Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Wonderland Burlesque's Flora and Fauna Quiz

Wonderland Burlesque's 
Flora and Fauna Quiz

I can't believe we are standing on the doorstep to August already. It seems just yesterday that I was pining away for a bit of heat, yearning to get outside.

And speaking of outside... let's talk about one of the true pleasures of the warmer weather... the flora and the fauna. I realize that not everyone has access to something like my beloved prairie or a wooded area, but a walk in the park can suffice. Or? Talk about your indoor plants and four-legged friends.

Today's quiz is all about what kind of plants and animals make your heart soar.

Okay, grab your plant and bird identification books, some water, a cap and get your hiking boots on! (Trust me, that's all you're gonna need! Follow the lead of the fellas pictured throughout this post.) Let's put our best foot forward and get started down this path!

"You belong somewhere you feel free..."

--- ---

1/ If you can, where do you go to get your outdoor 'fix?'

As you know, my favorite place in all the world is my beloved prairie in Golden Valley, MN. It's really not that large, but, for being in the heart of a metropolitan area, it has all the beauty of any other prairie. And it's convenient - for me, a five minute drive. Free parking, too. It's a bit of a walk to get to, but so worth it (and I could always use the steps.)  

The prairie is part of a series of parks in that area, commonly known as Wirth Parkway. Green spaces are very important to the citizens of the Twin Cities and we're lucky that city government recognizes that and funds them. There's also a lovely sand beach with volley ball  courts, a fishing dock area, a natural bog, a beautiful vintage pavilion that sits on a hilltop, the nude beach, two golf courses, a nature center with a restaurant and a wildflower garden/nature center.

Sadly, the open areas and even the bog, have been carved up with mountain bike trails and the winter activities continue to encroach, but hopefully it will remain just as beautiful for the duration of my time here.  

Frankly, for me? It used to be all about cruising. But more and more, I can do without that. I mean, yes, that's entertaining as well, but I seem to be enjoying observing what I can of nature these days. 

I enjoy the silence. I enjoy the sun. I enjoy the air. 

2/ What's your favorite flower and why?

In a garden it's a marigold. I know, dull, but I love their smell - a bit bitter, and I love that you can harvest the seeds yourself. They're also very hardy. 

At the prairie? I love yarrow. This year, at the prairie, their diameter seems larger than usual. I also love the common spotted orchid. I don't understand the name or why they are part of the orchid family, but I adore their shape and color. 

Actually, there isn't a flowering plant that I am not grateful to see. The yellows, lavenders and pinks. The occasional red... it makes for a pretty sea of color. 

3/ What's your favorite non-flowering plant?

I adore grass. 

This year there is a huge bush of prairie dropseed. It makes me so happy every time I walk past it. It reminds me of Barbara Streisand's hair in A Star Is Born... (I know, I know - I am obsessed.) It's so airy and light and fragile looking. Perfect shape.

I also love to see red flame grass - those tassels are so impressive. And blue oat grass is a special treat because of the shape it grows in. 

It's a bit weird being fixated on something like this... but I do love seeing them. 

I keep thinking I should try to cultivate some in The Boyfriend's yard. But I have no idea how. When I see it as part of other people's landscaping, I find it very impressive. I should look into it.
4/ Do you have seasonal allergies? What kind?

I do. And they are terrible. I wake up some mornings with a head full of snot or something clogged behind my eyes which causes terrible sinus issues. 

For some reason, this year has not been that bad. Two years ago was terrible. I had so many sinus infections that I just stopped treating them. I'd wait until I'd get 'raccoon' face before going in for anti-biotics. 

I won't bother going in and getting tested. Why? Because I'm not going to take anything for it. I don't like medication, period. They only cause other symptoms which you then take another medication to counteract. It's a terrible way to manage your health and the only ones benefitting are the pharmaceutical companies. 

And it's not like I'm going to avoid the things I'm allergic to. A stuffed up face or a bit of a headache? A small price to pay to enjoy the visual bounties of nature. 

5/ Do you have a favorite tree? Which? Why?

I have so many. 

My go to is the oak. It is, indeed, mighty. And the leaves? A lovely shape.

But I also love maples - they rule the autumn. Such brilliant colors. And a lovely shape to their leaves. 

My most recent love is the catalpa tree. I don't like their seed pods, but the leaves are huge and gorgeous and the trunks grow in such an interesting fashion.  

I love all the flowering/fruit trees. Apple, crabapple, redbud and dogwoods. Hawthorn, ornamental pear... all beautiful.  Crape myrtles! Magnolias, of course.

One of my favorite prairie 'flowers' is actually a tree (or bush) called the vitrex or chaste tree. 

