Found it, and other stuff

We found my lens cap. “We” is the right word. There was a search party. The search party was comprised of myself and, most importantly, my lovely bride. She was the one that found the lens cap I lost yesterday. It was under the sweetgum tree, just as I expected.

She wouldn’t have found it if I hadn’t dropped it there yesterday.

One day she’ll notice I’m manufacturing reasons to get outside to enjoy this beautiful weather before it changes this weekend.

In the afternoon, she found a reason of her own. We, of course, went on a bike ride. She’s wearing long sleeves, but that might have been an overdressing. I had a jacket rolled up on my back pocket, but never felt the need to put it on.

We passed a few combines today. Everyone is cleaning up the last of their fields. All the good stuff will be going in bins, like this, or out into other fields, for feed.

The part that doesn’t wind up in the road, that is. I took this photo and then spent the next minute or so weaving around chunks of cob that had been blown into the street. You never think about that unless the operator is right there in the field as you go by. It wouldn’t much matter in the car, but my bike tires are just 25 m. Even the humble stripped corn cob could be dangerous.

Anyway, we got in almost 22 miles in the sunshine, some of it on new-to-us roads. Here we are near the end of the route, going through two corn fields that haven’t yet been chopped down.

I don’t know why YouTube does that in their compression algorithm. Being the biggest company in the game and using a lossy format just feels cheap at this point.

Let’s go back out into the yard, since I had to look for that lens cap, anyway. We’ve got a small Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) to enjoy off to the side. It seems a little out of place this far north, but there are some cultivars that are hearty enough for the weather.

Magnolia cultivars can be rather famous, for whatever reason, and I’d like to know the story behind this one, but it’s just one more thing we’ll never know.

Speaking of that sweetgum and its ankle aggravators, its tenderfoot terrorizers, its shoe stickers …

This is, I believe, a black cherry (Prunus serotina) tree. The previous owners promised one, but we found no fruit this year. But, if I have this right, we might have a good crop one of these days.

Here’s the maple. Acer platanoides, I think, maybe. I’m saying, until an expert corrects me, that this is the Crimson King cultivar. The front yard star has shed most of its leaves. And what remains have turned yellow and red. I was not expecting that.

And some of the leaves on that same tree turned green, which was quite the surprise.

Oh, and I found another pear tree. Which sounds like I’ve just discovered it. It’s in a obvious place and though I have enjoyed its leaves and removed weeds from beneath it, I’ve never bother to actually, ya know, consider what this big shade giver is. But it’s a pear.

Too far away from the pear tree in the backyard for the two to work together to bear fruit, unfortunately. I’ll just have to get my pears the old fashioned way — by hiring a neighborhood kid to go into a neighbor’s yard under cover of darkness.

This is the 15th installment of We Learn Wednesdays. I’ve been riding my bike across the county looking at all of the local historical markers. I have written here about 32 of the 115 markers found in the Historical Marker Database. Cycling my way around to find them is the preferred way of doing it because that pace lets you see and learn new things. Today’s entry in We Learn Wednesdays is a good example. I would have missed this little spot if I was driving, and though it isn’t on the database, it is worth a mention.

I found it by riding out to the markers I’ll show you next week. And, at just the right time, I glanced to my left, and the sun was shining on this plaque perfectly. Maybe it was the shine that made me look. I circled back and walked up for a quick look.

Frank H. Stewart was a successful and controversial early 20th century businessman. He made his money selling electrical goods. He bought the U.S. mint building in Philadelphia, razed it, and then he wrote a book about it.

He was also a man of history, a collector of artifacts and source material. And a conservationist. He helped preserve a Revolutionary War era fort, had his company develop new tech to find cannonballs underwater (metal detectors!) and his will plays an important part in the creation of all of the parks and many of the public lands in the next county over.

This little park is just that. A happy little playground with slides, swings, a zip line and climbing arches. They’ve got picnic tables and a pavilion. It all exists because of that one man.

His papers — thousands of books, untold manuscripts, artifacts, wills, deeds, family genealogical lines, maps and more —
are kept at Rowan, some of it is his own extensive Revolutionary War research. I wonder what we might discover in there.

In next week’s installment of We Learn Wednesday, we’ll go back to the 1930s. If you’ve missed any markers so far, you can find them all right here.

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