August 2009 Archives

I made it to the fourth day of school without taking my class outside to the nearest prairie remnant (the hill above the river in town)
It took very little time for them to learn to recognize ech. deadheads and rosa arkansana (rose hips). Some were even able to find basal ech. plants. (without offering 6-packs of pop as bait)



Thank you all for your hard work when we measured my Hegg Lake common garden a week back. It was by far the fastest the Hegg garden was ever measured and there were no rechecks besides can't finds! Below is some information regarding the Hegg garden.
Total plants planted in May 2006: 3,945
Number alive in August 2006: 3,699 (94%)
Number alive in August 2007: 3,320 (84%)
Number alive in August 2008: 3,008 (76%)
Number alive in August 2009: 2,834 (72%)
As you can see the length of the longest leaf actually decreases from 2008 to 2009. However, there were way more plants with multiple rosettes this year than in years past. I think the leaf length decreased because last year there was so much duff on the ground that the petioles of the leaves grew really long. The plants definitely looked healthy this year after the spring burn than they did last year. What was really exciting was I had my first flowering plant this year in row 7 position 44! Below is a picture of that flowering plant, and one of everyone measuring at Hegg.
Also, thank you to everyone in the town hall for being so hospitable to my dad, Oscar, and me. We had a great week and except my weird heat rash (it eventually went away) it was a lot of fun. Best of luck with the final push at the end of the season!
Jennifer, Oscar, and John

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Echinacea plants on our transect at Staffanson Preserve are done shedding pollen for the year. A few still have persistent, receptive styles, but August 18th was the last day pollen was shed.

This graph show how many heads (left panels) or plants (right panels) finished on each day. The earliest heads finished on 15 July. I divided the preserve according to the burn unit: burned East (top panels) and unburned West (bottom panels):


Final date of flowering for 393 heads on 161 Echinacea plants
from a burned and unburned unit of a prairie preserve

This graph is based on preliminary, raw data, but I wanted to share. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version of the graph.

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Here is a copy of my excel file with all my data. The sheet labeled corrected data for analysis is the file with all the data for each treatment. The sheet labeled baggins has a list of all the heads I used that need to be harvested, this was also posted in a separate post called "Baggins." The ones labeled "donor" do not need to be harvested but should not be expected to have high seed set as they were bagged for most of their flowering time.

Pollination interference data (data entry 2).xls


I need all of the heads used in my project (the ones that are painted) to be harvested in egg cartons (located in the shelf above the sink in the Hjelm house). Please label the compartment of the egg carton with the row, pos and tt color of the head. The egg cartons should be packed so that they wont be disturbed during travel and please be careful with the heads so no seeds fall out! Gretel has a list of all the heads to be harvested and its posted on the flog in July ("Baggins"). Please mail the packaged heads to: 119 School Street, Keene, NH 03431


I have been collecting plants at Landfill this season and have started to compile a list of the plants I have either seen or collected there. If Megan and anyone else would like to add plants to that list that would be great! Or check my identification. This list is very rough at the moment but I will continue to update it as I get more plants identified.

Species list landfill 2009.xls

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Just a quick note to say that Stipa planting was completed by lunch on Wednesday. We were able to plant the vast majority of seeds where they were randomly assigned in the CG, 10 cm north of existing Echinacea positions on the whole meter throughout the garden. I think only two seeds were not planted at all; one was lost off the board and one was missing its awn and ID sticker. About a dozen seeds had to be assigned new locations, either because there was a hole or a rock in the way or because the plant/staple/can't find flag that we were measuring from could not be located. Not bad! To assign new random positions, I simply grabbed an ID sticker from the sheet of leftover, unused positions, removed the old sticker, stuck the new and marched around the garden planting the last of my legacy to the Echinacea project. The final task will be to replace the can't find flags that are associated with a Stipa seed with short pins. Hopefully, this will up the chances of finding seedlings next summer. To this end, we also put a toothpick 1 cm north of every seed. Best of luck to the crew put to this test!
Also, sadly, my time with Team Echinacea is coming to a close. I have accepted an offer for an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship to work at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC starting September 1st (gasp, so soon!). I will be working in their environmental risk assessment group, spending MUCH more time at a desk and much less time running around in the field. I hope that my knowledge and skills as a scientist can do some good in the policy world. Thanks for a wonderful year, and a particularly wonderful summer. Stay in touch.