(How very unlike me. Chaste? Ha! Never have I ever!)

6/ What insects do you enjoy watching?

The bumbles. Bees of all kinds fascinate me. They are such hard workers. So determined. Busy as... indeed! Some of them are so fat and furry. 

I also like watching monarchs and other butterflies and moths. But the monarchs make my heart soar. It's cool how they extract nectar from flowers. And they don't seem to mind me watching. 

Also, they are so carefree. 

Flitting? Very underrated. 

7/ Do spiders scare you?

No. I mean, maybe initially... they are rather gruesome looking, some of them. But they fascinate me. How they manage to live? All that work putting up webs. 

And they come in such a variety of shapes and sizes. 

I like them all. But my favorites will always be the cellar spiders. Those long legs. So spindly. How do they manage?

It can't be an easy life.

8/ Creatures of the outdoor four-legged variety... which do you see on a regular basis and which is your favorite? Why?

At the prairie: deer, racoons, red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, red foxes.

We used to have wood chucks and ground hogs, but all the bike trails scared them away. 

I feel sorry for the deer. Their habitat is so encroached upon. The foxes, too. It makes me angry. That the city won't stop developing things. They're destroying something very special. 

9/ What's your 411 on amphibians such as frogs or reptiles like snakes and turtles?

Fascinated by them. And we get to see them all at the prairie. Less turtles, lately. The park and wreck people messed with the natural bog where they all used to live, destroying some of it and putting a drain in the other. Stupid, short-sighted park board. 

The frog population has diminished since the bike trails have been put in. They get squashed. Toads and frogs... such cuties. The green frogs have the prettiest skin. And I love a big, fat toad.

And snakes... what's not to love? I don't get to see them often, but when I do, they become my main focus.  I don't know anything about them.  They're fun to observe. But I never get too close. Not they would allow that.

Oh, and I am talking about the reptilian variety... not the ones I do see - happily so - at the prairie all the time (hee, hee.)

10/ Birds. Your favorites? Why?

Herons. So graceful. Such elegant fliers. So busy. Such a schedule to adhere to. 

I watch them fly over the prairie, going from one lake to another. 

Woodpeckers. Industrious. Busy. How is it they don't get concussions? 

We used to have wood ducks which would nest in the prairie. But that stopped when they started mowing it in the fall. Now? No wood ducks. Stupid city.

I never noticed all the little yellow finches. Where did they come from? This feels like a recent phenomenon. They are all over the prairie and such a joy to see. 

--- ---

So, in closing... I just want to say that I see the need to educate people about this type of wildlife. If you learn of their existence and what they do to survive? It helps develop empathy. I would like to think that would translate into some kind of consideration for their environments... but people are selfish. They want what they need to entertain themselves. And if they destroy natural habitats in doing so? How can they not care? Very sad. So, yes... educate. 

Okay, your turn. Leave your answers in the comments section or post them on your blog and leave a link here. 

That's all for today.

I hope you enjoyed this little outdoor exploration. I encourage you to take advantage of the summer months and get outside. The memories you create now will keep you company during the colder months. 

And, as always... Thanks for reading and participating.

--- ---

Wildflowers - The Wailin' Jennys

Pickin' Wildflowers - Keith Anderson


Bob said...

1/ If you can, where do you go to get your outdoor 'fix?'
I am an ocean fiend. No so much the beach, but the more rugged coastline of Northern California into Washington and Oregon. No place makes me feel more at peace. Sadly, where we now live, the ocean is mostly fronted by flat sandy beaches, though I still love looking at the sea.
I also love the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the gorgeous colors of fall, and the cool nights of summer.
2/ What's your favorite flower and why?
We have tons of roses around the house because Carlos loves roses, but we’ve also begun to create a wildflower area in the front yard, and I love that area because it blooms and flowers at different times so it’s ever changing and always colorful.
3/ What's your favorite non-flowering plant?

We have several wild grasses in planter beds, and I love the green carpet they create, though we also have a few fire bushes in the front which don’t flower, but the leaves turn from maroon to brilliant red during the year.
4/ Do you have seasonal allergies? What kind?
I do not :::knock wood:::
5/ Do you have a favorite tree? Which? Why?
We have several in the yard that I like: dogwood, crepe myrtle, tall pines and oaks. But we have one, and I cannot identify it,. But the branches spread out flat from the narrow trunk, and flower white in spring, then turn green, and finally become orange in fall before dropping. But the branches are so delicate it looks like the white flowers are floating in the air.
6/ What insects do you enjoy watching?
Butterflies: gentle beautiful things.
7/ Do spiders scare you?

