August 2013


This afternoon Jonathan and I took Penny down to the pond. I brought the big tripod, but didn’t really find anything that motivated me to put the camera on it. But I did find something that motivated me to put it on the little tripod:

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


I’ve been looking for these all summer. The water has been high pretty much since spring, but has finally gone down to a “normal” level. Maybe that’s what these were waiting for.

There were lots of blackberries along the way, and I spent the whole walk stuffing my face with them. When we got back to the house, I took a short nap, and then took Penny for a lap around my woods.

I saw some more purple mushrooms. I’m not sure if these are the same thing as the ones I’ve seen in the past, but I can’t pass up a purple mushroom photo-op.

Another purple mushroom

Another purple mushroom

Not far from there was something I would never have predicted – a gaywings blossom in August.

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)


These usually put in an appearance in April or May. I have never seen one in August before. I suspect that with the cool temperatures we’ve had here this summer, this specimen decided to give blooming another go.

Ground nut (Apios americana)

Ground nut (Apios americana)


This is ground nut. It’s a plant I went looking for before I had ever found one because it has an edible root. That was back in the days when I would try to find what I had identified rather than trying to identify what I had found. I didn’t find this one when I was looking for it, but rather found it when I had decided to identify everything growing on my property.

The tubers were a staple among the Native Americans, and I did eat a few a couple of years after I found these. But I didn’t not eat a full serving because there were not very many here. I let them grow, and now they are far more abundant. I think I will dig some up next month.

This morning when we got to church I poked my head outside to see if the forked bluecurls has come up yet. They had:

Forked bluecurls (Tricostema dichotomum)

Forked bluecurls (Tricostema dichotomum)


This is one of my favorites. I love the stamens. Apparently, so did the person who name the plant “forked bluecurls”, because that’s what the name is talking about.

After church, and a nap, I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond. I wanted to see if the Pipewort was out yet. I think it’s too late now for the floating heart, so I’ve missed them this year. Oh well.

When we got there Penny went straight into the pond to cool down and get a drink. The ducks were nonplussed. They didn’t fly away, but they did back off. I took a few shots.

Ducks!

Ducks!


Not being a bird expert, I will not even try to id these. Wood ducks? Female mallard & young? I have no idea.

While looking for the pipewort, I found some Virginia marsh St Johnswort:

Virginia marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)

Virginia marsh St Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum)


These will be in bloom for pretty much the rest of the summer. They add a welcome splash of color to the beach.

Then I saw the pipewort. This one was close to short so I didn’t have to wade in after it.

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

But while I was setting up to take its photo, I saw the water lobelia a little farther out. I knew I wanted a photo of one, but I didn’t want to wade, so I went farther down the beach. Not finding more, I returned, took off my boots, rolled up the pants, and went after them.

Water lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)

Water lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)


I should have worn swimming trunks so I could have knelt down to get a steady shot. The light was perfect, but I was bent over trying to hold the camera steady while not going in so deep as to soak my pant legs. So the shot could have been better, but I really like the soft background!

Today I spent a little time in the woods behind my house. Pnny came along in case there were any sticks that needed retrieved. There were.

Here is a wintergreen (some call it teaberry, but I prefer to call it wintergreen) in bloom. This stuff is thick at my place, and I like that.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) in bloom

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) in bloom

I strayed from my trail and cut across the woods in hopes of seeing something different. Score! We have purple mushrooms:

Purple!

Purple!

And orange ones too:

Orange!

Orange!

At several points in my “walk” I would kneel down in the forest and just look at my surroundings, scanning only about three feet in each direction. Sometimes I find neat things that I would miss if I were just walking through with my eyes nearly 6 feet from the ground. This is the kind of stuff you can find when you do that:

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)

Starflower (Trientalis borealis) fruit


I recognized it immediately as a starflower. They have pretty flowers in the early spring, but I find their fruit even more interesting. This one was only about a 16th of an inch across (which is typical). The shot is cropped, but not not scaled much. I think it looks like a blue soccer ball.

In the front woods I checked out the hazel.

Beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta)

Beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta)


Not many nuts on them this year. I have tried harvesting them in the past with little luck. The squirrels and/or chipmunks here tend to harvest them before they get ripe, leaving none for me. The husks are covered with tiny prickers. If you grab one and pull you will be rewarded with a handful of spines. They detach from the husk and are so tiny that makes them nearly impossible to remove from the skin. But if I see a ripe one, I will pick it anyway. If I can ever get them in quantity, I’m sure I could figure out a good way to avoid the prickers.

We also have some Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata) growing here:

Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)

Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)


It is the lobelia I see most often, and it’s fairly prolific around the edges of the yard.

Maybe next week I will go to Sandogardy Pond to look for aquatic lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna).

Today I went to the field-that-was-a-forest to pick some blueberries. I had gone there a couple of weeks ago and picked about a pint and a half, but that’s not enough for making pie. (The recipes call for 5-6 cups). Penny came along in case I needed any sticks thrown, or grouse flushed.

Ruffed Grouse?

Ruffed Grouse?

There were at least three of them. Two flushed as soon as we walked by, and I didn’t even see them. The third flushed a few seconds later but didn’t go far. I think this one might be a juvenile, but I am not a bird expert. I’m not even sure it’s a ruffed grouse.

The berries were past their prime. Two weeks ago the bushes were loaded with them. This week I had to search diligently. I think I picked maybe a pint after an hour’s effort. Luckily, the blackberries are coming in now, and I picked a few cups of those too. Between the blueberries and the blackberries, I have enough to make a pie. There are recipes out there that use both, so I will follow one of those.