We searched for seedlings in Caroline's Hegg Lake plot today. Old and new seedlings were found. Here are the data:
Nextgenresc-19 Aug 09data.xls

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Howdy gang!
Here's the list of tag ID's and corresponding letters at the sites used this summer. We flagged different plants on 7/13 and 7/6 and used the same plants for observations on 7/21 and 7/23. For some reason I can't find the list of flagged plants for 7/13, so it would be great if someone could check on the Hjelm house computer for that info. It may or may not be in the folder for this experiment. I'm sure I compiled that info from the visor memos, but I don't have the file on my computer.
ech flagged plants and tags.doc
We recorded the tag ID's during FNC so we could go back and check to make sure we had recorded the right number, but we never made the check.
Here's the file that lists whether the vial had a bee, fly, bfly, or beetle in it:
ECH poll obs ALL.xls
Here's the FNC Data in an excel file:

I hope everything's going well in MN! It sounds like lots of progress has been made since I left. I thought my poster presentation went pretty well back in Chi-town. The final version of it is in a previous flog post. Thanks again to everyone...I certainly could not have done this without all of your help. I hope the field season ends well. Keep in touch. Oh and here's an interesting paper I came across recently: brown bj loosestrife comp.pdf
And I really like this picture Daniel took:
And here's Echinacea taking center stage at CBG:

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Here is a draft version of a protocol for seedling re-finds in the prairie remnants. Please read and critique. Protocol for seedling refinds 2009.docx

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I wanted to share Diedre and Jake's REU posters with everyone...they both did a great job!
JJF Poster-final.pdf

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Here's what needs to be done tomorrow, around 10am, for pollinating Cirsium altissimum at Hegg Lake.

I will provide a clipboard with a data sheet, map, and pollinating tools. Plant numbers are on flags to the south of the plants. Plant 9-7 has a yellow twist-tied head that is flowering right now. It will need to be selfed. Yellow tt heads on plants 9-16,-6, and -8 may be flowering tomorrow. If so, they also need to be selfed. Plant 9-19 had two bagged yellow heads. One is done flowering, the other may be flowering tomorrow. If the second one is flowering, it should be selfed. 9-26 with a red tt may be flowering. If so, it needs to be crossed. Cross pollen can be obtained from 9-14, which has a white tt and is blooming now, or 9-21, which may be flowering tomorrow.

To pollinate the heads, use a q-tip provided. For selfing, just rub the q-tip over the anthers to collect the pollen, then brush the q-tip on the stigmas. The pollen is very sticky and will easily stick to the q-tip. For crossing, rub a q-tip on the anthers of a pollen donor (white tt). Place in a labeled glass vial, transport to the head to be crossed, and rub the stigmas with the q-tip. Be sure to write down which plant was used as a pollen donor.

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We have been very happy using ImageJ to count Echinacea seeds. ImageJ is free, open-source, public domain software. It runs on any platform.

We have also used ImageTool. This program is free and runs on Windows only.

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Here's a histogram of pollen sizes (~30 grains per species) from 3 individual plants of Coreopsis palmata, Echinacea angustifolia, and Heliopsis helianthoides.


Greg outlined the methods taking the measurements here. Greg, what software program did you use?

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You WISH you were eating these cakes!!!!!!

We miss you, Mimi!

You too, Greg!

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Here is a file with the pollen storage data (excluding Stuart's data on the 48 hour style persistence).

pollen storage data sheet.xls

We pollinated 3 plants in the common garden that were still flowering. Each plant had 3 treatments of stored Echinacea pollen; ambient temperature, frozen, and refrigerated. The frozen and refrigerated pollen caused shriveling, the ambient temperature treatment did not.

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Hey All,
Long time no post, I know. Things certainly have been busy around here. As you all probably know, I finished making slides a while back - 372 slides total. WooHoo!!

Now, onto the next step, taking pictures of these slides. I took my very first pictures today, just a couple to get the hang of things, they are attached to this post. From my fiddling around today, I can see that this is going to be a lot more work than I thought. First off, the pollen is hard to find, it's not all at the same level of view, some of them are on top of the stigma and then they're really hard to see. Also, it's challenging to focus in enough to where I can ID pollen grains. Stuart suggested working on a random sample of my slides for the rest of the summer, and completing them this fall at the CBG. The only issue there is the change of machinery, but hopefully we can figure something out.

As for the rest, I think I'll be taking 1-2 shots of the entire style, and labeling them thus: stylevialID_site_date/time_A# - so A1, A2, etc. Then I'll zoom in and proceed to take pictures at sites B through F on the style, and for each change in focus will be another number. The question is whether I should attempt to get a good sense of the exact number of pollen grains on the stigmas or try to ID the pollen types. I'd like to be able to do both, but I think for this summer at least, I'll try to get a handle on the former rather than deal with the later.

