Here are some flowers that are in bloom for Mother’s Day:

Wild oats (Uvularia sessifolia)

Wild oats (Uvularia sessifolia)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Colt's foot (Tussilago farfara)

Colt’s foot (Tussilago farfara)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Violet (Viola spp)

Violet (Viola spp)

Another violet (Viola spp)

Another violet (Viola spp)

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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Yesterday it was raining, but since it had been a while since I had been able to go out for a walk, I fished my raincoat and rain pants out of my backpack, put the leash on Penny, and headed down to Sandogardy Pond.

We cut through the cut-down forest. There were tons of blueberry blossoms, and I took several shots, but none of them really turned out. I’m blaming the rain. It was not only getting everything wet (camera included), but it was also reducing the available light. I had better luck with these purple violets.

Violets are violet!

Purple violet


I’m pretty sure I ate a bunch of the leaves from this batch. There are few greens in the wild that are better than violets. Actually, I can’t think of any other wild green that I prefer to these.

We crossed Sandogardy Pond Road and made our way along the edge of the town forest. I stopped to see if the lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) had come up yet.

Lily-of-the-valley

Lily-of-the-valley


Yup. The blossoms will probably open sometime this week, so I need to get back to that spot soon.

As I walked along the class VI road (meaning they don’t plow it in the winter or perform any other maintenance on it – ever), my eyes were scanning the ground for wild flowers. Ha! Here’s are some!

A clue!

A clue!


Seeing these petals all over the ground forced my eyes skyward to find their source.

Some sort of wild cherry.  I think.

Some sort of wild cherry. I think.


I think this is a cherry tree, but I don’t know what kind. I really ought to learn to id the TWWF’s (trees with white flowers). There must be hundreds of species that fit that description. They all bloom at about the same time, and they all have five petals. It’s a daunting undertaking, which is, I suppose, why I have not done it yet.

Penny and I got to the pond in short order. The city has moved the dock back into the water. I wasn’t expecting them to do that before Memorial Day, but there it is. Someone else’s dock appears to have broken free and drifted into position next to it.

As is someone else's!

The dock is in the water now.

Penny didn’t care. She went straight into the pond to cool off. This did not make her any wetter, as it was raining steadily the whole time we were out.

I turned from the dock and found some white violets in the grass.

White violet

White violet

Near the violets was a small patch of wild strawberries.

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries

We walked along the beach and turned back into the forest. The Indian Cucumber Root has come up since I was here last:

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)


These are one of my favorite wild vegetables. The roots taste for all the world exactly like cucumbers. I have never eaten them in quantity though as they are not terribly abundant. I let them be today.

We made a loop through the woods and then headed back to the house. When we got home I shed my rain gear and sat down on the couch completely dry. Penny shook her fur all over Virginia (she did not appreciate that), and laid down on the floor, soaking wet.

She was still quite damp when I went to bed, so score one for a good raincoat.

Saturday afternoon I took a walk around my woods to look for (and photograph) wildflowers. I found some.

I was looking specifically for some wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia), so I went to the places where I have found it in previous years. Yup. Found some in bloom.

Wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

Wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia)

This is another one I went looking specifically for.

Pink lady Slipper (Cypripedium acuale)

Pink lady Slipper (Cypripedium acuale)


This is not the same one I posted last week. I looked for that one too, but couldn’t find any sign of it. I have no idea what happened to it, but I guess that’s the way nature goes sometimes.

When I go out looking for blossoms, I look everywhere for surprises too. This was one of those:

Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)

Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)


This will become a Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) flower. I don’t know that I’ve ever caught one in this stage before. I have dug up the roots of this plant and brewed it into a tea. I don’t think it was worth the effort though, so it’s not something I am likely to repeat.

This is one I was looking for. I saw a few when we went camping last week, and they do grow on my property too. So I looked in the usual places and found a few. I suspect I will find even more this week. I was fairly pleased with this photo, so bonus!

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

Here’s another three-leaf plant (trifolius) but with a different Latin conjugation. If I knew Latin, I would probably understand the difference between trifolia and trifolius.

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)


I posted an image of one of these last week too, but liked this one enough to repeat it. I do that sometimes.

Here’s another repeat. I set out to get a really nice photo of this one, and it turned out OK – not stunning, but OK. I suppose the light was a bit too harsh. It was mid-afternoon when I took the shot, and this one wasn’t in as shady an area as most of the others.

