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In These Otsego Hills

September 19, 2013

Some of the best wildflower sightings


“I love wildflowers,” she said, “I just wish they would stop all that roadside mowing they do. Now I don’t have as many flowers to see.”

Given that roadsides are among the best wildflower gardens nature provides, the incessant mowing that takes place throughout the summer has always struck me as both unnecessary and aesthetically indefensible. Having driven hundreds of miles of narrow country roads in England and Ireland, banked on either side by impenetrable tangles of often lush and lovely vegetation, I see no reason for wasting time and fuel as we do in this country. The availability of cheap fossil fuels here is all too often the tail that wags the dog. There are far too many dogs out of touch with their tails. All along Route 2 in North Dakota, roadsides are protected wetlands. Our wildflowers deserve equal protection. Many people do not have the time or are physically unable to hike the deep woods where wonderful flora of all kinds abound. It would be nice if my neighbor, who used to walk three miles a day, could saunter down her road from time to time to be inspirited by the flowers she loves.

Among the gorgeous blues, yellows, whites, lavenders and pinks, the stately chicory always stands out. Poet Margaret Deland, who describes it as a “peasant posy,’ writes this about it in a poem: “In upland pastures dim and sweet-/But by the dusty road/Where tired feet/Toil to and fro.”

My own tired feet have been enlivened by its presence on many walks. There are few tableaus lovelier than a chicory stalk or two rising up out of a tangle of red clover, crown and cow vetch, sow thistle and Queen Anne’s lace, herself one of nature’s grand creations. Its beauty aside, which is the only way I have ever tasted it, chicory has often been used as a coffee substitute and, according to one source, during several wars was often mixed with coffee to keep the price down. Of the many names admirers here and in Europe have assigned chicory, my favorite is ‘blue daisy.” Ironically, Yeats reminds us that a thing of beauty is a joy forever while at the same time often standing in for carrots and offering itself up as an herbal remedy for jaundice, spleen issues and constipation. Something so beautiful need not be useless. The marriage of beauty and utility is a tough combination to beat!

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In These Otsego Hills
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    July 24, 2014

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    July 17, 2014

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    July 10, 2014

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    July 3, 2014

  • Summer unofficially begins with ice cream Although summer officially arrived this past weekend, we have long thought that the kick off event for the summer season in Cooperstown is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street.

    June 26, 2014

  • Splitting logs gives splitting headache We are happy to report that Woodside Hall is continuing with its presentation of programs which are open to the public. This evening at 6:30 p.m., they are hosting Glimmerglass Festival designers Troy Hourie and Erik Teague who will discuss their role in the company's summer production of Strauss' opera, "Ariadne in Naxos: Unplugged."

    June 19, 2014

  • Summer right for driving in the streets We have realized, having consulted our trusty calendar, that next Sunday is Father's Day. And thus this past weekend we were online looking for an appropriate printable Father's Day greeting card which we might send to the wee-we. Since we have been somewhat housebound this year, we have discovered the convenience of printable holiday cards. We used them rather successfully, we thought, when we sent them to the granddaughters for both Valentine's Day and Easter.

    June 12, 2014

  • June musings XXXXXXXX Difficult as it is to believe, it seems we have made it to June which always seems to be a fairly busy month. And this year is no different. In fact when we turned to our calendar to June we were stunned. We always hope to find we are entering a month in which we have little, if anything, planned. But when we turned to June, we quickly realized we were faced immediately with three meeting as well as four follow-up appointments with four different doctors at Bassett. And much as we would have liked to simply move right on to July, we decided that was really not an option. So we are plowing ahead with June.

    June 5, 2014

  • Presidential reading replaces viewing ince we knew we were not in a position to take in any of the festivities surrounding the president's recent visit to the Hall of Fame, we decided we needed to celebrate in another way. And, as luck would have it, we are currently reading the recently released biography, "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered." What better way, we thought, to mark the current president's visit by reading about a former president's life. It seemed perfect. Besides, it gave us a reason to spend the day with our nose in a book.

    May 29, 2014

  • Best not to push luck on spring This week we note that the Literary Discussion Group meeting, originally scheduled for today, May 22, has been postponed until Thursday, May 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Village of Cooperstown Library. William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" will be the topic of discussion at the rescheduled meeting.

    May 22, 2014