I haven’t been taking many pictures lately as I have been a very busy person. That’s a poor excuse as I read blogs written by busier people, and they somehow manage to take pictures even when they are busy.

Because of this, I am digging back a couple of weeks into photos that didn’t make it here because I was too tired to post. Looking at them, I think I know the story they want to tell:

Summer’s going fast,
Nights growing colder
Children growing up
Old friends growing older

Those are lyrics to an old Rush song, and I think of them at this time every year. They are appropriate.

So here are the photos.

Black Nightshade (Solanum americanum)

Black Nightshade (Solanum americanum)


I found a large stand of these in Concord last week. Many people believe them to be toxic, but they are not only quite edible, they are eaten in large quantities in both Africa and South America. I learned that fact only this year, so have avoided the berries. But I will try them hopefully this fall. Tomatoes, being in the same family, were also once believed to be poisonous, and were thus eschewed by Europeans, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence of their edibility – Native Americans ate them with aplomb.

Growing near the black nightshade I found some butter and eggs.

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)


This is such a cool plant. It’s in the snapdragon family, and is one of the (seemingly) few non-composites that persist until late into the summer.

The City of Concord has a little garden at he corner of Storrs and Pleasant Street. That’s where I discovered this Kousa dogwood.

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)


For a long time I didn’t know what this was, and since it was in a garden, I didn’t try very hard to find out. Gardens often feature strange hybrids or non-native plants that you will never see in a Field Guide, and that makes them doubly hard (for me) to identify. When it flowered, I knew it was a dogwood, and armed with that info, I was able to figure it out. As it happens, the fruit of the Kousa is also edible. I’m waiting for these to ripen, and then I plan to raid The City of Concord’s little ornamental garden.

This stuff is growing like a weed in the church yard.

Rabbit tobacco (Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium)

Rabbit tobacco (Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium)


I think what I like best about it is that its genus name contains the word “dognap” in it. As a result, that’s what I call it when I’m talking to myself. Also, it’s a neat looking flower.

Today I did a little more work on my canoe. I hauled it out of the garage and began sanding it down again. I hit it with some 80 grit paper on a random orbit sander. It’s coming along nicely, and I managed to finish about two thirds of the port side. (I think it’s the port side – the boat’s upside down on a pair of sawhorses, and that always makes it harder to figure that out). Once I finish both side with the 80 grit, I’ll hit the gunwales, and then go over everything with some 150. Then… varnish and declare victory. With any luck I might be able to have it on the water next weekend.

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Today Jonathan and I had lunch at the Tea Garden in Concord. We usually eat there on Friday, and the staff has come to know us by name. Today Kari, saw us through the restaurant window coming up the sidewalk from afar and had our egg drop soup waiting at our table when we walked in. I was impressed! This is one of the reasons I like to eat there.

We took the long route back to the office. I wanted to see if the stand of Jerusalem artichokes that grow in the taxi cab parking lot were still in bloom. They were, but I didn’t stop to take any photos. We proceeded along the railroad tracks where we saw an engine busy moving “Ciment” cars from Quebec around on the sidings.

There were several bunches of Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris) still in bloom:

Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris)


I also saw a bit of Common Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) still hanging on.
Common Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

Common Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)


There aren’t many flower still in bloom in these parts, but I was surprised to see so many downtown. I have nothing but asterids at my house.

The hawthorns (Crataegus spp) are heavy with fruit too.

Hawthorn (Crataegus spp)

Hawthorn (Crataegus spp)

I grabbed a handful of berries and ate them, and they were far better than when I last tried them. Maybe they weren’t ripe back then. Though they tasted great, they were still pretty difficult to eat because of the many seeds. I sucked on them for a few minutes until I had as much of the pulp off the seeds as I thought I could manage, and then spit them out. I’ll have to consult Peterson to see how he recommends these be consumed – maybe jelly?

The other berry along the tracks that I thoroughly enjoyed was the autumn olives (Elaeagnus umbellata). I really need to get out and pick a bunch of this so I can make some jelly. We have several bushes growing at our church, and I have taught the kids to eat them there. That kinda freaks out their parents, but then the kids will all say in unison, “Mr. Thomas says they’re edible!” And they’re very good too, so how can they resist? I am always careful to instruct the kids to never eat any wild plants unless they know what they are and they know what part of it is edible.

If I don’t pick some for myself pretty soon, the kids will have all the bushes cleaned off.

Yesterday I took this shot of Penny before I left for work:

Penny

Penny


She was waiting for me to kick a ball that didn’t make it into the photo. I did kick it for her, as I do nearly every morning before I go to work. The last kick comes just as Jonathan is pulling into the turn-around spot so I can jump in and make my escape while she chases the ball.

Then at lunch time I took a stroll around my usual route in Concord, camera in hand. I wanted to see what was still in bloom. Here’s what I found:

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose)

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose)


Linarea vulgaris (Butter-and-eggs)

Linarea vulgaris (Butter-and-eggs)


Hieracium pratense (Yellow Hawkweed, King Devil)

Hieracium pratense (Yellow Hawkweed, King Devil)


Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)

Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)


Erigeron annuus (Daisy Fleabane)

Erigeron annuus (Daisy Fleabane)


Lepidium virginicum (Virginia Pepperweed)

Lepidium virginicum (Virginia Pepperweed)


The pepperweed is one of my favorite wild edibles. It has plenty of flavor. I ate this clump right after taking the photo. The flowers are inconspicuous and can barely be seen up there at the top of the stem. The flowers turn to seed and the stem grows higher with flowers ever-blooming at the top.
Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet)

Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet)


I wasn’t expecting to see any bittersweet. I found none the last time I looked here, but I guess I wasn’t looking hard enough. There weren’t many blossoms, but there were a lot of berries (which are poisonous).
Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet) berries

Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet) berries


These are closely related to tomatoes, as both are in the nightshade family. People used to believe tomatoes were poisonous because so many nightshades are. Nobody has qualms about eating tomatoes these days though.
Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)


I don’t know which species of goldenrod this is – there are probably a hundred that grow around here, and they are difficult to distinguish. Almost as difficult as the asters. Most of the goldenrod has gone to seed, but there are still a few of them in bloom.
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem Artichoke)

Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem Artichoke)


This Jerusalem Artichoke is from the same stand I blogged about a little while ago. I didn’t dig any more of them up, but I am going to keep an eye on them so I can maybe score some JA seeds for my place. I think I’ve found a place where I can grow them in the front of the house. There might be enough sun there.

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.