July 2012


I spotted this plant today during my evening walk about the yard.

Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)

Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)


I thought that even though this is a native plant, it looks alien. As in extraterrestrial.

I also spotted some Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)along the edge of the woods. I wasted no time in pulling that nasty stuff up. Left unchecked, it will take over a place and choke out all the native plants. I hope I got it all, but I will be sure to monitor that spot closely throughout the rest of the growing season.

Last week the wild woodland sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus) at the end of my driveway bloomed.

Woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)

Woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)


At least, that’s what I think they are. I always look forward to these, and now, here they are. I took this photo two days ago, but only got it off the camera a few minutes ago. It was a nice surprise. πŸ™‚

Tonight after dinner Beth was complaining about “being bored.” I gave her the usual suggestions – clean your room, clean the living room, read a book, write a book, pick some berries (I offered to pay her the going rate for them), but none of those appealed to her. So she went upstairs.

The Internet was sluggish, and then I almost got bored too. πŸ˜‰ So I proposed a walk to Sandogardy. She wanted to swim, and I wanted to get a picture of a bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea). So we leashed up Penny, and we were off.

I wasn’t expecting anyone to be there at 6:00pm on a Friday, but there was a family of four swimming, and two other groups in paddle boats. The swimming family was the one whose kids like to throw the sticks into deep water for Penny. Oh well – she needed exercise too. Beth swam, and I went looking for the bullhead lily. Before I found one, I came cross some swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris) still blooming (they are mostly done now, but these were still looking good). I brought my big tripod, since I wanted to photograph the bullhead, and they grow in a couple of feet of water.

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

.
Turns out I needed the big tripod to get a decent shot of these too. While I worked with the swamp candles, I was also scanning for the bullheads. I found some not too far off shore, shed my shoes and socks, and zipped off the legs of my pants. Then I went in.
Bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea)

Bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea)


I liked this shot the best, but all of them came out to my satisfaction.

I waded back to shore and gathered up my shoes. Then I noticed some water hemlock (Cicuta maculata). It too could take advantage of the big tripod.

Water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

Water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)


This is said to be the most poisonous plant in North America. It is superficially similar to the wild carrot (aka Queen Anne’s lace), but they are not difficult at all to distinguish. The leaves are completely different, as are the stems. The flowers and habit are the most similar, but even those can be easily distinguished. In my opinion, no one should ever eat a wild carrot until they have seen one of these and can tell them apart a million times out of a million.

This guy didn’t seem to care though:

Lady beetle on water  hemlock

Lady beetle on water hemlock

Today Beth, Penny, and I walked down to Sandogardy Pond. I was not pressed for time today, so there was no need to drive. Beth wore her swimsuit (as did Penny), and I brought my camera. Beth swam and Penny chased sticks. There were lots of kids there to throw them for her, though most of them wanted to throw them into the deeper water. Being a Border Collie, she dutifully swam out and fetched them, but I could see it was making her pretty tired. I called her over to me, and the two of us wandered to the other end of the beach, away from the swimming area.

And along the way, I saw a lot more floating hearts than yesterday.

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


And here’s a cluster.
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

We walked a little farther down the beach, and I noticed that not too far off shore, and in shallow water there were some water lilies (Nymphaea odorata). So once again, I took off my shoes and socks. I also zipped the legs off my pants and stuffed those into my boots on top of my socks. Then I went in:

Water lilies (Nymphaea odorata)

Water lilies (Nymphaea odorata)


It was worth it to me. I got several shots just like this, but only thought it fitting to post one.

Penny became impatient with me while I was “offshore” so she meandered back to the beach to find a more willing stick thrower. She was not disappointed. Meanwhile, Beth was practicing her American crawl:

Swimming in Sandogardy Pond

Swimming in Sandogardy Pond


She learned this at summer camp, and it has made her a much better swimmer.

The kids kept throwing sticks deep for Penny, and we had already been there for an hour, so I decided it was time to head back to the house. I leashed Penny up and told Beth to get out. She asked if she could swim back out the end of the dock first, and that sounded reasonable to me. While she was doing that, I spotted a flower I had just been talking about in my comments on yesterday’s post:

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)?

Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)?


I think this is Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), but I could be wrong on that. The flowers look about right, but it’s not growing in the water, and I’ve never seen the bug-catching bladders. So maybe it’s something else.

Beth was out by the time I was done photographing the bladderwort, so we walked home. Then the family had lunch, and then Beth was bored. She went to the neighbor’s house and played with her for an hour, and then came back home, bored again. So I suggested that the two of us ride bikes to Franklin and get an ice cream. She agreed, and we were off.

It took us about an hour to get to Franklin. There were hills aplenty, but none of them were too brutal. I bought some ice cream and a couple of bottles of water (forgot to fill the aluminum bottle before leaving the house). Then we crossed the road and at the ice cream in a park. I poured the water from one of the bottles into my aluminum one. Then we set out for home. The first leg of that journey was up a steep hill. The slope became gentler as we climbed, but we did walk up the first quarter mile. From the top of that hill it was downhill almost all the way home. Wheeeee!

We were both pretty tired when we got to the house. The whole journey took 2:35, which I think was pretty good for a ten year-old girl and a dad with too much gut. We might do this again one of these days.

Today I went down to Sandogardy Pond for a short time. I usually walk there, but I didn’t have time for that today, so I drove (shame on me!). Beth wanted to swim, so she suited up, and Penny wanted to chase sticks, so she came along too. I headed to the creek where I saw the mystery plant yesterday. The helpful New Hampshire Gardener suggested that the mystery plant could be Marsh Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata). I think he got the genus right, but I’m unsure on the species (the leaf has a fairly long petiole and S galericulata is sessile.

When I got there, the blossoms were gone, but the plant was still there. I pulled one up and took this photo.

Scutellaria?

Scutellaria?


The problem is that it doesn’t seem to perfectly match any of the Scutellaria in my books either. I will keep looking.

Before I even got to the mystery plant for a re-examination, I spotted some floating heart in bloom!

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


Off came my shoes and socks, and up went my pant legs. I waded out and took several shots.
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


Then I saw some wet blossoms, and their petals were becoming translucent.
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) partially immersed

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) partially immersed


Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) after full immersion

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) after full immersion


I didn’t notice it had visitors until I got home.

Nice.

The dewdrops (Dalibarda repens) are doing really well this year at my place. When I first found them, they were confined to one little clump next to my path. Then another year later, I found another much smaller clump, and the year after that I found another batch as well. But this year they seem to have spread all over the lower half of my west woods. And since I cannot resist their lure, you will have to look at more photos of dewdrops.

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)


Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)


Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

But I also have other flowers for you too. I went to Sandogardy Pond (again) yesterday with Penny and took these:

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)


I’m pretty sure this one is not as far along as the one before. I guess the stamens disappear and turn into a little green ball after it’s pollinated. I can assure you though that they are both the same species.

The “purpose” of my walk (other than that I like walking there) was to find some floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) in bloom and get some photos of that. This one is a little tricky. It grows in water that’s a little too deep for my tiny tripod, and much too deep for my shoes. And if the blooms get wet, they turn transparent. I found a few transparent flowers, but since that doesn’t make a very compelling photograph, I didn’t take one. But I did take a shot of some of their foliage:

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


The water level was down here, so these leaves were lying on the ground. They normally float, and thus the name “floating heart.” I will keep trying to get a decent shot of the flowers, and next time I see a transparent one, I’ll try to photograph that too so you know what I’m talking about.

Penny and I did a little bushwhacking when we left the banks of the pond. It would have been easier to go back the way I came, but I thought I might see something Ihaven’t seen before if I took the non-road less travelled. I was right.

Unknown!

Unknown!


I don’t know what this is. I will probably try to find it in one of my books later tonight (unless any helpful New Hampshire Gardeners can tell me before then).

Hint, hint!

Yesterday I went for a walk at lunchtime, and I became the lunch. There is a trail around exit 13 on I-93, and I had been there one time before. It’s about a mile hike from the office to there. At a brisk rate, I can be there in 20 minutes, spend 20 minutes poking around with the camera, and then hike back in 20 minutes. But the mosquitoes are thick! They nearly carried me off.

