plagues!

08Jun10

Recently the fair Queen City of Burlington and its environs have been mildly beset and besieged by a pair of plagues and nonsense. The first is the dreaded castaways of the BLACK POPLAR gone to seed. There is fuzz everywhere. It swirls in the air. It is lovely and enchanting at first. But then! It sticks to dogs, it comes into your car, it gets up your nose. It drifts at the curbs on the street. At least half of us are kind of allergic to it. There was a big storm a week ago and when the winds rolled in, they whipped the fuzz in little gritty tornadoes down the street. This is the only photographic evidence I have.
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That storm was really cool! There was lightning for hours, but once the rain stopped, we watched a movie (The Fourth Kind, which I liked, and I don’t care) on the roof. Full moon!

The more serious siege came the day before a week ago yesterday. I woke up and was confused, as was everyone else in the northern tri-state area (and beyond). It was too late for fog, methought, and anyway, this fog smelled like smoke. Was the neighbor’s house on fire? Was I on fire? Tell me, Meteorologist Tom Messner (who is lucky enough to report from the depths of the Fairbanks Museum), what is on fire?!?

La forêt! Forest fires in Quebec! No big deal, just a little smoke! Don’t worry about Canada, it’s another country entirely.

That's not fog in them thar hills, it be smoke

The fires have finished, thankfully, and I failed to take any pictures, but I was at work and it was very dramatic. It made the Ticonderoga look like she was on the water again, in the fog. But it wasn’t fog. It was smoke. Smoke on the water! Like this:

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I didn’t post this before because it’s stupid without pictures. But it was a really neat event, aside from the burning forest reality, and the asthma attacks it caused. So let’s finish with one more little plague, that of the baby nasturtiums (my favorite plant) on the window sill.

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With friends Dill and Basil and my two headed monster begonia that I bought years ago at the Union Square farmer’s market.
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I hope someday they will grow up and flower. They’re the best plant! They’re on the cover of this that book, which I own, and love.

You can eat the whole plant too. During WWII, when pepper was scarce and rationed (think of that!),  it was very common and encouraged to use the greens as a replacement because they are spicy. Isn’t that great?

Let’s end this on a plaguey note. xo

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