Watching Chickadees

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

I’ve been watching the chickadees this week.  Unlike the songbirds that will soon migrate south, the black-capped chickadees stay with us all year.  They show up each morning, in groups of 6 or 8, ready to snatch sunflower seeds.

Rarely do two chickadees visit the bird feeder at the same time.  One by one, these energetic birds take turns flying to the feeder and quickly grabbing a seed.  Then they perch in a nearby tree and pound the sunflower seed to remove the husk.

Chickadees are friendly birds and can be convinced to take a seed from a human hand.  Once I heard a tapping on the window and I found a chickadee sitting in the sill.  The bird wanted me to know that the bird feeder was empty.

Amur Maple Seeds

Amur maple

Amur maple

It’s still too early for the leaves on this amur maple to turn bright red.  The amur maple, native to Asia, grows in Minnesota as a shrub or small tree and is known for its bright red fall color.

Amur maple seeds

Amur maple seeds

A closer look reveals that the amur maple seeds have changed from green to pink and purple.

Amur maple seeds

Amur maple seeds

This amur maple is located along a nature trail and many people walk past it every day.  I think that most of them do not realize that these beautiful seeds are waiting to be discovered.

Back to School

School

School

It’s that time of year when teachers and students are getting ready to go back to school.  I always liked going back to school to see my friends and to learn new things.  I had many good teachers.  Without a doubt, my favorite teacher was “Mrs. M.” who taught high school math classes.

Mrs. M. was passionate about mathematics and her enthusiasm was contagious.  She was a strong believer in “hands-on” learning.  I was lucky to have her for my teacher.

On a regular basis, Mrs. M. entered class carrying a big box of supplies that she had borrowed from the art department.  On those days, we cut out paper triangles and drew perfect circles to supplement our lessons.  One day, we learned how to make a Mobius strip.  This is important to me today because I am a knitter and it is a lot of fun to make a Mobius strip cowl.

Do you have a favorite teacher?  Did you learn something interesting in school that you still enjoy today?

Sky Blue Aster

Sky Blue Aster

Sky Blue Aster

Sky blue asters, also known as azure asters, are native to Minnesota.  These beautiful wildflowers are found in dry areas, in shade or partial shade, in fields or the edge of the forest.

As shown in the photo, the yellow center turns reddish with age.  These late summer flowers will continue to bloom until the first frost ends their season.