This trail is right along the Merrimack, but it doesn’t offer views of the river. Maybe that’s why I don’t go there more often. There was also plenty of noise offered by the Interstate, and I’m sure that played into it as well. A little deet would have warded off the mosquitoes, so that’s not much of an issue.

Here are some of the plants I found while there.

Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)


This is Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata). The blooms nod, so you have to get beneath them and shoot up at the sky to capture their “fronts”. Here’s what they look like from a normal perspective:
Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)

This is the plant I thought I saw at Sandogardy the other day, but it turned out to be swamp milkweed instead.

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)


I was surprised when I looked it up to see that the genus has changed from Eupatorium to Eutrochium. This is recent. I learned it as Eupatorium, which is the same genus as boneset (E. perfoliatum). The difference between the two genera is that one has whorled leaves (Eutrochium), while the other has opposite leaves (Eupatorium).

Here’s what it looks like from farther back.

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

It wasn’t long after I took that shot that I gave it up and beat a path back to the sidewalk to escape the mosquitoes. One nailed me behind the earlobe, but most of them bit my hands. One tried to get my nose right under the bridge of my glasses, but I managed to murder it first.

Here are some shots I took in my woods.

Moss

Moss


I used to know what kind of moss this is, but I don’t remember now, and I am not going to look it up (bad blogger!) This shows the reproductive bits. Those capsules will spew spores all over the place sometime soon. I think they look other-worldly.

And I can’t resist another shot of the dewdrops (Dalibard repens).

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Today I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond. Since I have been bike riding of late rather than walking, she hasn’t had a chance to come along (it’s hard to take a dog on a bike ride).

When we got there, it was a tad crowded, with eight or ten people swimming in the pond and another dozen or more sitting on lawn chairs on the beach. Kids were immediately drawn to Penny, and Penny made it clear to them that she would like them to throw sticks. So they did. Meanwhile, I took pictures of some of the flowers blooming at the water’s edge.

Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)

Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)


I found some Indian tobacco growing all up and down the beach. I posted a shot of some of this yesterday, but I think this one is better. Another lobelia is water lobelia (L. dortmanna).
Water lobelia (L. dortmanna)

Water lobelia (L. dortmanna)


I think this is the prettiest lobelia. They are somewhat more difficult to photograph, as they grow out in the water complicating the use of my tiny tripod, and there’s not a lot of flower there making it hard for the camera to find what to focus on. But this photo came out pretty nice.

Pretty soon Penny was trying to get me to throw sticks instead of the kids (they were throwing them into deep water where Penny has a hard time retrieving them). The kids followed and began peppering me with questions.

“Whatcha doin’?”
“What kind of plant is this?”
“Are you taking pictures of frogs?”
“Do you want me to catch one for you?”

I didn’t want them to catch any frogs, but was powerless to stop them. They only caught one, and it was an unusual one.

Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)

Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)

No telling where its fourth leg went. My guess is that it just never developed (I was going to say that it was born without it, but duh – all frogs are born without legs).

Penny was getting pretty tired, and the kids kept throwing sticks for her. She needed to rest, but wouldn’t as long as there were willing stick throwers about. I ended up calling her away so she could lie down and drink.

The kids tried to follow as we set out down the trail along Little Cohas Brook, but their parents called them back. We went down to the bridge (where the trail crosses the creek) and I spotted what I initially thought was a stand of Joe Pye weed. I went in for a closer look.

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)


Nope. It was swamp milkweed (Asclepias incaranta), and it had a large contingent of butterflies. Nice. This is a milkweed I don’t see that often.

Penny followed me into the mud for a look at the milkweed, but unlike me, she was not careful to keep her feet clean. So we went back to the pond. I threw a stick in the water to get her to go in and wash some of that off. It worked, and she was soon presentable again. Then we headed back to the house.

Earlier his week while I was walking around the church yard, I spotted a common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) in bloom. Michael (a youngster in our congregation) was tagging along, and he spotted this goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) on the plant before I did.

Goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia)

Goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia)


These spiders have the ability to change their color from white to yellow, and all shades in between. They will typically match the color of the petals, but I have seen them match the color of a flower’s styles as well. Tricky little beasts they are!

Here are some other shots I have taken this week.

Cow wheat (Melampyrum lineare)

Cow wheat (Melampyrum lineare)


Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)


Yet Another Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Yet Another Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)


Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)

Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)


St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)


My week has been a little off. On Sunday we took Beth up to Maine for summer camp. We haven’t heard from her since then, which feels pretty weird. I have enjoyed the quiet, but I have missed my little girl! I will go fetch her on Sunday.

I’ve been riding my bicycle some this week. Wednesday I got it out and turned left out of my driveway to ride straight up a long, steep hill. It goes up and up and up for about a mile. That will take the wind out of any guy with too much tummy. The ride down was over in an instant though.

One of the things I want to be able to do is ride my bike into Franklin and then back. Not that there’s anything so great about Franklin – it’s just a destination.

When I got home I looked at some topographic maps with the idea that if I had turned right (downhill) out of my driveway instead of left (uphill), and then hung two more rights, I would be on Oak Hill Road, which also goes to Franklin, but it is closer to the river. I figure that since it’s closer to the river, it should have less in the way of hills. The topo confirmed this.

So on Thursday, I figured go I’d try going that route, although not all the way to Franklin. Instead, I was planning to do a circuit. The problem is that Oak Hill is connected to Shaw Rd (where I live) by Gile Rd, and that road climbs 60 meters in about a kilometer – 200 ft in a half mile. That is one steep, hill. It’s basically the sum of the hill I went up on Wednesday, plus the hill I’d go down leaving my driveway. But I did it anyhow. That climb was brutal. The circuit was 8.3 miles, which is pretty much all I can do when there are 10% uphill grades involved.

I did it again today.

I think when Beth gets back, we may have to try the trip to Franklin. If we stick to Oak Hill Rd, I think we can manage it. Especially if we stop for ice cream when we get to Franklin.

Washington, NH is the home of the Washington Adventist Church, the first church where Adventists met to observe the seventh day as the Sabbath. It is a historic place. Last spring our local church was invited to provide church services for a few weeks there this summer. I volunteered, as did my friend Dan Orlinski. Another pair of our church leaders volunteered for an earlier date, but today was my date.

I suggested to Dan that rather than get up real early and drive there, we ought to just camp out Friday night. Dan is an avid outdoorsman, so he agreed without hesitation, and when I invited Beth, she was likewise enthusiastic.

So yesterday after work the three of us set out. I had meant to stop by the Pathfinder trailer and fetch my dutch oven on the way, but that somehow slipped my mind. Oh well.

We arrived at the Washington Church around 7:00pm. I unlocked the building (having been given the combination to the lockbox containing the key), and we went in to look around.

Washington Adventist Church

Washington Adventist Church


I have camped here with our Pathfinder club three or four times, but had never been inside the church, so this was a nice treat.

We locked it back up, pitched our tents, and then relaxed a bit. Then we hit the sack. Beth and I shared a tent, and Dan had one to himself. I slept as well as I always do on a campout, which is to say not very good. πŸ˜‰

I got up at about 6:30 and began preparing breakfast. A few years ago I made a “penny alcohol stove” from an aluminum beer can (which I got from the city recycling center). Google that for details if you’re interested. It weighs almost nothing and cost me a penny to make (except that I still have the penny). It burns for about ten minutes I guess, but I didn’t time it. That’s long enough to boil a quart of water, but I was making pancakes and eggs, not boiling water.

I had intended to cook the pancakes on the dutch oven’s lid, but having neglected to bring that particular item with me, opted to use my backpacking mess kit instead. It is not optimal for cooking pancakes, as it’s pretty hard to get underneath them to flip them over.

Frying pancakes

Frying pancakes


They tend to get scrambled during the flip, resulting in this:
Scrambled Pancakes

Scrambled Pancakes


They still tasted great even if they weren’t much to look at.

