Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Favorites

My favorite native American wildflower is the purple coneflower. They are so beautiful and so easy to grow, no garden should be without at least one clump of them. I always grow mine from seed and have never had to buy a single plant. They do really well in Ohio clay and just glow despite the heat and sun of late summer.

I only grow the species, Echinacea purpurea, and none of the frou-frou hybrids. Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't be caught dead with hybrids in my garden. Yes, I'm a plant snob.

This little spot of wildflowers follows the curve of the driveway. A white birch is to the left and is already 8 feet tall after only 2 years! This little bird house was our first project when we moved in three years ago. I love it. Tree swallows successfully raised their young in it this spring and it is currently inhabited by a large group of paper wasps, which are welcome in my garden because they are one of nature's best organic pesticides! I often weed within one foot of the bird house and they never bother me. I've even supported myself by grabbing the wooden post but they seem to know that I mean them no harm and they ignore me. I often find myself extolling the virtues of wasps as a gardener's friends to those who fear them. Mud daubers are equally good at killing insects, although they specialize in killing only spiders which they place in the cells of their nests for their larvae to feed on. Gruesome, but true!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lofty Hope & Dream

Derek took his first instructional flight today in a Cessna 172 with Rex Damschroder as his instructor. He'll be 15 in November and his goal is to earn his student pilot's license by his 16th birthday. He can then earn his private pilot's license at 17. Rex reported that Derek has a natural ability and did above average in some of the skills!

I didn't get a photo, but there are two DC3s at the Fremont Municipal Airfield, both of which dropped paratroopers at Normandy on D-Day. One is in the process of being restored. Also, one of the NASA astronauts who is currently in space earned his pilot's license at this very airfield.

The poem, High Flight, has over the years become a mantra to pilots. It is reproduced here as a tribute to, and in memory of pilots of all generations.

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941