I haven’t uploaded any photos lately, but I have been taking a few. I guess it’s time to catch up.

Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)

Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)


Some people call this Indian Paintbrush or Orange Paintbrush. But whatever it’s called, it is an invasive alien in these parts. It is pretty though.
Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)


I was surprised to see this one, as I just wasn’t looking for it when it kinda popped out at me. Like the orange hawkweed, it’s another member of the aster family.
Louise's swallow-wort (Cynanchum louiseae)

Louise's swallow-wort (Cynanchum louiseae)


I don’t know who Louise is, but I do know that her swallow-wort is another invasive alien. This little crop grows along Loudon Road in Concord. It’s the only plant I know that has black flowers.
Pinks (Dianthus deltoides)

Pinks (Dianthus deltoides)


This is a stunning flower, and I always love taking its picture. I took this one while Jonathan and I were on our way to L.L. Beans (and Boloco, a burrito shop) for lunch the other day. These grow in a grassy area between an off ramp and I-93 along Loudon Road. Jonathan was rushing to catch the pedestrian light (to go under the Interstate), but I knew that was futile. They give you 17 seconds to cross two roads (and they count it down), and as it turns out, 17 seconds is just enough time to get to the second of the two roads. Then you’ve got to press the button again and wait another cycle. My stop here to photograph the Pinks though was… premeditated. There’s another patch of them just off the exit 3 off-ramp from I-393, but that’s even more inconvenient for purposes of photography.
Blue Toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis)

Blue Toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis)


Toadflax is another flower you’d miss unless you were looking for flowers. IMO, they are worth noticing. Not very big, but they are pretty pretty!
Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)


I’ve been seeing a patch of these along our ride to work, but haven’t really been able to stop and verify it. But then I saw this patch on our lunchtime trek to Bean/Boloco. I couldn’t take my time and get a nice shot though, because the light was about to turn green. Thus… the poor focus.
Painted Trillium (Trillium undulata)

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulata)


Here’s the painted trillium I took several pictures of while it was in bloom. I guess it’s in fruit now. See all the greenish-yellow powder? That’s pine pollen, and it is thick here right now. It floats on the water too, and washes up on shore. But at least it’s not crude oil.

Advertisements

Today Dennis and I walked down to Moe’s deli to grab some lunch. On the way back Dennis asked me “What’s all this I’ve been hearing about crocuses?” As it turns out, we were pretty close to the office by then, and that meant we were pretty close to Hermanos. So I told him, follow me, and I’ll show you.

I didn’t know if they would have bloomed yet or not, but I knew they were indeed crocuses, and I knew exactly where they had sprouted. Here’s what we found:

Crocus blossom

First Bloom of the Year


I’m not real pleased with this picture, but it’ll do I guess. It was kind of windy outside, and the bloom was shaking pretty bad. I had the exposure set to 1/30 second, and that’s slow enough to make a wind-blown flower blur. If the wind would have stopped for a moment, this coulda been a stunning shot. But oh well.

When we got back to the office I logged on to the Bloom Clock and entered it in as my first bloom of the year. I hadn’t been there in a while (no flowers since October or so in these parts), so I checked my watch list. There was a note on a friend’s talk page, so I read it. It was the (perhaps) tail-end of some high wiki drama, including some vitriol from Jimbo Wales about maybe shutting WIkiversity down. Jimbo founded Wikipedia BTW. And he de-sysopped my friend.

So! I dunno if I’ll continue with this bloom clock hobby or not. Maybe I’ll just set up my own wiki and keep my logs to myself. When the founder raises the spectre of closing down the project, that gets my attention, but not in a good way.

I’ve spent the evening getting ready for the Camporee this weekend. I have about a thousand things to do. Tonight I planned the menu and entered it into a pretty slick spreadsheet I developed a couple of years ago. For a given number of people it calculates how much and what kinds of foods I need to buy. For example, the meals we have that will feature bread as an ingredient are grilled cheese sandwiches, French toast, and PB&J . The speadsheet tells me I’ll need 12 loaves for that, which kinda makes sense. That’s roughly half a loaf per person. It does this for every ingredient I could think of for each meal, and since I’m reusing the menu from a previous time I used this spreadsheet, it should pretty much cover everything (it did before).

