February 15th pictures: don’t you want to move to the nation’s breadbasket?

Today I went for a little walk on a dirt road not far from our house. But first I went around the yard to investigate something I noticed from the kitchen window.

All of these icicles were on our septic tank. So there you have it, folks, there’s beauty everywhere.






Some kind of shelf fungus, possibly Stereum ostrea or false turkey tail fungus.


I've never seen a leaf this big in our woods. It kind of has a cottonwood shape, but I can't say for sure what it is.


I wonder if that tree is naturally "nubby" or if it's being induced by something else?


This is one of the pines in our front yard. It is riddled with rows upon rows of holes. At first I wondered if it was larval exit holes or holes from birds feeding on them, but according to the Missouri Botanical Garden website, you can distinguish between the two by the regularity. Apparently only the birds leave holes in rows like this. The probable culprit: yellow-bellied sap sucker (a woodpecker).


Is there anything more heartwarming than conifers and deciduous trees living in harmony?


Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)


Here's where winter starts getting a little old. Soggy brown grass and dirtying snow.



A field on the other side of my neighbor's house.


Curly dock (Rumex crispus)


With its yellow fruit, this little guy jumped out at me on my walk (NOT LITERALLY, shocking, I know), but I was nowhere close to figuring out what it was. Luckily my mom said, hey, is that poison ivy? By gum, I think it is.


I've never actually knowingly run into poison ivy before. What I learned today: in looking up poison ivy, I most often saw it listed as Toxicodendron radicans, but some sources (Wikipedia) listed Rhus radicans as a synonym. I really don't know what "synonym" is supposed to mean in this context -- either it's Rhus or it's been assigned a new genus, which is what I'm assuming happened. In any case, sumac and poison ivy are in the same family, Anacardiaceae (the level of classification above a genus, which is above a species). OK, I'm trying to say that they're related.


Possibly ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) — difficult to say, as Minnesota is just outside of its range according to the USDA website, but those aren’t necessarily definitive. The needles are longer and the cones look different from other pines that are native to Minnesota.



I spend 70% of my time in ditches these days.


A windrow along one of the houses on the dirt road. These are some of the tallest trees in the area.



There will be peace in the valley, yo.






The end of the road, buster.



18 thoughts on “February 15th pictures: don’t you want to move to the nation’s breadbasket?

    • Thank you! It was a nice treat, because all day the sky was uniformly grey and overcast. I thought it was cool to see both the bright blue as well as a little bit of sunset colors at the same time!

    • Fun, isn’t it? I was excited to learn that that’s probably what it was for that reason alone. Yellow bellied sap sucker. I’ll probably be telling more people about this than really need to know.

  1. So, is the fuzzy pale yellow banded thing a fungus of some kind? I’ve not seen anything like it before.

    A mushroom? An alien life forms that turns nails dark?

    (p.s. I still can’t kit “like” . . . it asks for my WordPress login and password even though I’m already logged in, and then ignores it . . . perhaps my reputation precedes me)

    • Yup, I’m guessing it’s a shelf fungus. (So named because it hangs out…like a shelf! The fruiting body you see there is also called a conk). There’s a bunch of these within the phylum Basidiomycota, the same phylum that gave us mushrooms and yeast (among many other things). We have a number of different shelf fungi growing down in our woods, with varying colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. I’m such a sucker for them. I take a picture (or five) every time I see one.

      Your “like”s ain’t no good in this town.

  2. I love the big leaf…no idea what it is. We have 100-yr-old burr oak out back by our creek that we sit under and enjoy every day. It’s leaves are 12-14 inches long and acorns the size of a golf ball. I love that tree except in the fall when I have mow over all that leaf litter…

    • Thanks! And wow on the bur oak! I’m sure we probably have some of those around here but I haven’t seen any that I recall, at least not with leaves quite that big. And some trees really produce an incredible amount of leaf litter (and seeds and twigs and whatever else they can think to rain down on us).

      • And to think that we (not me) ruin that cycle of nutrient transfer by raking them all up, putting them in a bag, and sending them off to a landfill. It really is a chore to mow ’em all, but the trees reward me for my work.

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