Monday, May 30, 2016

In Which I Rescue Milkweed on the Lafayette Ride

It was this kind of day on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. Pretty sky and and lots of bikers out.

Man is a tool-using animal, and I was picking out a piece of wood at the Boyson Road trail head.

It was a digging stick. I planned a plant relocation project.

More on that later. The first ride of the season to Lafayette was gorgeous, a perfect Sunday afternoon in late May. Sunshine with pretty clouds, and lots of people were out on the trail. If I didn’t have a birthday party that afternoon, I’m sure I would have carried on to Center Point, but no matter.

It was great to be on the trail.

I even spotted several tricycles of the type that Brigid and Eldson Rocca ride, and I wondered where these Cedar Rapids riders had acquired those vehicles.

On the road to Lafayette. Two groups of tricycle riders I saw.

Anyway, I climbed the Brentwood Hill to begin my 24-mile trek, and then took the north route. In the little commercial area at Boyson Road and C Avenue, I noticed it—a milkweed plant, growing right next to the sidewalk in a mowed area of grass. Well, that won’t do—that plant is bound to be mowed, and it’s young enough—maybe I can dig it up.

But, you understand the problem. You can’t just pluck milkweed, even small milkweed, from the ground. Like an iceberg, what you don’t see is how much of that plant is a tick, deep tap root.

So after a very satisfying bike ride to Lafayette, I was at the trail head looking for a stick. I picked up several near a burning bush, but it turns out burning bush wood is delicate and breakable. So I ended up grabbing a stick under an oak tree. Oak is a tougher wood.

And I dug diligently around the milkweed, trying to loosen soil around its deep root. But you know what happened. It always does. The root broke off. There was enough below the soil line, about 3 inches on a plant less than 4 inches tall, and I decided I might as well take the wounded plant home and try.

So I stuck it in my water bottle and carried it home. I don’t have much hope that it will add up to anything—transplanted milkweed is very dicey. But we’ll see. One of these days I’ll get milkweed going in my garden.

And even if it’s wasn’t a great day for trying to rescue a doomed butterfly habitat, at least it was a wonderful afternoon to ride 24 miles!

I tried to rescue this milkweed. Don't know if I succeeded.

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