When I got home from work I took a quick walk on the trail through the woods. I found a goldthread (Coptis groenlandica) in bloom. Last year I didn’t see one of those until mid-May. Maybe this year I was looking closer? Here’s the pic I took of it.

Coptis groenlandica

Coptis groenlandica


This photo doesn’t show its leaves (I had to trace the stem beneath the fallen tree leaves to find this guys leaves a couple inches away. Once I found those, I remembered what this guy was). The leaf behind the bloom is from another plant, False Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense). Those should bloom in a couple more weeks.

I think it was yesterday when I found my first Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius) in bloom. That’s another interesting plant. The stem forks into four branches about halfway up. One goes straight up and sports the flower. The other three branch out away from one another and sport the foliage. Here’s what it looks like.

Panax trifolius

Panax trifolius


This year I might try my hand at identifying grasses too. But we’ll see. It’s hard enough keeping up with the plants I’m familiar with, much less adding grass.

More and more species of flowering plants are blooming every day now. It’s hard to keep up with them. Today it was tulips, periwinkle, birch trees, sugar maples, and a couple I have not yet identified. I went for a quick walk after lunch today and took several pictures. But I didn’t have a lot of time to dally around, because we have a lot to do in the office. I went for my walk anyhow because it helps to clear my head and keep me awake after lunch.

When I got home I took Penny outside and looked around the property for more blooms. Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern) is blooming right now. That’s not a fern at all, actually, which is why is can bloom in the first place. Ferns do not have flowers, nor do they have seeds. Rather, they produce spores. They also have a pretty interesting (i.e., non-traditional) life cycle. They produce male and female gametes which grow large enough to easily see with the naked eye. In humans (et al), gametes are the sperm and egg cells. But with ferns, these can exist independently for some time. Eventually, they get together and form a new plant. I don’t remember how exactly they do this, but I do recall that it involves water.

Anyhow, sweetfern is not a fern at all. The leaves are very fragrant and can be used as the basis for an herbal tea. If you are so inclined. In my study of edible wild plants, I found that MOST of them are great for making herbal teas. So if you’re ever stranded in the wilderness and want a tea-like drink, you’re in luck. Wintergreen, yarrow, goldenrod, and a whole slew of other plants fall into this category. You might still be hungry, but your tea cravings are sure to be satisfied.

Tomorrow promises to be busy. Va and Jonathan are heading to Vermont to take four seminars towards their Master Guide class (that’s a Pathfinder thing). I’m going to teach one of the seminars, but I have duties at church, so I won’t show up there until the afternoon. I’ll take Beth with me, but leave David at home to tend the dog. I have asked Cheryl to take my Juniors Sabbath School class, and I’m going to teach Va’s kindergarten class. I’ve never taught that age group, so this should be fun.

I have detected three plant species in bloom today. The crocuses I’ve already written about, so that’s one. The grape hyacinths (that I thought might be another variety of crocus) have not opened yet, so those don’t count. It only counts if the flower can be pollinated, and for that to happen, the blossom must open.

The second one I found was the infamous Taraxacum officianale, more commonly known as the Dandelion, and the third was Acer saccharinum, or what we naturalists call, the Silver Maple. I was somehow expecting the Red Maples (Acer rubrus) to bloom before the silvers, but didn’t really have a good reason for that. I didn’t catch the beginning of either’s bloom season last year, noticing that they had been in bloom well after they both started. Sugar Maples should come after both though. Those are hard to miss if you know what to look for. Sugar Maples have green flowers (not many plants do), so unless you’re paying attention, you could easily mistake them for leaves.

I found these while I was out for a walk today after eating my fourth-to-the-last Veggie Patty. I also saw what I expect is going to turn out to be some daffodils, but like the hyacinths, they have not yet opened, so they do not count. I logged all the “counting” ones at the Bloom Clock, but I have not detected anyone else there doing the same yet. Maybe it’s a dying project, I dunno. I haven’t heard a peep from the principal investigator yet either. So if any of my readers want to join in the fun, I implore you to do so.

I really enjoy identifying the plants, and logging the blooms gives me something to look for when I go for a walk. More than that, it gets me out of my chair more often than I otherwise would, and that’s good for my health. Walking good. (In moderation.) Sitting bad. (In excess.)