I do not care for crawly bugs. I am not scared, but I prefer they leave me alone, and I will leave them alone.
8/ Creatures of the outdoor four-legged variety... which do you see on a regular basis, and which is your favorite? Why?
We have tons of squirrels, of course, and every so often we have deer in the yard. Our animals go nuts for the deer, running from window to window to watch them. Graceful creatures.
9/ What's your 411 on amphibians such as frogs or reptiles like snakes and turtles?
They don’t bother me; we have lizards that always seem to make their way into the house, and we rescue them before the cats get them. Frogs? Not so much, Turtles? Never seen them around here. Snakes? Don’t bother me, though, again, I don’t seek them out, but they TERRIFY Carlos.
10/ Birds. Your favorites? Why?
Cardinals. I love their brilliant color. I love watching hawks fly overhead. Once, at Bodega Head, feeding my ocean need, I was walking a trail and came upon a Great Blue Heron about ten feet in front of me. I stopped he, or she, stopped, and I just watched it gently lift off the ground and fly away.

whkattk said...

1. My own back yard must suffice, now. Used to love hiking the national park here but it's become too strenuous.
2. Bird of Paradise. Thin-stemmed and wispy leave, but the flowers are stately. Or anything fern-like.
3. I'll agree with the grass...
4. No. Thank the Universe.
5. Love Willows. My Shoestring Acacias are gorgeous.
6. Bees. I'm deathly allergic to the sting, but I love them nonetheless. When one gets stuck in the pool I will always rescue it.
7. Depends on which kind. Tarantulas used to be quite common on base - especially during the heavy rains - so I got used to them.
8. None around here, not really. The occasional Coyote.
9. Like frogs and toads and turtles. Snakes - nope.
10. Road Runners. Don't see many of them anymore - housing developments have rather taken over the habitat. But we now have these itty-bitty chickadees twice a year. I love watching them flit around the back yard. They have the tiniest peep that i adore.
The environment is more fragile than people think. Humans really are the scourge of the planet.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Well, hello, Keith Anderson. I'd like to see HIM naked in nature, please.
And let's see: I love all flowers. All of them. Garden and hothouse flowers equally. I think they're fantastic and put me in a good mood immediately.
Same goes for birds and butterflies. My favorite insect is the firefly, though. For me, they mean warm summer nights.
I usually get my dose of green by going in my walks. I enjoy the privilege of living in a area with tons of green (it's a very white suburb, so there) and I get to be somehow in nature every day. I sometimes see deer and ducks and geese.
I also have allergies. They kick at the beginning of Spring and then subside but they can get nasty. I sneeze and tear up and cough and am miserable for days.


SickoRicko said...

All those lovely mens are pretty nice.

BatRedneck said...

1/ If you can, where do you go to get your outdoor 'fix?'
An elder brother of mine (my favorite one, but shush!) lives in a village. The place is so quiet that even the birds let you sleepover quietly. Each time he and his adorable wife have us, meaning me and my dog, I’ll go for a long walk in that prairie that is just a few minutes away from their place. It’s huge, never to be used for any construction as it is occasionally flooded during winter. A third of it is being bordered by a stream which I very much like to walk along on its shady side for a while until I cross it via a planked bridge and… Tadaaa! The prairie, wide open, bordered with mulberry copses (yummy!). It's even better when it hasn’t been mown, Astrid-the-cocker loves it that way, though it’s a nightmare afterwards… That’d be my ‘fix’.

2/ What's your favorite flower and why?
In a garden: peonies, sunflowers, artichokes, hydrangeas, too many to list. On a balcony: Bourbon geranium for the incredible rose scent of their leaves. Did you know that wisterias can also be grown in pots? They can make a fantastic vegetal frame to any balcony. In nature I love lupines, a meadow filled with daisies or poppies, cuckoo flowers in an undergrowth, prunus and judaea trees which are the first to bloom along with the daffodils. Dandelions too (from their old French name « Dents de Lion ». We now call them Pissenlits, literally ‘pee in bed’ for the soup that can be made with their young leaves is diuretic… and now I sound like an ol'Lady :-)

3/ What's your favorite non-flowering plant?
Again there are so many. In a garden I love the tortuous black locust as well as the crazy hazelnut tree, maybe they make fine echoes to the ways my mind sometimes works, LoL! Of course a duet of Lebanon cedars will be a plus, and a grove of albizia. And if the landscape is large enough I would plant a triplet of Italian cypress within a perspective. As for indoor plants, I won’t start with the list I actually grow which currently get advantages of my two large balconies… (my living room gets bit crowded during winter :-P

4/ Do you have seasonal allergies? What kind?
None, fortunately. Though I do not respond well to stupidity and narrow minded people any time of the year, which can easily be cured by taking my ever gentle Astrid-the-cocker for a walk, phew!