In addition to forgetting the dutch oven, I also forgot to bring a fork or a spoon. We keep that sort of thing in the Pathfinder trailer, so I don’t usually have to think of it. So I didn’t. Lacking a spoon, I fashioned one from the handle of the pancake bottle (seen the the photo two pics back). It worked out pretty well.

I also made up some scrambled eggs, and they came out about like scrambled eggs are supposed to. Beth passed on the pancakes, but eagerly ate some eggs. I ate some of everything.

After cleaning up the dishes, we took a short hike. There is a trail on the church property there called the Sabbath Trail, and it’s about a mile long. We didn’t do the whole mile right after breakfast though. It features 31 stops along the trail with a bench at each stop and a slab of polished granite with an episode recounting the history of the Sabbath etched into each.

We had to cut the hike short because we were supposed to open the church up at 10:00am for Sabbath School, and then a church service at 11:00. So we hustled back to camp and changed into our church clothes.

Several of the Seventh-day Adventist Church pioneers visited this church, including Joseph Bates, James and Ellen White, and J.N. Andrews. Beth was excited at the prospect of sitting in the same seat that these people had sat in 100 years ago, but since she didn’t know which ones they sat in, she decided to sit in them all. And she did, including in the balcony.

I set up Beth’s electric piano (plugged it into my car – it has a battery compartment, and I bought batteries for it, but even with that, it wouldn’t turn on). Then Dan led out for Sabbath School.

After that, we had a church service. No one was there except for the three of us. We were there in case someone else showed up, but no one did. A couple of hikers walked by, but they didn’t come in. Dan pointed out that there were enough of us there so that someone sat in every seat. Even if that someone was Beth.

I had prepared a sermon, and I will be giving the same one in Concord next week. This was good practice though, and I will change it a bit. Beth and I played Amazing Grace for special music – with me on the alto recorder, and her on the piano. We also played it with Beth on the organ (they have a very old, but working pump organ).

Then the church service was over, so we changed clothes again and finished our hike on the Sabbath Trail.

Along the way we saw several American toads, including this one:

Infected American toad (Bufo americanus)

Infected American toad (Bufo americanus)


It has what I think is a fungal infection around its eye. I have seen toads with this malady before, and initially thought it had gotten mud on its eye. But I don’t think this is mud. This will probably kill the toad, either directly (from the infection) or indirectly (from not seeing a predator approach from the right).

Soon, we crossed a bridge over a creek, and next to the bridge found some swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris) growing:

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)


These look a lot like whorled loosestrife, and are in fact in the same genus.

I also found a stand of partridge berry (Mitchella repens).

Partridge berry (Mitchella repens)

Partridge berry (Mitchella repens)


These are past the flowering stage on my property. I still see a few here and there, but for the most part, they are finished.

I was delighted to find this violet wood sorel (Oxalis violacea).

Violet wood sorel (Oxalis violacea)

Violet wood sorel (Oxalis violacea)


I haven’t seen any of this in about five years, and that was before I started carrying a camera around with me everywhere I went. Thus, these are the first photos I’ve taken of this species. πŸ™‚

To my further delight, I found several patches of dewdrops (Dalibarda repens).

Dewdrops (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrops (Dalibarda repens)


Until today, the only place I knew where any of these grew was on my property, and as I’ve written before, I don’t know how long they will survive on my place since the neighbor has cut down trees, converting my shady woods into sunny woods. Well, now I know another place to find them. I might have to make an annual trek to Washington to get my dewdrop fix.

After the hike, we returned to the church (and our camp site), and sat down for lunch. I was planning to cook some Ramen noodles on my penny alcohol stove, but couldn’t figure out what on earth I had done with it. I found it later in the wrong section of my backpack, but before lunch, it was nowhere to be seen. Instead, I ate an apple, some “broccoli slaw” (which I had never had before – it’s not bad, but I don’t know if I’ll have it again), and… some raw Ramen noodles. Beth insisted that some of her schoolmates do this all the time, and she likes raw Ramen. Well, I do prefer mine cooked.

