August, on the edge of September, is the beginning of the time of harvest. At least that's how it is here in the upper Midwest. Around here, home gardens and local markets have been filling up with produce. The bounty of another summer season has begun, which leads into autumn, my favorite season.
So, welcome to the August 2011 edition of Berry Go Round. It was a real pleasure to be asked to host this blog carnival, and I hope you enjoy this early harvest of botany and plant related blog posts. We have a wide variety of topics, but first I want to give a shout out to PatternMart.com for the following image of an "early harvest" :
We'll start with the theme of art. Christine Kane is an artist living and working in Illinois, and I dare say that she gets the very best out of local natural scene. (Not easy in a metro area with millions of people!). Her blog is Let's Paint Nature and for us Christine has offered a lovely sketch of a Black Walnut - as well as her musings on a potential harvest of said nuts. Good luck with that harvest Chris and go easy on the squirrels!
The artistry continues with the work of Colorado landscape architect (and fellow hedgerow fancier) Nancy Eastman. Her firm, Art of the Land, recently collaborated on a green roof where the harvest will be measured in energy savings and reduced water runoff. These types of innovative ideas are becoming the norm - finally.
Now, if we can only build those post-modern hedgerows......hmmmm!
Our harvest continues with The Scientist Gardener who gives us a fine history lesson in agriculture in the post Putting up Hay. Who among us hasn't wondered about those long windrows of cut vegetation and plastic covered bales that populate the pastures? His fine essay connects modern times with our farming past, and I was especially interested to read about how hay stacks were so functional even as they were consumed by farm animals.
Oh yeah, this is probably a good time to remind you readers of the gleaning work of the Society of St. Andrews. If you're able, donate early and often....Waste not, want not as my parents used to say!
And oh yeah (again!) often times when I read about the agricultural past I'm reminded of the work of The Land Institute (you've heard of them I'll bet) and their efforts to merge the benefits of food grains with perennial native grasses. This is revolutionary work that will help feed the world of tomorrow.
Sigh. Well, if there are heroes (like those folks above) there must be villains, right? Well, who among hasn't just loathed the Japanese Beetle? Note: I personally in 2011 have squashed hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of them. Well, a nice round of applause for uber-blogger Bug Girl, who will enlighten us on the relative worthlessness of those yellow beetle traps. And she will do so with great humor and wit. (It's in her contract)
The early harvest of insect and plant related mystery and wonder continues at Gravity's Rainbow, where sarcozona shares with us the mystery of inquilines - I'm pretty sure that Japanese Beetles do not qualify for inquiline status!
As I think about the word harvest and the wide variety of topics touched on in this issue of Berry Go Round I want to conclude with a success story out of Detroit, Michigan: growtown.org. (I have blogged previously about their work here) When I see projects like this get started it gives me hope about the future of people, nature and cities.
It may not be this way for everyone, but my affection for the natural world has tended to build off of other things. I'm now in my early 50's and I can look back over my stages of learning as if they were chapters in a book. It may not seem immediately obvious but my interest in prairies, birds, hedgerows, astronomy, trees, insects, and so on all relate backwards to when I was a kid fooling around in my parents garden and back yard.
I love the work I do, and I know I am fortunate to be able to say that. These are exciting and important times for anyone interested in plants and nature. There are many, many problems that need attention, that need advocates. That need you. One could even say there is a virtual harvest that could be gleaned through!
The internet can provide information and inspiration. Berry Go Round is one such source of inspiration, so stay tuned: the September 2011 edition will be hosted by A DC Birding Blog.