Sybil inquired about when I would start posting again. I’m thinking it will be awhile before we see any wildflowers… but here’s a comparison view: a bend in the Charles River, Dover MA at sunset after our most recent giant blizzard (Feb. 9, 2013) and how it looked back on Aug. 6, 2012.

Bonus picture: deer out foraging on that same evening, after about a day and a half when all creatures just had to hunker down and wait for the weather to ease up.



At the Dover Farm, I was wading out into the field to pick some cherry tomatoes, and noticed this plant with distinctive arrow-shaped leaves. It’s Buckwheat! Cultivated as a crop, but this one is an escapee. Buckwheat has been grown as a crop in the U.S. since colonial times for livestock feed and for flour. Also a honey crop (used to supply nectar for bees) and a smother crop (a quick germinator that creates a dense leaf canopy to smother weeds).

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum sagittatum)

Bonus picture to contrast with the farm: we were just in Manhattan. Drive-by shot of a grocery store in the Washington Heights neighborhood that is open to the sidewalk. It’s the sort of colorful outdoor display where you expect produce… but it’s all cans.

Nodding Smartweed

Similar to Lady’s Thumb but a more extravagant outsized version. 1 to 6 feet tall. A big patch of them at the Dover Farm. Buckwheat family. Can be pink, white or purple.

Nodding Smartweed, Pale Smartweed, Dock-leaved Smartweed (Polygonum lapathifolium)

Pink Knotweed

There is a little weed charmingly called Lady’s Thumb, which is very common and looks a lot like this. It took me a while to notice that all these varieties of smartweeds and knotweeds are NOT Lady’s Thumb. There are about 35 varieties in this area. This one is a paler pink. Also, Lady’s Thumb has a dark smudge on the leaves. Buckwheat family. Native.

Pink Knotweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum)

Charles River at loosestrife time

This is the season when the nasty invasive Purple Loosestrife is on such beautiful display along the marshy river banks. I took these on a quiet Saturday morning and it was about as lovely a sight as you could ever see. (With mallow and water lilies.)

Bonus picture: waiting patiently on the other side of the road…