Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wildflower Walk

 If you haven't had a chance to get over to Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, there is still time to do it before summer is over.  I did that this past Friday and there were plenty of flowers still in bloom.  It is a little gem of a place located within the larger Theodore Wirth Park.

Half the fun of going to the gardens is walking to the gardens.  Starting with my Car2Go vehicle, I parked at the north end of Lake of the Isles. I left the car in front of the house with all the pink flamingos.  Don't have to come back for the car.  Someone else who needs it will drive it away.  There were a lot of plants still blooming along the shoreline.

From Lake of the Isles, you can cut through a neighborhood to get to the east side of Cedar Lake. Out of all the lakes on the Chain of Lakes, I like Cedar the best because it is so wooded.  I have to get back over here for a swim. At some point in it's early history Minneapolis bought up most of the shoreline of the five lakes that make up the Chain of Lakes, guaranteeing that everyone has access.

There were Pale Touch Me Nots in the woods.

  At the top of Cedar Lake, you can cut across the railroad tracks to Brownie Lake.  The train sitting there had the tallest cars I've ever seen.  It pulled away as I was looking for graffiti.

I had never walked along the west side of Brownie Lake and the trail is quite nice.  I think this lake must be the smallest in the Chain of Lakes.  I saw joggers go around three times while I ate my sandwich in the shade.

There was a patch of American Bellflowers along the trail and I was able to identify them on the https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info when I got back home.

There were quite a few Evening Primrose at the water's edge.


At the top of Brownie Lake was some Sneezeweed.  Again, I was able to identify this one when I got home because it so unique looking.  That is not always the case with yellow sunflower-looking flowers and telling one from the next is tricky.

One thing I learned from the wildflower website is to start looking at the back side of the flower and take better photos of the leaves.  This is a Smooth Oxeye.  The website will let you do an advanced search if you can just describe a few details.

You have to cross the highway to get over to Theodore Wirth Park.  The wildflower gardens are just a short walk north.

There is a naturalist on site and plenty of signs and books to help you decipher what you see in the gardens.  This is a Groundnut plant and if I remember correctly one could cook up the tubers like potatoes.

 Continuing north from the garden, we decided to walk further and see what the woods along the west side of Theodore Wirth Lake look like.  New territory.  Nice trail.

Eventually after another mile or so you end up at the Chalet.  You could have a cold and overpriced beverage here if you were so inclined.  Otherwise, the #7 bus picks up here every 30 minutes and goes back into downtown. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

This and That

On my morning walk today I saw this nice blue canoe sitting on the beach just north of the Hennepin Bridge.  It had all that one might need to make an overnight paddle down the river.  Don't know where the owner was.  Hopefully they won't be gone too long.  This is downtown after all.  A couple of weeks back I talked to a woman (and her grandson I think) who were paddling from Saint Cloud to somewhere beyond St. Paul.  They were getting ready to portage their red canoe down past Mill Ruins Park to the Lower St. Anthony Lock and Dam.  She told me that the river looked generally clean and I was happy to hear that.  She complained a little about the lack of port-a-potties in the downtown area so I gave a few suggestions.  There were some interesting boats in Bassett Creek this past week.  A guy with two kayaks strapped together with a lawn chair and powered with a small motor was amusing.  I think he had a beer cooler next to him.  His friends were in a similar styled rig only made with canoes.  They asked if I would care to buy a boat but I declined.  Soon I will be able to rent my own kayak on the Mississippi just north of downtown and paddle back into downtown courtesy of the National Park Service. 


 Down by the Lower Lock and Dam the shore looked like this a few weeks ago.  I cleaned up what I could but some of it was just out of reach.  I did find out that this property is technically US government land.  I had been wondering if this was part of Park and Rec property or the city or what.  Partly running through Minneapolis is 72 miles of shoreline that is a partnership park called the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. It is a partnership of land owned by the US government, the city, the county, the state, and privately owned.  Most of it is nice, especially the gorge area, but the downtown stretch does get mucked up.
There was a guy doing his laundry in the river about a week ago.  It did make me wonder about where a person who is living outside could take care of cleaning their stuff.  I know House of Charity provides a free shower for people, but maybe they could also provide laundry services??? It does make one feel grateful for having access to a washer and dryer.

There was a bike in the weeds on the shore that someone had stripped down. I took the rest up to the trash. By the way, that nice pink quilt that I wrote about was gone the next day.  Hopefully it is back to its owner or maybe a new owner and not in the trash.

Further north of downtown I found this mess that needed cleaning.  I still need to finish this area up.  There is a lot of small styrofoam bits mixed in with the bigger stuff. 

