Winter respite

We’ve had much-needed rain here the last few days, and this afternoon is the first time blue skies have peeked through clouds. Many of you have come through more than a week of unbearable cold and/snow snow. I thought we could all use a bit of respite from winter today, and so I’m sharing reminders—photos from last summer I didn’t get to share with you then—that summer will be here in a few months:

A little flower known by many names: Clematis viorna, Northern Leatherflower, Vasevine

A Carolina lily, North Carolina’s state wildflower

Here’s an interesting article about telling the difference between a Carolina lily and its very similar cousin, the Turk’s cap lily. Just so you’re prepared if you see them this summer.

How do you find respite from winter when it turns dreary?

The most beautiful summer day

After my husband got back from his morning run on Monday, he told me he wished he could have bottled the day. The morning was so beautiful, and he had run through a field of wildflowers, and the weather was perfect and drier than usual for summer around here, especially this summer when we’ve joked about building an ark a lot more than usual.

He had to dash off to work, but I wanted to find a way to help him remember the day. Monday was, quite possibly, the most beautiful summer day. Ever. Yesterday was a close runner-up. So I hiked up the trail he ran and took some pictures along the way.

Whether your summer has been perfect or too wet or too scorched or too busy to spend much time outside, I thought you might enjoy coming along with me for a glimpse of the most beautiful summer day.


The view early into my hike (locals will have no trouble guessing where I was)


Turning a corner, I saw a herd of cows grazing and lazing in a field


An interested calf


My favorite of the calves, probably because he’s the same brown shade as my dog


A breathtaking expanse of Black-Eyed Susans and other wildflowers


A lovely wildflower … or is it a weed?


Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly on a Joe-Pye Weed


The iridescent beauty of the Pipevine Swallowtail


A closer view

In my attempts to identify the Pipevine Swallowtail and the almost translucent butterfly below, I stumbled upon a cool butterfly identification website.


The field of gold hummed with grasshoppers, bees, birds and butterflies.


A sulphur butterfly: Cloudless Sulphur? Pink-Edged Sulphur? Colias eurytheme, maybe?


A jellyfish in the woods?


This lily goes by two names: Turk’s Cap Lily or Carolina Lily

The turk’s cap lily (Lilium michauxii) is also known as the carolina lily and happens to be the official wildflower of the state of North Carolina.


A group of Turk’s Cap Lilies


If my Leafsnap app is to be trusted, this is a striped maple, with its whirligig seedpods hanging down like grapes.

I haven’t mentioned Leafsnap in some time. It’s a fun (but not infallible) app for identifying trees.


By the time I finished my hike, the cows had moved to a lower pasture to graze. I love how the calves are squished together in a line.

Which image is your favorite? How would you describe your most beautiful summer day?