{due to me being prolific today, and Blogger only accepting comments within a 4.096 characters range, the rest of it will follow after the break}

BatRedneck said...

7/ Do spiders scare you?
The hell they do! Vade retro Satanas! I mean that I wouldn’t harm any of them should I come across any outside, but indoors they instantly become the target of the bug spray. I can pick up any other insect and send it back to the lawn, but a intruding spider is systematically considered as an act of war.

9/ What's your 411 on amphibians such as frogs or reptiles like snakes and turtles.
I know about 911, but you’ll have to explain that 411 to me (yep I’m a foreigner, therefore dumb to most idiomatisms :-))
Anyway. Frogs are beautiful creatures, toads too (I definitely must have a drop or two of English blood running through my veins, ha ha). Turtles? What’s not to like in them? They pre-date our own species’ era, no wonder they’re the symbol of wiseness. Reptiles overall and snakes in particular? I like them too. I remember that fantastic friend, Arnaud, who owned a royal python which was quite impressive, 2 meters long and it was still a youngster. Once you are properly introduced to such an animal with the simple knowledge about how to act and interact with it, then « the magic flows ». The first key being to never make a sudden move before a snake or even more when holding them.

10/ Birds. Your favorites? Why?
First thing that comes to mind: any but the pigeons. My ears hate the noise they make, they keep any other bird species from quietly come and eat at the seeds-bar on my balconies, their guano damages the facades and the monuments, so to me they are just a nuisance.
But you asked for the fabulous favorite, did you not? Well, by now it shouldn’t be a surprise that my answer goes plural. Crows. I still remember the ones that were ‘running their errands’ on a lawn next to my building in Berlin while I was in the army. They were so big, I had never seen birds that big, and fearless of us humans. And yes black crows’ feathers can actually have a bluish reflection.
Another species I hold dear: storks. (meanwhile, I am expanding my vocabulary in English, another reason to thank you, my Dear) Storks are such typical birds in the easter France region, the Alsace. During summer they migrate from North Africa and nest there (as well as in all Central Europe - saw plenty of them in Hungary, though that was before these charming people got an right wing extremist for ‘leader’, yuck!)
I see you coming: those are big big birds, what about peacocks? Well it is quite simple: peacocks are fine at other people’s garden, in parks, whatever. I had to endure - and I mean it - both green and blue peacocks during the few years I lived in the countryside with an infamous ex of mine, and I can assure you that they’re not pleasant at all. Aggressive, destructive of your bordures, and better be awaken by a hoard of roosters than by a peacock believe me! Their sole useful purposes are to be roasted and served at a family dinner, and their feathers to garnish a RuPaul’s dress - or a lampshade, equally.

What! Is this Quiz already over? But I was just getting warmed up… :-p


Inexplicable DeVice said...

1/ If you can, where do you go to get your outdoor 'fix?'
In the Spring and Autumn, when it's sunny, I tend to go to the beach, but in Summer (when it's too warm and touristy) I go inland to wander along country lanes and through woods & copses.

2/ What's your favorite flower and why?
Foxgloves! I love these tall, slender perennials, and that they're always surrounded by bees.

3/ What's your favorite non-flowering plant?
Probably moss. The soft, green, undulating cushions of moss covering stones and fallen tree branches & trunks are always fascinating to me. And in extreme close-up, look like microscopic forests.

4/ Do you have seasonal allergies? What kind?
Mild hayfever maybe twice a year for about a week or two at a time? I don't know what type of pollen or plant material causes it, but slightly itchy eyes and throat are easily lived with.

5/ Do you have a favorite tree? Which? Why?
I don't have a favourite, but I find the shapes that windswept Scots Pines grow into quite eye-catching.

6/ What insects do you enjoy watching?
Like you, bumblebees. They're just so adorably fuzzy and cute. And very industrious (if a bit clumsy).

7/ Do spiders scare you?
Only the horrid, hairless, small-bodied & long spindly-legged ones when they move suddenly.

8/ Creatures of the outdoor four-legged variety... which do you see on a regular basis and which is your favorite? Why?
Deer and hedgehogs are the ones I most commonly see around here. Actually, make that grey seals - although they have flippers rather than legs... I don't really have a favourite - I'm always very pleased when I see any of these three.

9/ What's your 411 on amphibians such as frogs or reptiles like snakes and turtles?
My garden's latest addition is a pond, so I'm seeing a few frogs and toads around which is good as they'll eat up some of the slugs and snails that devour my hostas!
There may be some small liards around here - and maybe a grass snake or adder - but I've never seen any.

10/ Birds. Your favorites? Why?
Mute swans! They're just so distinctive and majestic and elegant (when in the water, anyway).