Friday, August 19, 2011

Stopping By The Road In The High Peaks Region

Another Sunday dawned and I got everything collected and packed into the car to drive up to the farm. The dogs somehow always know we're going and they certainly get all excited. The first hour and 45 minutes is spent on a limited access highway, so there are no rest stops for the dogs until we exit at Route 73 and head for the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks. Our favorite spot along the Ausable River had campers, so I continued on to the little field hidden in the forest where once a house had stood (I could tell by the lilacs and apples still growing there). The dogs piled out of the car with great enthusiasm:

And I immediately began noticing a tremendous abundance of wildflowers in bloom, beginning with this Spotted Knapweed, Centaurea maculosa. Some people find this an invasive, alien pain in the butt, but I think it's kind of pretty:

Also growing all over the field was this Cow Vetch, Vicia cracca, another alien yet common and attractive species:

And, being that time of year already in the Adirondacks, lots of Goldenrod. I can't even guess which species. There's just too many of them:

And then I looked up and saw, in the middle of the field, this amazing plant. It was as tall as me and covered with blue/purple orbs. It had deeply cut, ferny leaves. I'd never seen such a thing.Could it be something left behind by a UFO? I pushed my way through the field's growth to get closer:

I snapped a few photos of this magnificent, odd plant. I searched for it in my field guide to no avail. So I searched Google Images for "ball of blue flowers" and there it was: Globe Thistle, Echinops sp. I learned that it's hardy to zone 3 and grown as an ornamental plant. I will stop by in the autumn looking for seeds:

And then I paid attention to the dogs who were having their own adventure:

Several of them had trotted rather far ahead and I had to scramble to get them all back together again. I find that I have to keep a close eye on the two senior citizens, Wally and Winky. They tend to wander off on their own, and with their limited hearing and eyesight I fear they might get lost: But I got soon everyone back together again:

Little old Winky has always had a mind of his own, but he seems particularly independent these days. If I want him to hurry, I have two choices: 1.Cool my jets and wait for him, or 2.Pick him up and carry him. This time I just waited while Winky moved at his own speed:

The younger dogs can cover a lot of ground and do it repeatedly while Wally trots along getting from one place to another. His eyesight is so limited that he apparently navigates mostly by scent and sound. But as long as I keep on talking and saying his name, he keeps up with us:

And of course there were lots of Black-Eyed Susans, Rudbeckia hirta, in bloom:

I got the younger dogs all loaded up in the car, and then I called for Wally:

And for Winky. Like I said, Wally and Winky move at their own pace. Rest stop accomplished, we began driving up through the Adirondacks toward the farm. But I'll post more about that tomorrow:

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