Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Phenology: Social Climbing, Weather, Flowers, Wildlife

I wouldn't exactly call GBP's Kingsport neighborhood "Snob Hill," but "Sevier Terrace" is in fact the side of a hill; in "Upper Sevier Terrace" (above Stone Drive) the houses are much bigger than the ones on the road called Sevier Terrace down below, and the further uphill you go, the posher the houses get. (This house is two out of a possible six blocks above Stone Drive.)

We were walking around the neighborhood this morning. My injured foot is almost ready to resume walking long distances; now I have to recondition my pampered flabby legs...sigh. We had talked, earlier this month, about "Obamazoning" and the Whiteness of the neighborhood, so GBP made a point of pointing out two houses, both posher than hers, owned by non-Caucasian families.

It was a cool morning, about 60 degrees Fahrenheit at sunrise. I was up before sunrise. The stream and woods around the Cat Sanctuary generate fog, most mornings in summer. This was typical. The moon and stars were bright enough to be seen in spite of the city lights in Kingsport, but hidden by fog and mist around Gate City.

After I'd mentioned here that the naked ladies had settled down for the season, one more of those quirky flowers popped up. "She" was shorter than her sisters and had only four individual blooms rather than five or six. The others have gone to seed.

One myrtle bush, and two dandelions, were still in full bloom. Black-eyed Susan is past its peak but still blooming well. In Kingsport I saw some roses, some "Rose of Sharon" hibiscus, and more than one full-sized Florida-type hibiscus blossom left, and one clump of cultivated lilies. Back at home, clover, Queen Anne's Lace, dayflowers.

And on the way to work this morning I encountered wildlife. First, when I reached for my trusty shillelagh out on the porch (how would I walk down a steep unpaved road in the dark without it?), I felt thick, coarse fur covering something softer than a spider. That would be one of the Arctiid caterpillars, most of whose English names include the word "bear." I missed the moths this summer and was glad to find a caterpillar--of course it would have been more fun to see one on the grass, rather than barely miss killing one on the porch.

Further down the road, I met a stray tomcat, raising faint hopes that my favorite spring kitten may have eloped rather than being stolen, and then, deer. The deer are hardly even unusual along this road at this time of year. They make themselves very scarce in hunting season, but in summer they really become pests.