June 1978


MILKWEEDS are blooming. Mike says he’s seen BLACK-EYED SUSAN flowers near the steep bank down to the back orchard.

Possible titles for my first book: Take Another Look, Take a Better Look, Outlook on Nature, Natural Outlook, Another Look at Nature, Nature: Another Look, Look Again at Nature. None of these feels right. All I know is that NATURE needs to be in the title.

Comparison/Contrast of a DAISY and a BLACK-EYED SUSAN: The daisy has 3-6 flower stalks (or stems?) growing out of one root, while the black-eyed Susan has 5. The daisy’s stems are smoother, smaller, more flexible than the black-eyed Susan’s, which are hairy, bigger, and more brittle. The daisy’s leaves are alternate, small, deeply lobed (lacy looking). The black-eyed Susan’s leaves are also alternate, but they’re long and slender, entire, fuzzy, with lengthwise veins. The daisy’s flowerhead is small with toothed white ray flowers and a flat yellow disk with a depression at the center. The black-eyed Susan’s flowerhead is bigger with longer yellow ray flowers that come to a point. The purple-brown disk is raised like a cone. The daisy’s bracts are small and tight while the black-eyed Susan’s are long, fuzzy, and loose. The daisy has more ray flowers (range of 21 to 32 among the seven I counted), and they seem closer together, kind of overlapping. The two black-eyed Susans I counted had only 14-16 ray flowers, and they were longer and looser. Finally, when I pulled out some ray flowers, the pistil (ovary) at the bottom of a daisy ray is quite evident, while the black-eyed Susan’s pistil is less evident.

Roadside flowers are coloring up. Right now the following are in bloom: BUTTERCUPS, RED CLOVER, PURPLE FLOWERING RASPBERRY, DAISIES, VETCH (BOTH PURPLE AND CROWN), CHICORY, and BIRDSFOOT TREFOIL. Bob told me that RED PINE is a native Vermont tree. Today Bob and I went canoeing at Sym’s Pond with Charles, Tom, and Ginny. Charles wanted to check the plants at Sym’s for bog plants. There were lots of them, including BOG LAUREL?, SHEEP LAUREL (probably), ROSE POGONIA (an orchid), SWEET GALE, CALAPOGON (GRASS PINK), SUNDEW, CRANBERRY, LEATHERLEAF, SWAMP ROSE, ROYAL FERN, SPATTERDOCK (you can pop its seeds like popcorn), ROBIN’S RAGWORT, MARSH CINQUEFOIL, and BLUE FLAG. We saw and heard an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, which sings “Hick, three beers.” We also saw a CLIFF SWALLOW.

Today I found out that the COYOTE Ralph shot was in his pasture and he didn’t want him bothering his cows and calves. Bob’s assistant, Mike, spent most of Wednesday afternoon skinning it. He and Bob have been working on it ever since. Taxidermy is grim work. I don’t have the stomach for it.

My neighbor, Ralph, shot a 40-pound male COYOTE today.

10:00 a.m.: Saw three FOX PUPS (and a parent disappearing into the woods) playing on my road just below the Audubon Nature Center. It was broad daylight. They seemed curious about my car (I had stopped and turned off the engine) and totally unafraid. They were the size of small dogs or puppies and had big ears.

Birds of a Dirt Road (those I heard singing between my house and the Audubon Nature Center when I took a walk today):

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, VEERY, OVENBIRD, PHOEBE, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, YELLOW WARBLER, CHICKADEE, RED-EYED VIREO, CUCKOO

THIS EVENING: After living with my cat, Hussy, for six years I have just discovered that she likes to take evening walks with me. Both last night and tonight she has followed me on relatively long walks. It’s interesting having her along. For instance, right now I am sitting on the back porch at the Audubon Nature Center, and the resident RED SQUIRREL is scolding her.

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