Thursday, June 15, 2017

Into Every Life...

They say into every life, a little rain must fall.  Lately, we could use more than a little rain -- it's been very dry even while just north of us, WI and MN have gotten lots of storms and flooding.  Yesterday afternoon (just in time for the farmers' market to be cancelled), we got much needed rain in the form of some pretty heavy storms and some lasting light rain as well.  This morning, we got another little burst... I got caught out in it, totally unprepared, and had a soaking we walk.  But when you get caught in the rain, you get to see the rainbows!
With rain, we also got the "blooming" of the cedar apple rust galls.  
These look like alien life forms coming down to colonize earth via cedar/juniper trees, but are actually a fascinating manifestation of a disease that has a 2-host life cycle, alternating between these evergreens and crabapples, hawthornes, and other members of the rose family.  The galls on the cedar trees, taking up to 2 years to develop, look like hard, lumpy, brown golf balls until spring rains allow the orange telial howns to swell up.  They look like some sort of tentacled marine creature mysteriously misplaced in a branch a thousand miles from the ocean!  These release spores, then die... but the disease lives on as the spores find their crabapple (etc.) host.  On those leaves, they manifest as a yellow-orange spots.  Eventually, these, too will release spores that... you guessed it... infect the cedar trees!  And the cycle continues.  It's the circle of life... and it moves us all..

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