On that note, Caroline suggested using a clicker to count the number of pollen in a picture, and that seems like an excellent suggestion. Does anyone know if we've got one?

Anyway, enjoy the pictures that I took so far:



-Kate Monster

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Here are two spreadsheets with information to be made into visor forms.
The first is a list of Echinacea positions we will measure from, in order to plant Stipa seeds. The relevant worksheet is the first one. In the visor form, I would like to be able to see row, position, Echinacea plant status and a column for notes. Breaking this list into multiple forms would be fine.

Complete list of Stipa positions81409.xls

The second is information for the "Next generation rescue" August seedling refind. I would like block, row, position and number of seedlings in May visible and would like number toothpicks, number toothpicks with no seedling, number new seedlings, longest leaf lengths and notes as editable fields.

Nextgenresc-For Aug 09 visor form.xlsx

And finally, Stuart, could you check out some Stipa bunches in Staffenson and decide how close we could comfortably plant seeds next to the Echinacea in the garden?

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Here is my dataset that I am working on analyzing in R as a .csv file.

Stuart, here is my R script so far:

I made new columns in the .csv spreadsheet for the factors and levels we discussed. I will work on a list of hypotheses to test. I think I changed the definition of "y" when I did my 24 hour analysis. Can I give "y" a different name for each analysis? Or does the code need to read a defined "y" each time?

Thanks for the help and check out the graph of 24 hours and the summary m2.


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Here are the data on the three pollen types and the protocol for measuring.
I used the same plant/pollen from each plant and measured at least 30 different pollen grains from each. I didn't use any pollen if its pole faced forward - only if it was sideways.

Bad news - the Ech. ang. and Heli. heli. are very close. Good news - maybe the pollinators and plants can't tell them apart either.


PS - I am in SE Minn and the Monarda Sunflower and Miss. Goldenrod are in full bloom all over.

Protocol for slide image recording and measuring.docx

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So, for another update from the luxurious Hjelm house, which is THE place to be this summer. We recently had the wireless router in the basement stop allowing people to log on to the network wirelessly, so Stuart ordered a new wireless router, along with an 8 port switch so that we can have more than 3 computers connected at the same time. They got here yesterday, and I took them downstairs to set up.

The entire process of setting up took about 20 minutes, and everything worked like a charm. I hooked the cable modem up to the router, set up the router DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, used to assign IP addresses to computers on the network), and hooked the router up to the switch, after mounting them on the wall. However, I wanted to see if we could get wireless access in the Wagenius house, about 60 metres away.

Setting the router up near the window in the basement did not work, so I moved the router upstairs. After a couple hours trying various spots, it was placed in Stuart's office, which offered easy access to an Ethernet jack, as well as a convenient window.

In order to enable both the wireless router and the wall jacks, while preserving the network, I had to disable DHCP on the new wireless router, and place the old one downstairs to act as a DHCP distributing thingy for the house. It took me a couple hours to figure this out as well, since I thought the wireless router could perform the same function through the switch.

Anyway, to cut a long boring story short, the new router upstairs fell just short of the Wagenius house computer's range, so using the excellent resources of (, I made three parabolic reflectors out of cardboard and tin foil to boost the signal. They worked like a charm! They are originally the idea of this site:, and I got the template to build the antennas from here:

Some pictures of the new wireless router:


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So sadly, it looks like I won't be able to come back to Minnesota again this summer. It's taking much longer than I anticipated to score slides and time is really running out (is anyone else wishing they had a few more days this summer? I sure do..).

I was hoping someone could remove my bags from the ground sometime this week. I've posted a file with all the individuals who should have a bag located just south of the plant. I hope this isn't a very busy week for you guys! The bags can definitely wait if that's the case.


I think Amanda should still have a file on her computer with labels for each individual plant. Coin envelopes were the perfect size for the baggies so hopefully there are still some of those left in storage.

Also, some of the bags may rip when you pull them out of the ground. To retrieve the membranes you may have to dig so you should have a trowel ready. You won't have to dig more than 5 cm to find the brightly colored mesh with the membranes. Thank you so much for your help!


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So, I know I have been missing from the flog lately, but that is only because I was saving up all my flog posts to make one huge, wonderful one! But this is not that post. First of all,
Here is the aphid search data for the past 6 weeks. Each plant has a unique RecordID that identifies it though all three tables. The UnitID field, while it might seem repetitive, is just from the format used on the Hjelm house computer. We have found 263 plants so far, but about 20 of them were can't finds in following weeks.

