The boat I bought for the Pathfinder club two three years ago this month is finally rehabilitated. I named her Miss Nancy after a dear woman from our church who died a few years back. Here she is:

Nancy Nichols

The real Miss Nancy

Miss Nancy the boat was in awful condition when I got her, but I saw that she had promise. I stripped off the badly laid fiberglass and reglassed her. I replaced her front stem and shortened her up by a few inches so her planking would reach the stem (it didn’t when I got her). I made new gunwales, new decks, and a new thwart. So here’s the before shot:

Miss Nancy: Before

Miss Nancy: Before

And here are the “after” shots, including a voyage Beth and I took her on before I completed the last finishing touch (which was to varnish the seat spacers and a spot on the deck I had to repair).

Almost done (needs a few spot varnished)

Almost done (needs a few spot varnished)

Ready to cruise

Ready to cruise

From the stern with Beth in the bow seat

From the stern with Beth in the bow seat

That was a lot of work! Now all I need to do is finish Miss Emma and Miss Sally (they don’t need nearly as much attenention as Miss Nancy did), and the Pathfinders will have enough canoes to take a river trip.

I was in Kentucky last week visiting my family. I was shocked and amazed to see this at my brother’s place!

Bigfoot

He disappeared before I could get a better shot

After a nice afternoon nap, Penny talked me into taking her on a walk to Sandogardy Pond. We had been away for ten days visiting relatives in Kentucky, and she stayed here with David. She missed us!

Before we even got off our property, I stumbled across the largest colony of Indian pipe (Monoflora unitropa) that I think I’ve ever seen. This one looked especially nice against a backdrop of moss.

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

I was pleased to see some fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata) in the ditch along the road. There used to be a lot more of it, but the Japanese knotweed has been expanding along the ditch, forming a huge monoculture and displacing native species as it goes along. Here is one of the flowers, shot from underneath:

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

And here’s what the plant looks like. Notice how the flowers nod:

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

This patch of woods along th way was covered up with ripe blueberries. I stopped, picked, and devoured about a pint of them.

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Just before the pond, there was a batch of shinleaf pyrola. I think this was as nice a batch of them as I have ever seen:

Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica)

Shinleaf
(Pyrola elliptica)

We got to the pond, but I could tell there were a lot of people there picnicking and swimming. Not wanting to bother them, we detoured down the the stream that drains the pond, and Penny jumped right in:

Penny cools off

Penny cools off

We approached the pond from the other side, stopping to look at the bluebead lilies:

Bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis)

Bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis)

Over at the other end of the beach (the part that is somewhat overgrown with alder), I found one of the plants I was hoping to see – swamp candles. This was was blooming next to a wild rose:

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

The pickerel weed was also in bloom, but it was just starting – it will be more photogenic in another week or so. There was what I know is a variety of St Johnswort growing on the beach, and I think it might be dwarf St Johnswort. But I have not yet confirmed that.

Dwarf St Johnswort (Hypericum mutilum)?

Dwarf St Johnswort (Hypericum mutilum)?

We’ll go back again soon Penny!

I took a lap around my woods this evening. This was the most interesting find:

Dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica)

Dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica)


The identification is, of course, conjectural. It was the closest match I could find via a cursory Internet search.

I was also very pleased to find my painted trilliums (Trillium undulatum). There are a few growing in my woods, and I have not been able to find them for the past couple of years. I went off-trail this evening and stumbled upon them. They were far past the blooming stage, and the forest was pretty dark to begin with, so I didn’t bother trying to take their picture. But I did make some mental notes to their location – about half way between my tapping maple, and the fallen log where the trail bends in the southwest corner of our plot – but off the trail another 40 feet to the north.

If I forget again, maybe you can remind me…

Yeah, I know.  I haven’t posted anything here since September.  I don’t know when I’ll post again, as I have been tremendously busy of late, and that promises to continue through at least the end of the summer.  Don’t hold your breath for another – I don’t know when that will be.

Yesterday I took a lap around my woods trail and saw that the Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) and partridge berry (Mitchella repens) were in bloom.  I took some photos, and returned this morning for a few more.  Here’s what I got.

Sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)

Sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)


These haven’t bloomed on my property in quite some time, and this is a new patch of them that I have never seen in bloom. I really like them!

Patridge berry (Mitchella repens)

Patridge berry (Mitchella repens)


I thought this shot of the partrige berry was pretty OK! Patridge berries generally have two flowers with four petals each, and fused at the base. They combine to make a single berry with two “eyes”. I was a bit surprise to see an unusual pair of them, one of which had five petals. I don’t recall having ever seen one that didn’t have four petals, so I had to document…

5-petaled partidge berry (Mitchella repens)

5-petaled partidge berry (Mitchella repens)

When I finished documenting that one, I saw another – this one had a pair sporting three-petals on one, and five on the other:

3-petaled and 5-petaled patridge berry (Mitchella repens)

3-petaled and 5-petaled patridge berry (Mitchella repens)


It was not a particularly good looking specimen, but I had never seen one with three petals either. So here’s the proof.

Word has it that we might see an aurora tonight, so I’ve been keeping an eye on the sky since sunset. That’s hard to do at my house since we live in the woods. Luckily, Sandogardy Pond’s beach is on its south shore giving a decent tree-free view of the northern horizon. So I drove over (it was dark!) to take a look there:

Sandogardy Pond

Sandogardy Pond

This was a 15 second exposure. You can see most of the Big Dipper there towards the left. But no aurora.

Sigh.

Here are two plants in bloom right now whose common name begin with “ground.” First, the ground nut (Apios americana)

Ground Nut (Apios americana)

Ground Nut (Apios americana)

This is a plant I searched for back when that’s how I tried to find edible wild plants. I would identify the plant from a book, and then go out looking for it. I never found it that way. Later, I switched to identifying what I had found, and this turned up in the backyard at the edge of the woods. It has an edible tuber, and I have eaten them on a few occasions. This is the only stand of ground nut that I know of, so I have been going easy on them. Over the past five years, they have spread by an order of magnitude, and I think that in a couple of years, I should be able to harvest them less conservatively.

The second “ground” plant is the ground bean:

Ground Bean (Amphicarpaea bracteata)

Ground Bean (Amphicarpaea bracteata)

The “amphicarpaea” portion of its binomial name means something like “two kinds of flowers”. These are the open flowers. The other type are closed, which may be above ground, or below ground. The closed flowers self-pollinate.

A lot of source call these “hog peanuts”, but I don’t call them that any more, as Samuel Thayer (an edible wild plant author) says it’s a racial slur against Native Americans. They used this plant as a food source, and the Europeans refused to eat them, insisting they were only fit for hogs. And by extension, by Native Americans. They were missing out on a good thing, as these beans are quite good. However, they are difficult to collect. The Native Americans let small rodents collect them on their behalf. The critters would squirrel them away in underground storage holes, and when the people found these caches, they would take half, leaving the rest for the hard-working rodents.

I have not had the fortune of finding a rodent cache of these, so the only way I can get them is by digging. The edible “beans” come from the underground flowers, and are therefore located underground. They are worth the effort though.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers