Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Prairie and Sky

Here are more photos from the St. Olaf college natural lands taken Saturday morning. The St. Olaf wind turbine dominates the landscape if you're looking anywhere in its general direction. The two wind turbines in Northfield, one here at St. Olaf and the other owned by Carleton College but standing on land slightly east of town, have come to be iconic symbols of this small city.

The tall prairie grasses (I believe Big Bluestem is what we're seeing here) bent and swayed in the breeze.

Light purple wildflowers in the aster family and goldenrod were common, as well as plenty of other plants I can't identify, like the greenish spikes below.

Can anyone tell me what these huge spikes are? They must have been close to ten feet tall. I have seen similar things on a much smaller scale, but have no idea what they might be.

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Jim H. said...

The colleges should explore the sculptural possibilities of those wind turbines.
>A huge daisy or dandelion
>Multi-colored reflective streamers on the ends of the blades
>Lights of varying sizes and colors and patterns (LED, of course)
>Blades made of fabric (oh, wait, the Dutch already did that)
>Psychedelic painting on the support tower

Sue said...

Those tall spikes look like the non-native Common Mullein, Verbascum thapsus.

Christopher Tassava said...

After being cooped up all day, these photos were just what I needed! Thanks!

Penelope said...

Jim - I'm somewhat surprised that hasn't been done (yet), thinking about all the ways in which the Carleton water tower has been decorated over the years.

Sue - Thanks! I believe you are right, and I think I did have an inkling of this name, because I had actually searched "vervain" in connection with this photo out of some hazy instinct. That was clearly not right, but it is a similar enough name that I think I must have been remembering something I'd seen at some point.

Christopher - Good! Glad to help.

RuthieJ said...

Looks like a lovely place!