After we ate, we struck the tents, packed the car, and headed home. It rained while we ate lunch, so the tents got wet. I have them pitched in the backyard right now to dry out.

We got back from our trip yesterday evening, and I must say, it is good to be home again. We will use today to recover from the trip, and there is plenty of recovery needed! This trip was pretty hard on our equipment. Not only did my camera finally give up the ghost, but the motherboard in Va’s laptop bit the dust too. Because of that, we had to share my laptop, which is why I didn’t do a lot of blogging during the trip. I need to get her a new computer. Our washing machine spins only when it feels like it, so I need to look into that as well. Hopefully it will feel like it today so we can get some much needed laundry done.

But all of that is boring stuff that. Let’s take a look at the photographic haul from the trip.

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)


This is Virginia buttonweed. It does not grow in New Hampshire, so the only time I ever see it is when we travel to the South. With the heat wave, it was not easy to find any open blossoms, but I did find a few. Here’s another.
Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)


This one seems to have caught the morning dew.

We set out for home Sunday morning, and mad our way through Tennessee. Va likes to stop at an outlet mall in Crossville. I stayed outside with Penny so she could get some exercise, which is when I saw this killdeer.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)


This one is in the middle of its “broken wing act,” a ruse it employs to distract a predator from its nest. I was not fooled, and Penny didn’t even notice (there were sticks to be chased!)

As we travelled, we saw plenty of electric utility trucks headed into Virginia. There was a convoy of about a hundred of them from Mississippi, and among them was this gigantic truck with Mexican plates.

Behemoth Spark Plugs

Behemoth Spark Plugs


Presumably, they were on their way to help restore power to the 3 million or so who lost it during the derecho that swept through the area.

So now we all know a new word.

We were worried that we’d have a hard time finding a place to buy gas, and that the combination of heat wave, power outage, and utility worker influx would make it hard to find a hotel. We usually just show up with a coupon book, but this time we called ahead. I’m glad we did too, because when we checked in in Wythville, VA, they were full. Breakfast was a mad house, but the scenery was not bad at all.

Hayfield in Wythville, VA

Hayfield in Wythville, VA


I especially like the lack of camera sensor dust in this photo. πŸ˜‰

I also found a plant I had never seen before, but thought I knew what it was.

Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria)

Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria)


Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria) is very similar to Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus). I had read about it in the past, but had never seen it until Monday. I just now looked it up and compared it to my photos, and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve got here. According to the USDA, it grows in NH, but I have never seen it here. I guess I should count myself lucky, as it is an invasive alien and has been declared a noxious weed by the state of Colorado.

After breakfast and repacking, we headed to Mt Crawford, VA so we could go to the Green Valley Book Fair. This is the highlight of the trip for Va. They have a huge warehouse full of books (mostly remainders) that they sell for 50-90% off. We bought about three dozen. I was hoping to pick up about a dozen copies of a field guide for the Pathfinders, but they didn’t have any that would be good for teaching an honor. I could have settled for ferns, edible wild plants, wild flowers, reptiles, or just about anything. But all they had was flowers in the western US, mammals (don’t really need a field guide for that), and one on the atmosphere. Maybe next time.

Next stop was in Pine Grove, PA where we spent the night. They have rabbits.

Rabbit

Rabbit


We’ve stayed at this place before, and they always have about half a dozen rabbits in the hotel yard. They were very concerned about Penny, but Penny was interested in sticks (so they were safe). I think the new camera takes better zoom shots than the old one. There’s still some noise in the photo, but not as much as with the 110.

We wended our way northward to NY, then to VT. We drove through Wilmington, VT and I stopped so we could see the park the Pathfinders worked on back in September after Irene rolled through. What a difference!

Municipal park in Wilmington, VT - After

Municipal park in Wilmington, VT – After


If you don’t remember, here’s what it looked like in September when we mucked it out.
Municipal park in Wilmington, VT - Before

Municipal park in Wilmington, VT – Before


Can you see the difference? I thought you could!

We finally rolled into our driveway around 7:30pm. I unloaded the trunk, but that was about it. I was too tired to do much of anything else. Sitting on your duff for three days straight takes it out of you!