June 14, 2008
I went to the farm today for an early morning hike - starting around 7:10 a.m.

I suppose it shouldn't be called an early morning hike as the sun now rises about 5:50 a.m. - a good time to be photographing due to the soft light.

However, 7:10 a.m. was the soonest that I wanted to get there - as sleep was my priority for the morning.

The first thing I did upon arrival was to change into a pair of waterproof shoes. I also put on gaiters to deflect all the moisture on the grass. Otherwise, I would have been walking around in wet - and heavy - blue jeans.

The grass was wet because of rain this June. This spell of rain will ensure good wildflower numbers for the rest of the summer. However, the numbers on this hike were minimal due to the severe drought and cool weather this spring. I believe that in about one or two weeks, the prairie is going to have a bonanza of wildflowers - because of the late arriving spring rains.

The wildflowers on today's hike made it seem like May due to the the varieties that were blooming - and again it was because of the severe drought and cool weather this spring.

One of my big surprises when hiking was the abundance in one area of a number of young prairie lily plants, including one about seven inches tall. I didn't move when I spotted that particular one, and then looked around, and counted about 4-5 more in that same vicinity. Fortunately, the rains came soon enough to result in good numbers of prairie lilies for late June/early July.

As I hiked, I came across a garter snake soaking in the rays of the early morning sun. Snakes are not my friend, but I do like to photograph them - and with caution. I took about 20 photographs of the snake, and if I got too close (close as in the snake's definition - not mine), it would strike at me.

I kept moving, and then photographed a number of mushrooms, including a pink one that I had never seen before (you can see it below).

I then changed locations and hiked in areas of three other pastures and hay fields. Again, the number of wildflowers was limited, and so I did more walking than photographing.

One of my stops was to look for gumbo lily plants. I did find about three, and so there should be opportunities for photographs, depending on my frequency back to the location.

I then crossed a coulee, and was surprised to see a wild blue flax plant. To me, this is a sign that we're nearing July and the wildflowers of mid-summer. I did locate a number of wild blue flax plants.

My final stop was to check a site for spiderwort, large beardtongue and cactus plants in one area. I noted some spiderwort plants in early maturity, but few large beardtongue plants (which will flower sometime next week). I also noticed a number of cactus plants that will probably bloom in the next week, but capturing them on a photograph will be difficult as I might not hike until the weekend (cactus flowers are typically open for about one day only before disappearing - and so opportunities are limited).

The day, when I ended my hike (about 11:15 p.m.), was already warm and humid, and severe weather was predicted for mid-afternoon to early evening.

It feels like summer - and a good time to go home and take a nap.

Until next time ...

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