Still time this spring to get bike out

It seems that each year it gets later and later into the spring before I get up the energy to dust off my bicycle and get out to enjoy a ride. Yes, it is still spring for another nine or 10 days before summer kicks in. At least this year I managed to still have enough air in the tires that I could ride the bicycle to get to the filling station to get the air pressure up to snuff.

A little over a year ago I mentioned completion of an unusual feat in that I had driven Country Club Drive to College Drive and all the way to SMSU without having to stop for a traffic light. That meant seven such traffic lights also without exceeding the speed limit. No matter how hard I can pedal my bike even with the Great Plains Wind at my back, I certainly could not exceed the speed limit, but it is much easier to get through those same traffic lights without having to stop.

It was nice to bike along the path and watch the pair of geese and their five goslings on the golf course even though I am sure the golf people probably would appreciate it if the geese were more frightened of those black silhouettes of the dogs or foxes or whatever they represent. I must admit that I am happy that those “dirty birds” aren’t on our pond.

I was too late to enjoy the blooming of those beautiful yellow flowers and even the white fluffy balls that replaced the flowers had all blown away. Again – thankfully not in my back yard. Replacing the yellow flowers were the white clover, less noticeable to the eye, but providing a fragrant perfume in the air.

(An aside: Of course if Marshall had either a steep hill or a long sloping hill it might have been possible to get my bike up to and beyond city speed limits. I am reminded of the time about 50 years ago when I first moved to Marshall from Fulton, Missouri. I was required to retake a driver’s test that included both the usual multiple guess questions as well as a road test. The written test was fine and I thought I was doing a pretty good job on the road test until… Driving east on College Drive just past the armory the examiner said, “Pull over here next to the Super Valu (now Western Printing) and park.”

I pulled up by the curb and placed the car transmission into park. The examiner said something like, “and…” I looked at him with bewilderment and he just stared at me. Finally, he said, “You’re on a hill.” Fortunately I did not laugh and in a few seconds it dawned on me that I was to turn the steering wheel so that the front wheels were heading into the curb if we were to roll back He kindly forgave my error. Coming from a hilly Missouri, I never really thought that any place in Marshall qualified as a hill, not even Hill Street. If I had moved here from Colorado, Wyoming or some other western state, I might not have been able to stifle my laughter at what was to be designated as a hill.)


Earlier, the white, pink and red flowering crabapple trees were showing off along with other fruit trees. The lilacs are still blooming with purples and white. I particularly like the shape of the Persian Lilac trees — some can be seen in the middle of the parking lot area between the YMCA and the Schwan’s building between Marvin Schwan Memorial Drive and Saratoga Street. I also enjoy the spirea bushes with the white flowered branches drooping to the ground, smaller but much like a weeping willow. Unfortunately the flowering trees and bushes are at their best for only a few days.

Some years after a freeze, the fruits from those crabapple trees entice the squirrels to sample a few of the tiny apples that have fermented, leading the squirrels to ba a bit tipsy – sights and entertainment the year-round.


At this time we are close to Flag Day. Flag Week started Saturday, June 9, with Flag Day itself this Friday, June 14. A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was approved in 1949 and requested the president to issue an annual proclamation. After proclaiming June 14, 2019 as Flag Day, President Trump’s official proclamation this year ended with the sentence: “IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.”


Somehow it seems coincidental that this is also the time of the year for the blooming of the flag iris – or maybe it’s not coincidental??

Quite a few years ago, I used to enjoy attending the Minneota Iris Show. I am not sure how long ago that was discontinued – 20 years maybe? They had lots of varieties on display and gave prizes for different categories and arrangements. There usually was an opportunity to get some rhizomes of a couple of varieties.

I am not sure how many varieties there are of iris, but it is well over 500 (see below.) Some general categories include Siberian Iris, Japanese Iris, Louisiana Iris, and Dutch Iris – showing an international interest in the flower. There are also bearded and non-bearded, dwarf, and reblooming (summer and fall).

Portland, Oregon, is known as “The City of Roses.” Just south of Portland is Salem, Oregon, which I discovered has Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. In the early 1900s, F.X. Schreiner was a buyer for a department store in St. Paul. His hobby: gardening. On his travels he learned about the iris and tried them in his garden, but at that time, some of the iris could not withstand the cold of Minnesota, but he investigated and found that Oregon had a great climate for the iris. By 1925 he and his family turned his growing of over 500 different varieties into a business. Schreiner’s Iris Gardens are now operated by the fourth generation of the family.

Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!


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