And finally, I treated myself to a Kona Ice this month.  There was more than one day in August that was so hot!! This was so good and it got me back home!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bassett Creek Bottles

A few days ago I was picking up trash north of the Plymouth Bridge.  On my way home I crossed one of the bridges at Bassett Creek.  A group of kayakers were heading into the creek towards the conduit opening. As I watched them I realized that a tree was covering the entrance.  I walked over to have a closer look.

Just another storm and another downed tree in the park, but this one will be a little more difficult to clean up.

The root ball of that tree was sticking up and I could see glass shining in the hole that was created.  Years ago the creek was used as a place to dump trash so it's no surprise that there is junk down there.  The tree had just been growing on top of it all.

Most of what was visible was broken, but there were a few intact glass bottles just laying there.

I took the unbroken ones home and cleaned them up.  The taller bottle (5.5 inches) is an old Listerine bottle (Lambert Pharmacal Company) probably from the 1920's or 30's or so some folks on ebay say.  The wide short bottle in the back says Carter's 723 on the bottom and would have been an ink bottle.  The tiny cobalt bottle says Emerson Drug Company Baltimore and would have contained a headache (hangover) remedy of bromo seltzer.  The last bottle on the left says Devoe Raynolds Company 2oz and most likely contained paint.  Well, it's not worth much but it was fun to find it.

By the way, the real treasure right now in the creek is all the Jewelweed (Spotted Touch Me Nots) that are blooming along the trail.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

What's this blog about anyway?

I've been blogging about picking up trash now for about 15 months.  Seriously, I never thought it would hold my attention for this long.  The blogger site allows me to see how many folks look at each of my posts and what country viewers come from.  Although most people reading my blog are from the USA, about 25% are from other places around the world.  How do they find this site or is it mostly by accident?  When I started this blog it took me about 30 seconds to decide on the name Trash Talk, not really considering that someone might be looking for porn or sports.  So if you're looking for porn or sports talk I probably haven't said much about those topics.  I will tell you that I occasionally pick up used condoms in the park (usually with a stick and gloves of course).  In fact, I picked up one yesterday by a park bench.  There was another one on the bridge today as I was walking across the river to attend the Polish Festival.  I didn't pick that one up.  Really, on the bridge people?  So back to my real topic about litter....and that quilt.  I was out yesterday walking to my usual places along the river.  I found this patchwork quilt.  It was wet and dirty and all balled up under some brush near Middle Beach.  I picked up the litter around the quilt and then shook the thing out and layed it flat to dry. I thought about that quilt and wondered about the story that brought it here.   Most likely it involves someone (she) who didn't expect to find herself suddenly homeless and spending the night down by the river.  But there is also someone who fashioned that quilt with not a lot of fancy needle work but with love and caring nonetheless.  I left it there to dry and maybe someone will come back to claim it.  It just needs a good cleaning.

In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources Adopt a River program requests us volunteers to estimate by weight what we have picked up during the year so they can combine it with all volunteer's efforts.  I take a picture of almost everything I pickup because it gives me a visual record and makes it easier to make a wild ass guess at the end of the year. At First Bridge Park yesterday there was leftover fishing litter as well as stuff from folks sleeping out.

Over at Middle Beach there was lots of trash that had washed up from all the rains we have had.  Who is splitting wood down there at the beach?  Several months ago, probably on a rainy, cold spring day, I got the idea that I would return some of my trash finds back to the wild in the form of trash mobiles.  Were some folks amused (I hope) or am I just another litterer. There were five of them and I think most of them have disappeared now.  Bye Bye.  It was fun.

I walked as far as the beach on the north side of Bassett Creek.  I barely got started there before I was out of bags.  One thing I have come to know about people who litter along the Mississippi River is that they prefer crappy beer. 

So, Trash Talk isn't just about picking up crap, it is also about finding and learning about what is out there in nature.  This is fast becoming my favorite part of this whole thing.  I came across this little blue flower yesterday along Bassett Creek.  Fairly tiny and low growing, I saw this by the bridge that goes over the creek on the north side.  According to the Minnesota Wildflower site I've been using, I am fairly certain it is a Dayflower. 

Growing next to the Dayflowers was also a patch of Bur Cucumber Vines. I don't have a fancy camera and it has been a learning experience trying to figure out what I can do with the camera that I have. I have learned that white flowers are really hard to photograph.  Sitting in the dirt trying to get a picture of this flower must have looked odd to the bikers and runners who passed me by on the trail.  Hey, I just mentioned sports!

I have to say that I got some of my inspiration for this blog from something I saw on the internet a couple years ago about a guy who picked up trash on his way to work somewhere in Denmark or maybe Finland.  Anyway, I suspect that we people around the world all have the same problem with just too much garbage everywhere.