This still lacks the transect searches that we will do next week, at which time I shal post an updated version. Note that even though this says Final version, this is just where I save all the final versions of my tables, as opposed to the working versions I use to sort out the tables.

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Today I found some healthy-looking Echinacea seedlings at my experimental plot in Perch Lake WPA near Leola, SD.
Thumbnail image for P8091480.JPGView image
The DNR sprayed this area (including my plot) last week, in an effort to eradicate yellow toadflax. It seems that my seedlings were shielded by the tall grass. It's also likely that the seedlings are not in a rapidly growing stage, so they may have been less vulnerable than other broad-leaf plants.

Here's another picture:


Come to the farm for a picnic celebrating the near end of the Echinacea season. I'll be making pesto and roasted zucchini and yellow squash. Jean is making brownies. We'll provide drinks and s'more necessities-including a monster burn pile. Hope to see you 6:30ish.

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Until I get the website done, this list of measurements is all I can offer you. The measurements are in pixels. The measurements were made from multiple pollen on a single slide.Slide list.xls

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I found a few things besides Echinacea plants, while searching for plants that may have died in the common garden. I found a fossil shell. I gave it to Per and he held on to it for a while but dropped it. Someone else will find it! I found a stylus (for a handspring visor). It's probably Gretel's; she lost hers earlier this year. I found a snake skin with an intact top of head--the eyes were transparent-cool! Per gave to Hattie, I think. I found a mouse in a mouse nest (right on top of dead Echinacea leaves from last year). The mouse bounded away. Also, Ruth called while I was searching to say that she had just found the serial cord for the survey station data collector that we couldn't find--we had been looking for that for a few days. Wahoo! Finally, I emptied my pockets of litter that I had picked up: three pieces of flagging, one melted plastic plug label, and 2 blue plastic cocktail stirrers.


Stuff from Stuart's pocket: stylus (1), flagging bits (3),
melted plastic plug label (1), blue plastic cocktail stirrers (2)

We are making great progress on annual measurements of plant in the common garden. On Monday we finished measuring all plants (~10000). On Tuesday we finished placing staples at all locations where plants died overwinter in 2007-2008 (>700). Today we made a huge dent in "rechecks."

Rechecking is when we revisit all the locations where we recorded a "can't find" and left a flag while measuring. We placed about 1500 flags. About 700 of those "can't finds" were stapled this year. So, we just verified that staples were in the correct locations and pulled flags. Some locations had staples from previous years that a measurer didn't find. We pulled flags there too. Then there were the plants that were alive last year. We rechecked those and found quite a few plants. Each time someone found one, they yelled "wahoo" and the rest of us responded with a whoop and a holler.

Shucks, it was fun!! Actually I was burned out by the end. Next year we should plan two 2h sessions instead of one 4h session.

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Perplexed by Stuart's question - a trip to the hilltop here in Watertown, and Mimi's poster, I checked again on the amorpha pollen - it is NOT bean shaped. But I do have reliable pictures - (Amanda don't bother getting its pollen tomorrow)

What keeps amorpha and medicago sativa from occupying the same locations? Legume wars underground? Does Andrea have insight?
Amorpha canescens g.jpg

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A list of equipment we need for demo was posted here:

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Here's a snippet of R code showing how to extract info from the shrivel character data (a file is below...
df <- data.frame(shrivel.txt =c("x", "xoxx", "xxxx", "oooo", "xoooo"))
df      # start off with this data frame

df$shrivel.count <- nchar(as.character(df$shrivel.txt)) #add column

vx <- gsub("o", "", df$shrivel.txt)  # replace o with ""
df$shrivel.xs <- nchar(vx)           # make a new column in df

vo <- gsub("x", "", df$shrivel.txt)  # replace x with ""
df$shrivel.os <- nchar(vo)           # make a new column in df

df      # final data frame
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Yesterday we finished measuring in the Common Garden! Here are some details about the protocol used for 2009:

Gardens: Inbreeding & INB2 we used the same form as in 2008. Basal and Flowering Rosettes were counted separately. Crisp leaves were included in the leaf counts.

Gardens: 2001, Monica's, SPP, Big Batch, and 96-99 we used an abbreviated form. We did not record data on insect damage. Insects on all rosettes (basal and flowering) were recorded on the main form. Insects on the heads were recorded on the subform. Cauline leaves were not counted. The longest cauline leaf (longest leaf on the tallest flowering rosette) was recorded on the main form. For basal leaves, crisp leaves were included in leaf counts and also noted, as were leaves that were "gone." Pips or duds with no florets were only recorded if there was a peduncle long enough for a twist-tie collar.