I finally managed to mail my old camera to my Uncle Jim. He has agreed to take a look at it and see if he can fix it, and for that, I am very grateful. I tried to fix it a couple of times, but it is apparently beyond my skill level. He, on the other hand, it like a level 92 mage when it comes to that sort of thing. He has never tried to fix a camera, but I think the odds are pretty decent that he will succeed where I have failed.

A little before noon today I called Va to see where she and Beth were eating. They get out of school at noon on Fridays, and then they go someplace to eat. Since I had to swing by the post office to mail that camera, I decided I would join them. We met at Pizza Hut, and had what Uncle Jim has the habit of calling “a fine meal.”

When I got home I poked around in the backyard looking for things to photograph. I found a mosquito. Still no frogs or salamanders, but I’m almost certain I heard a frog. Then Penny came running up and the frog sounds stopped abruptly. I couldn’t find him if he was there, but it was not from a lack of looking.

The only flowers I know of that are in bloom is that little gang of crocuses I photographed Wednesday. I found some dandelion plants, but they haven’t bloomed yet. As soon as they do though, I will log them on the Bloom Clock.

When the alarm went off this morning, Va went to check on Beth. She still had a stuffy nose and a cough, but she seemed rather chipper. So… keep the doctor’s appointment, or not? I knew what would happen if we blew it off. She would get sicker at an even more inconvenient time. So I thought it best to take her in.

Va and Jonathan both had dental appointments, so taking Beth to the doctor fell to me. They left the house to pick up my usual riders and take them to school. They hit the dentist some time later. I guess. Taking Beth to the doctor myself was OK with me though, as I had a chance for a more leisurely morning than usual. I took a long, hot shower. I made an egg sandwich. I set Beth up to practice the piano. Then I grabbed my camera and went outside. The main mission was to retrieve the garbage cans, and the secondary mission was to take pictures of… whatever. I found some silverod gone to seed, as well as some aster gone to seed. Silverod is like golden rod, but it has white flowers. I liked this picture best:

Daucus carota gone to seed

Daucus carota gone to seed


Daucus carota is more commonly known as “Wild carrot” or “Queen Anne’s Lace.” I uploaded the photo to Wikimedia Commons, because they didn’t have a photo of this plant in this phase of its life cycle. But now they do.

Then I taxied Beth to the doctor’s office. Her appointment was at 9:30, but we got there at 9:15. And sat in the waiting room for almost an hour. Good thing I was early! I always feel a little stupid waiting to see the doctor with a kid who seems for all the world to not be sick, and that was most definitely the case today. She was chatting up strangers, playing happily with toys, and just generally bouncing off the walls in there. But once she saw the doctor, the infection was confirmed. Both ears. And her nasal passage. And her throat. One prescription later, and we were out of there.

I called Va to see if she would fill the prescription (that’s her domain), and she said she would. But today was also ice skating day, so I was instructed to drop Beth off at the ice arena, which I did. We got there about two minutes before the rest of the students from her school did. Then I went to work.

Soon after arriving, I got a call from the guy in Keene where our fruit was to be delivered tonight. It showed up last night! I made arrangements with him to pick it up at 6:00 as we had originally planned. And then at about 1:30, I got a call from Ken. He was concerned about the weather and the fruit delivery we had been planning on. He teaches at Coe Brown, a school on route 4, and they let out early – so he was thinking maybe we could go up together and get the fruit before the weather got too bad. I made several phone calls to make arrangements, and then bugged out. We grabbed a tarp from the trailer, and decided that it would be a good idea to bring Jonathan with us (he was still in Concord after his dental appointment). Then we set out for Keene. It was slow going too, because it was raining. And freezing! They don’t let school out early for no reason, ya know!

We got there before dark and loaded the fruit – all 73.5 boxes. Then we drove it back to Concord. I had decided to store it in the table closet. Andy was there, and he helped us unload. About the time we finished unloading, Cheryl called wanting to know if we were in Concord yet. I had forgotten to call her, as she and Dirk wanted to help unload. My bad! Instead, she came in and put names on the boxes. Jonathan and I then carefully drove home – the roads were a mess too. I decided it would be better for me to drive rather than allow Jonathan to. He was disappointed, but the tread on my tires could be a lot better than it is, and it was pretty slick.

We got home in one piece though. And I will be astounded if school is not canceled in the morning.