One of my favourite sights of spring: larch trees in flower. The upright pink ones are the elegant, showy females in their rosy party dresses – the males are the compact pollen-bearers, in tidy yellow-brown suits, clinging to the undersides of the branches. You can see a couple of females and a male in this photo I snapped late last week.
A fresh new look at one of my most-visited posts at this time of year…scroll to the end of “Fun and Interesting Facts about Rhubarb” for a fun treat! And don’t forget to let me know your favourite rhubarb recipes!
The rhubarb in the community garden is absolutely monstrous this year – it shot up so quickly I barely had time to blink during the transition between fat sprouts to gargantuan wide leaves and thick, harvest-ready stalks. I’m dreaming about the rhubarb cake I am going to bake….
Rhubarb gardeners will know most of these fun facts, but if you’re new to growing (or eating!) it, you might enjoy this little list of rhubarb trivia:
Rhubarb is in the Polygonaceae family, which includes buckwheat and sorrel.
Rhubarb’s binomial name is Rheum rhabarbarum – the specific epithet is from the Latin and means “root of the barbarians.”
Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, chock full of more oxalic acid than humans and animals may safely consume. Small amounts of oxalic acid are found in the stalks, which we eat – the acidity gives rhubarb its “tang.” (You’ll find small amounts of oxalic acid…
Infinity is just so big that by comparison bigness itself looks really titchy.
~Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
O riotous spring! My hayfever has hayfever, and the three of us (because of course the two hayfevers are their own monstrous entities) have a cold on top of it all.
But it’s cause for celebration! Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell you:
I’m fairly certain I’m a walking medical miracle. I mean, hayfever + hayfever + cold and I’m still functioning-ish? My allergist needs to get on publishing that research – he could be retiring to the Caymans in no time.
Although it’s probably reasonable to state that we had a more “accurate” winter than we usually do (lots of cold and snow versus a ton of Chinooks and dry, exposed earth), it felt impossibly huge and long and draggy and we. are. officially. (probably. sort. of. maybe). done. with. it.
The photo says it all. The Prairie crocuses are blooming like mad all over the sunny slopes and despite the incessant sneezing and sniffling, life is pretty awesome.
If you’ve been following Flowery Prose for a while, you may remember that in July of 2016 my brother, my hubby, and I took a trip out to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, near Cochrane, Alberta. We had such an amazing time on the interactive tour that we decided to go again in early March of this year. What a treat! The wolfdogs were still sporting their fluffy winter coats and the absence of green grass and leaves on the trees gave us a different perspective than we had in the summer. The Sanctuary has taken in more wolfdogs since we were last there, and staff and volunteers have built more enclosures to comfortably house them.
Photo courtesy R. Normandeau.
The ravens love to steal the excess treats from the wolfdogs. The birds and wolfdogs are very tolerant of one another…aside from an occasional bit of stink eye. 😉
We did the interactive tour once again and had a blast feeding and meeting some of the beautiful residents of the Sanctuary, as well as learning more about wolfdogs and the unfortunate reasons a rescue like this is so badly needed. The highlight of the trip, however, was when the wolfdogs all spontaneously set up a chorus of howling, joining together to sing for us. My brother was quick on the draw with his cellphone and he generously allowed me to share with you the audiofile he recorded:
Audio courtesy D. Mueller.
So wonderful! If you’re interested in learning more about – and/or supporting – the work that the Sanctuary does, click here. If you plan to travel in this part of Alberta, it’s a highly recommended stop – the staff are incredible and it is guaranteed that you will totally fall in love with the wolfdogs. ♥