Staples mark positions in the Common Garden where plants have died. Our policy has been to add a staple to a position where a plant has not been found for 3 years. This year, we've followed that protocol for the Inbreeding and INB2 gardens. However, we have added staples in Big Batch, 2001, SPP, Monica's, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 1999s where plants have only been "Can't Find" for TWO years. This should minimize the time it takes to search positions. We hope that plants and staples won't both be found at the same position in the future.

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In response to Caroline's request for more locations to plant Stipa in the common garden, I have selected 208 new locations at random. This map shows the new locations in green. (Blue dots are the previously selected locations.) mapOfStipaInCG2newsHighlighted.pngClick this thumbnail to see a full-sized image.

Here's a file listing all 208 location. It's suitable for making 208 labels for 208 seeds! stipaSeedLabels2.csv

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I went on a fantastic bike ride yesterday and saw a large prairie restoration on the east side of county road 7 between Moe Hall Rd SW and Tower Hill Rd SW. I also saw a population of Ratibida and Desmodium on the west side of County Rd 15 between MN-27 and Tower Hill Rd SW. Sorry I couldn't be more specific with my directions but if you bike or drive those sections of road you will definitely find the spots.

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2 graphs that are basically the same as the one with alfalfa on my poster, bu tusing sweet clover and amorpha instead. Although amorpha is the most common native species in floral neighborhoods per unique plant, there are only 43 plants that had either just amorpha, just echinacea, both , or neither. For sweet clover, the sample size is 82, but the graph isn't very impressive either....

Do you think either one is usable? I originally wanted to use the most common native and the most common exotic (alfalfa and amorpha).
ecan amca meof comparison graphs.xls

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Hey yall,
Back in Chi town finally after about 10 hrs of traveling. I said "Get er done" to someone today out of habit and got a weird look. Thanks guys. I'm also going through baked goods and other delicious foods withdrawal.

Final version of poster: Jenkins REU09.pdf

Hope everyone's doing well in K-town! I miss yall already...and my bike :(

ps. I knew Roxy would come through for us. Warren should've known better after the snake incident.

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August looks like it will be my busiest month this summer. I'm currently working on four species, and will expect to start two more before the end of the month. Here's the status of my species so far.

Pediomelum esculentum- I have collected fruit from all of my experimental plants. I have not started to count seed yet.

Dichanthelium oligosanthes- I have finished collecting fruit and am in the process of counting seed. From what I've seen so far, D. oligosanthes is SC, although I can't rule out agamospermy.

Asclepias viridiflora- These plants are also in fruit. Of my selfed flowers, only one has remained on the peduncle. I doubt it will turn into a fruit, which could mean one of two things: A. viridiflora is SI, or I'm not qualified to be an Asclepias pollinator.

Potentilla arguta- My plants have finished flowering and are in fruit. I'm waiting for them to mature so I can start collecting.

Panicum capillare- I have about twelve inflorescences bagged and am trying to get the "styles on agar" method to work.

Cirsium altissimum- There are lots of plants and will be over a hundred heads to work with out at Hegg Lake. At this point none have flowered yet, but I have them all flagged, twist-tied, and ready to go.

Potentilla pensylvanica- I have been pollinating these at Glacial Lakes State Park for a few days now. They don't flower a lot and they are nearing the end of flowering, but I believe I will manage to get enough pollinated before they finish. Either way, Glacial Lakes is a beautiful place to be doing field work!

Teucrium canadense- While checking out some Carex yesterday I discovered Teucrium growing at the back hill. There were enough plants to work with and not yet done flowering, so I flagged and bagged today. Tomorrow I will begin pollinations.

I also expect to be working with at least Muhlenbergia cuspidata and Solidago speciosa before the summer ends.

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I'm about half-way through scanning Stipa seeds and organizing them for planting, and may have underestimated how many we have! I thought we'd have approximately 6 seeds per maternal plant and, if we collected from 400 maternal plants in the field, that's 2400 seeds. Stuart picked ~2600 positions to plant in. Plenty, right? Well, after assigning positions to seeds from 208 plants, I have 214 to go. That means I underestimated the number of plants we collected from. Also, we're averaging more like 6.4 seeds per maternal plant. Another underestimation. I think we need another 200 positions to comfortably assign all seeds to their new homes the garden. What do you think?

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Warren ventured into the Hjelm house again today. Gretel and Hattie & I tried to urge him to leave. Warren tried to hide, but Roxy found him and escorted him out.

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We went out for a family hike this afternoon and near a nice little wetland found a patch of Teucrium that's still flowering. Details available upon request!

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