Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)


I took a picture of this wood frog (Rana sylvatica) on Tuesday. It apparently has an injured right eye, but I didn’t notice that until I downloaded the photo to my computer and zoomed in on the detail (I do that the assess image quality). Poor little guy!
Update: Maybe he just has mud in his eye?

I was out in the yard trying to decide how realistically I’d be able to teach the edible wild plants honor here at my house. It wasn’t looking that great if I got a big crowd of people. I still have blueberries and the blackberries are just coming in, but I need three berries. The wintergreen is in flower now, there just aren’t many berries out there. The partridge berries are still very unripe, as are the autumn olive and dew berries. So I can only manage two berries here right now. On top of that, all the hazelnuts I had seen earlier in the summer have been decimated:

Robbed!

Robbed!


Samuel Thayer, in Nature’s Garden holds that people can get to the hazels before the animals do – you just have to stay on top of them. Well, I’m going to have to contest that. I have been checking on them daily, and the ones I can still find are still not ripe. Maybe Thayer doesn’t have chipmunks. In fact, on Tuesday I picked one that I considered unripe and buried it in the mud (Thayer’s recommendation – this softens the prickly hull and makes it easier to get the nut out). When I did this, I counted about a dozen nuts on one small (but particular) tree. When I returned to that tree yesterday, there was not one nut still on it. I dug up the one I had buried, and I will open it soon to see if it was ripe or not. I don’t think it was though, as the color was definitely on the yellow end of the spectrum rather than the darker brown I would expect.

The bottom line is that I have decided to teach the Electricity honor instead. I just don’t have the quantities of plants needed here to support a troop of kids.

Beth and I took Penny for a walk down to Sandogardy Pond this afternoon after lunch. On the way I saw some asters in bloom.

Aster

Aster


I won’t even try to put a species name on these. There are hundreds of possibilities when it comes to asters, and I have not equipped myself to distinguish them.

When we got there, I went poking around the dock to see if I could find any arrowhead (Sagitaria graminea), and to my surprise, the floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) had bloomed.

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata)


I took several shots and then moved a little farther up the shore away from the dock when I saw a pretty large snake lying motionless in the pickerelweed. I watched it for a bit trying to decided if it was alive or not (it was so large I wasn’t even sure if it was real). I followed his body with my eyes until I found his head, and then I was sure that he was both real and alive, so I maneuvered my camera into position spooking him. So instead of a nice shot showing how big this guy was, all I could get was his head:
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

I went over to the other side of the dock and then walked up the shoreline where there was a lot of pickerelweed. I got these shots:

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)


And a close-up of one of the blossoms:
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)


Pickerelweed is trystylus, meaning that the styles (the female part of the flower) come in three distinct lengths relative to the length of the stamen (male part). Thus, when a bee comes by, it won’t transfer pollen from the stamen to the style of the same plant. I think that’s pretty cool.

I almost stepped on this little guy:

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)


This is one that I first saw last year, and was somehow able to remember its name. If my identification is correct, this is a insectivorous plant. The blossom here is tiny – maybe an eighth of an inch across.

While we were there I also went looking for some Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum). This is another plant that grows near water and blooms in the mid to late summer. It was in bloom the last time I went to Sandogardy, and I took several poor photos of it. Today I wanted to take some better shots, but I was hard pressed to find any with open blossoms. I did not think they quit flowering that quickly. I finally did find one with an open bloom:

Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Virginia Marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Beth and I then headed back to the house, and I took a nice two-hour nap. Va woke me for supper, and after we finished that, David asked if I wanted to go to Sandogardy. But of course I did! He didn’t know Beth and I had already been, as he also took a nap after lunch – only he started his well before we did. Beth wanted to join us for a second walk too, and of course, Penny never turns down an opportunity like that.

So off we went. When we got there, I found that the prodigious number of Virginia Marsh St Johnswort that is indeed there had all opened their blossoms while I slept. So I took a few more shots.

T. virginicum

T. virginicum

This one came out half decent (though if I ever fix my tripod mount on this camera, I’m sure I could do better). Pretty much all my shots this summer have been hand-held.