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Right after shooting the gaywings, this fly alighted on my thumb. I haven’t tried to identify it yet, but I did think the photo came out pretty well. Better than the gaywings anyhow (even if it’s not as nice a subject).

Unidentified fly

Unidentified fly

The wild strawberries are still going gang busters.

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)

Wild strawberry (Fragaria spp)


It’s another repeat, but I think it’s worth repeating.

I still don’t have any bluets on my place, but I have seen vast swaths of them in fields from the car this week (and last). I might have to stop and get some photos soon. I’ve also been looking for wood anemones and hobblebush from the car, but no luck so far. I have yet to see a trillium this year either, and I know those are almost finished now. Maybe I’ll find some in Maine this weekend. I know I will be looking for them anyhow!

Baby dragonfly

Baby dragonfly


I am no expert when it comes to identifying insects, and I believe this one in particular would pose difficulty for me as it does not appear to be a full-fledged adult, and most field guides show illustrations of adults. I may post it to Bug Guide later.

I took this at Sandogardy Pond today. Beth and I rode down their on bicycles today, and I had Penny on an extended leash (which presents its own set of challenges). When we got there, Beth saw other kids swimming, and she immediately regretted not thinking to bring a swimsuit. She suggested that we turn around, don swimsuits, and then return. I thought that was a fine idea, so we made a U-turn and went back to the house.

I did not change clothes other than trading my hiking shoes for paddling sandals. Beth suggested that we drive rather than ride bikes, and since I was pretty winded from biking, I gave in. We left Penny at home too.

Even though I wanted to do a little wading myself, I decided to wear jeans. I just don’t like shorts, plus it spares the public from being blinded by my super-white legs. When we got back to the Pond, I waded in looking for bullhead lilies and maybe some floating hearts. But I found this first:

Broadleaf Pondweed (Potamogeton natans)

Broadleaf Pondweed (Potamogeton natans)


Broadleaf Pondweed (Potamogeton natans) is a new one to me. It was not in any of my Peterson’s Field Guides. Instead I found it in Aquatic Plants & Algae of New Hampshire’s Lakes and Ponds, by Amy P. Smagula and Jody Connor. It was a free publication of the NH Department of Environmental Services. In fact, Jody Connor was the one who emailed me back about the iron bacteria in Sandogardy last week. The publication is in the form of a downloadable PDF. The nice thing about that work is that it is nice and focused. And the broadleaf pondweed was in there. However, the photos are not the greatest, so once I had a candidate species name, I checked in with Wikipedia, and they do have some very nice photos of the plant. That’s what I call a positive id.

I did find a bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea) while I was out wading. The big ones were out in deeper water, but this one was big enough.

Bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea)

Bullhead lily (Nuphar lutea)


I guess I caught this one before the bugs found it. The inside of a bullhead lily blossom is almost always crawling with little insects. But not today!

Meanwhile Beth was having a blast swimming. She was pretending to be an alligator, and she was going to eat me! Eeek! I did the only thing I knew to do – took a photo!

Threatened by a hungry "alligator"

Threatened by a hungry "alligator"


I somehow managed to get away and found that the little patch of wild strawberries near the beach had lots of ripe strawberries. Since this particular alligator has a weakness for strawberries, and since she was obviously famished with hunger, I called her over.
Take a good look!

Take a good look!


After a careful inspection of the bounty, she dove right in:
Free for the pickin'

Free for the pickin'


While the alligator satisfied her hunger on vegetarian fare, I continued looking for blooms. These irises were growing near the dock, and they had a visitor:
Iris

Iris


After taking a few shots of that, I found that I was being strafed by a dragonfly – this time a full-grown one. I still have made no attempt to identify its species though.
Dragonfly of some sort

Dragonfly of some sort


There are lots of blogs out there with dragonfly photographers whose work far exceeds mine. I don’t expect to match their work for a very long time (if ever).

While I was out wading, I collected some leaves from the pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata). Peterson says that the leaves can be chopped and added to salad or boiled for ten minutes if they are collected before they fully unfurl. Well, they still looked a little “furled” to me, so I collected about one servings’s worth. I also collected a bit of wild mint (Mentha arvensis). I opted to boil the pickerweed (since it did come from a pond full of swimmers, etc, I figured that would be the safer route). It didn’t come out so well. My teeth were unable to reduce the fiber to anything less than a wad of string. Since I have no rumen, I spit it out and decided to try again next year when the leaves are even more furled than they were today. Problem is, the water is colder then too!

I had no clear idea of what I wanted to do with one little mint specimen. So I gave it to Penny. She sniffed at it and took it in her teeth, and then she did the most surprising thing that caught us all off guard!

Dog perfume!

Dog perfume!


She dropped it on the floor and began to vigorously rub it into her ruff! I have seen her to that was far more objectionable odor-giving substances. Usually it’s something that drives me to give her a bath post-haste!

Penny, you did good this time!

Tonight when I got home, I took a stroll around our property to see if I would find anything interesting to photograph.

Chimaphila umbellata

Chimaphila umbellata


I can’t remember the common name of this plant, but the binomial nomenclature is Chimaphila umbellata. It’s a type of winter green, and I missed seeing it in bloom last year. It’s almost ready to bloom now, so I’ll keep and eye on it until it does.

Strawberry!

Strawberry!


I caught a flash of red out of the corner of my eye and found this at the edge of the driveway. I didn’t know I had any wild strawberries there. I do know I have lots of dewberries there though, and those are almost indistinguishable from strawberries until they fruit. Dewberry fruits look just like blackberries, but the leaves and flowers look just like strawberries. Dad clued me in last year when I posted about this, that dewberries will have thorn-like hairs on the canes, while strawberries will not. But you really have to look close to see that! Let’s just say that I was totally surprised when I found this strawberry in my dewberry patch. Also, it was delicious!

After supper I decided to take a walk down to Sandogardy Pond. Beth was playing with a neighbor, and the boys were playing on the Wii, so it was just me and Penny. I enjoy walks when I’m alone, because that lets me set the pace without feeling I’m holding anyone up or going too fast. We headed for Sandogardy Pond.

Iris

Iris


When I got to the pond I found the patch of irises that grows near the dock in full splendor. Nice.

And speaking of Sandogardy Pond, back on the first of this month, I posted a picture of some oil at the edge of the Pond. I sent a photo to the NH Department of Environmental Services, and they got back to me almost right away. They didn’t think that was oil at all, but rather, an iron-reducing bacteria. I was not convinced, but they are the ones with degrees in biology, not me. Then today, I got another email from them:

Hi Jim- Thank you for the email.

Both the DES Biology Bureau and Oil Response received notice last week with similar concerns regarding potential petroleum products in Sandogardy Pond. As a result, DES inspected the site. Please see the following summary from an email response on 6/7 to Xxxx Xxxxx, another property owner on Sandogardy.

———————————————————————————————–

As discussed earlier today and confirmed during a follow-up site visit around 10 am this morning no petroleum products were detected at the Town Beach on Glines Park Road or along East Side Road (I met up with your neighbor, Xxxxx Xxxxxxx).

I had also forwarded your letter and discussed the issue with Ray Reimold, DES Oil Spill Response. Ray conducted a separate site inspection at 7:30 this morning looking for petroleum products but only found iron bacteria along the Town beach. He did not see any evidence of iron bacteria or petroleum products along the shoreline off East Side Road.

Please see the attached photos taken by DES this morning showing the iron bacteria and evidence of iron (reddish stain) along the edge of the pond near the beach.

In addition, please see the following DES fact sheet describing iron bacteria.

http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/bb/documents/bb-18.pdf

I tend to believe them a lot more when they send people out there to look at it. That’s pretty cool. I had no idea that bacteria could produce a rainbow slick.

While I was out that way with no one to tell me they wanted to go home or stay at the playground, or whatever, I decided to head down a trail that leads to the geocache Beth and I had planted in the woods near there. Penny is always willing to come along. This trail ends at a wetland which has at its center the creek that drains Sandogardy Pond. I washed the sand out of Penny’s leash and noticed some spatterdock blooming farther out:

Spatterdock (Nuphar lutea)

Spatterdock (Nuphar lutea)


I think Peterson calls these Bullhead Lily, and I have heard it called yellow pond lily too. The ones in the pond are not yet blooming, so this was a nice surprise.

I got home just before dark. That’s when I found seven ticks on myself! None had attached, so that was good. I always flush them, and poo-poo anyone who says that doesn’t kill them. Once they’re in the septic tank, I don’t think I need to worry about them any more.

What surprised me about finding seven ticks was that I had doused myself pretty good with some mosquito repellent. I took a second look at that stuff tonight, and I won’t be using it again. It has no DEET and claims only to repel mosquitoes. It says nothing (correctly!) about repelling ticks.

I changed clothes.