This morning I took Penny for a lap around the property. I brought my camera along.

In bringing the camera from the air-conditioned house to the humid, sweltering July heat, the lens fogged up. I took a few “soft” shots courtesy of this effect, but the mosquitoes were trying to carry me off. So I set the camera on the deck, went in, and grabbed some Off. After applying it liberally, I grabbed the camera and tried again. By then the lens had warmed up and the fog on it had lifted. Here are the results.

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)


I finally found some dewdrop flowers that were not horribly misshapen. I am relatively pleased with this shot.

We’ve been getting a lot of rain for the past couple of weeks, and as a result, I have several pools of standing water in the woods (which explains the mosquitoes). Smack in the middle of one puddle was this blueberry bush bearing a modest amount of berries. I ate them after taking this shot.

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

The wintergreen is starting to bloom. I didn’t see any with open flowers, but they are very close. I like this shot because it shows two plants – one with flowers, and one still sporting a berry. Wintergreen hangs onto its fruit through the winter and even to the point when it flowers (as shown here).

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

I liked this mushroom. I haven’t tried to id it.

I don't do mushrooms, but here's one anyhow.

I don’t do mushrooms, but here’s one anyhow.

I was hoping to see some Indian pipe, and was not disappointed. This is the second of two clumps I found (the other clump being a solitary flower).

Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora)


These plants are parasitic on the roots of other plants, and they produce no chlorophyll of their own. That’s why they are white.

Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)

Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)


The loosestrife is still going strong. I thought this shot in full sun came out pretty OK!

Saint John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Saint John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

As did this shot of some common Saint John’s wort.

Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella)

Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella)

This might be garlic mustard, or it could be some other mustard. I pulled it up after photographing it, as I don’t want it taking over.

Some kind of mustard (Brassica spp)

Some kind of mustard (Brassica spp)

There were several clumps of white campion here and there about the yard, but this one was in the shade giving a softer light more conducive to photography.

White campion (Silene latifolia)

White campion (Silene latifolia)

This one surprised me. I haven’t seen it growing on my property before. Samuel Thayer adamantly avows that these are quite edible (they have a reputation for being poisonous). However, he has eaten them many times, and they are a staple in many places (Africa, for one). Thayer thinks their reputation come from people who misidentify it and eat something else in the Solanum genus that is poisonous (but I don’t remember what). There are lots of Solanum’s out there, and many are poisonous.

Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

Here’s some spreading dogbane. You can distinguish is from “regular” dogbane (A. cannabinum) by the way the petals recurve.

Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

I also found some heal-all in bloom.

Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)

Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)


It’s been in bloom for a while, but this was the first time I had time to shoot it.

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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.

Netelia spp.

Netelia spp.


Last night Va called from upstairs wanting me to dispatch a bug. Instead of the more usual bug-dispatching apparatus, I brought my camera. The bug was perched on the bathroom mirror. From this we can assume two things: it is somewhat vain, and it is probably a female 😉

Actually, it is a female. I consulted my field guides and guessed that it might be an Ophion, a type of Ichneumon Wasp. I was close. I posted it on Bugguide, and had an id in half an hour from a retired entymologist who did his post doctoral work studying Ichneumonidae. He identified it as a female Netelia spp. It’s in the same family as the Ophion, so I’m not too embarrassed about my id attempt. Especially since Netelia are absent from all my field guides. Gotta love Bugguide!

After I captured the Netelia in a ziplock bag, I popped it in the fridge to let it chill out overnight. I wanted to try a more careful photograph today. I got it out after supper, put it on a white sheet of paper in the downstairs bathroom with the vanity lights on. They are super bright. Then I set up the tripod and took a couple of shots. This one turned out the best:
Netelia spp.
I don’t think this one came out as well as the hurried shot last night. The bug quickly revived and flew up to the mirror again (more vanity!). I captured her and released her in the backyard, where she will probably become a parasite to some poor caterpillar. Hopefully… to a tent caterpillar.

Today after lunch I launched a huge compile job which generally takes 15 or 20 minutes to finish. I figured that was as good a time as any to try to walk off my lunch, so I grabbed my hat and camera and took a lap around the block. I came across some St. John’s Wort:

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)


The “perforatum” part of its name comes from the fact that its leaves are perforated. The perforations are actually tiny oil-filled glands. When a leaf is held up to the light these glands are translucent. That’s usually how I confirm my id, even when I’m already 100% positive. I just think it’s neat to look at the perforations.

Another new bloom was this one:

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)


These flowers are still pretty new. They look better as they “ripen” a bit more, having a creamy outer corolla, and an orange inner portion. They do look a bit like an egg in a skillet. I don’t know where the butter part of the name comes from, but to me, the egg part is pretty obvious. I’ll take more shots of these as they mature. They really do look more impressive when they get a bit further along.