Alien life

The writers and special effects people who worked on Star Trek must have been keen observers of the natural world. And the natural world produces some amazing alien-like flora and fauna. Often I will see a plant, or creature, that looks like something Captain Kirk, Spock or Bones might have picked up on a new planet…possibly replicating itself with alarming speed.

Yesterday I pulled out dozens of weeds, perfectly round with concentric petals whose roots reminded me of jelly fish tentacles. Luckily the ground had softened with rain and some unseasonably warm weather, so I was able to make up for my neglect. I had noticed these weeds popping up in early fall; without giving them much thought I (illogically) took them to be self-seeded petunias. When they got no bigger, but spread into a mat, I realized the spring bulbs would have trouble pushing through. Once I began weeding, they seemed to be everywhere. I don’t know what they were, but I am sure they could have been in an episode of Star Trek.

In the last couple of days the Anconas have produced their own marvel—over-sized eggs. A jumbo egg weighs 2.5 ounces; our Ancona eggs are usually around 2 ounces. We now have two Ancona eggs weighing in at 2.75 and 2.875 ounces. A quarter of an ounce may not seem like much, but in an egg the difference is huge—and I am sure the chicken must notice.

Nature never ceases to astonish me. A tiny seed grows into a long carrot. A crocus pops up from a bulb, year after year, just when the snow melts. Perennials shoot out of the dirt, at their appointed time, throughout the summer. And always, nature offers the most astounding variety of color, shape, smell…and function. I can’t see how anyone could become jaded surrounded by such wonder.



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