We’ve been busy lately helping to organize a benefit Country Dance (and dinner) for our local library, and wildflower walks have been displaced by trips to the restaurant supply store, gathering raffle prizes, and other tasks. But yesterday, when I parked to do my volunteer time at the friends of the library bookstore, there was a dramatic purple and gold display covering a berm of pushed-up soil and rock. These are the sort of flowers that are so common we disregard them, or even call them “weeds” when they appear where we don’t want them.
Everybody recognizes the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica). The deep purple flowers are a vetch introduced from Europe , probably Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca), that is more than a weed—it’s an invasive non-native. It has long sprawling vines with tendrils that climb and bind, and likes disturbed ground. On the good side, it’s used as forage for cattle, provides nectar for bees and butterflies, and like other legumes it adds nitrogen to the soil. Below, its tendrils have looped around the seeds of a wild grass that I know only as foxtail, though it has single seeds (noted for working their way into the flesh of dogs) rather than the plumy seedheads that are rightfully called foxtail.
Now that you’ve read this far, let me invite you to our benefit dance this Saturday evening, at the Upper Applegate Grange, 4 miles from Ruch, Oregon. We’ll have the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers (6 to 8 pm) and bluesmen David Pinsky & the Rhythm Kings (8 to 11 pm) making music for listening or dancing. There will be dinner, raffles, the Finest Hat Contest with a great prize, activities for kids, and it all helps our library. To be precise, we’re raising money to “buy” hours on Saturday, because the budget from the county doesn’t provide any hours on Saturday. Each year we have to raise $12,300. Come and bring your friends!
More details can be found here: go to the More Events page. Or if you live too far away to attend, you can make a contribution or a monthly pledge on the Pledge Form page. [Due to the way the site is hosted, I can’t post a separate url for these two pages; you need to go the main page and use the links there.]
Here’s a picture inside our rural library: