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.

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Today after I ate my lunch, I went for a walk. It was about 60 degrees outside, clear skies, and in short… gorgeous. The daffodils are coming up now, and I saw a silver maple (Acer saccharinum) that had bloomed:

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)  blossoms

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) blossoms


I also saw some curly dock (Rumex crispus) that had sprouted – at least, that’s what I think it was. It grew there last year, and it looked about like it, but it’s hard to tell when they are so young.

The crocuses at Hermanos are in full tilt now:

Crocus spp

Crocus spp.


Since I was by myself this time, I took more time to get a better photo. Also, I took about eight of them. I think this was the best of the batch, and it’s not too bad.

Jonathan asked the other day if he could go to Brussels, Belgium in May. There’s an Ubuntu developers conference there, and he thinks he can get sponsored to attend. “Sponsored” means they will fly him out there and pay for his hotel room. I think this is a terrific idea, even though it is also terrifying. To me. And to Va. I told him that there was no way I could afford to fly him to Europe, but that if Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu Linux) would sponsor him, he had my blessings. But…

He’s going to need to get a job post haste, earn some money, and deposit it into his bank account first. And then he will have to get a debit card. It would be insane to try to travel to Europe without plastic. He agreed that I was clearly right on that count, so he has drawn up a resume and written at least one letter of application. He’s going to apply at Canonical, and at my company (to work as an intern in the IT department – away from me, as he should).

I also told him that the money he put in his account was to cover any emergency situations that came up, not for good times in Europe. He’s going to need that money for insurance if he ever wants to get his driver’s license, and then there’s the small matter of tuition.

I’d kind of like to see him do a little domestic travel first – maybe a solo trip to another one of the colleges he’s interested in. If he can master that, it’s a baby step towards foreign travel. If he needs help, it wouldn’t be too hard for me to render it. Maybe I’m just being over protective, I dunno. We’ve gotta let go sometime, and if we wait until we’re not terrified, it might not ever happen.

But I am excited for him. I hope he gets to go, and I think this will be huge for him. It will be a supreme confidence builder, and it won’t look bad on a resume either!

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.

Beth has been working towards baptism since sometime in January. Today, we have a date for the event: August 1. Our pastor will be coming to our house Tuesday evening to discuss this, and Beth could not be more excited. We’re all pretty happy for her!

After church today Beth, David, and I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond. It had been nearly a month since we had been there, and I noted six new blooms had opened:

Swamp Candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp Candles (Lysimachia terrestris)


Grass-leaved Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)

Grass-leaved Arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)


Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)


Dwarf St Johnswort (Hypericum mutilum)

Dwarf St Johnswort (Hypericum mutilum)


Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)


Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)

Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)

Penny spent a little time in the pond, but that’s OK, because the water there is fairly clean (I wouldn’t drink it though). On the way back from the pond though, she found a huge mudhole and plopped down in it and panted contentedly. She was a mess! Here feet were completely black. When we got to the house I hosed her down, and she didn’t much care for that. However, I would rather suffer her objections than those of my lovely bride had I let the dog in the house like that!

There have been lots of new blooms in these parts lately. I noticed three yesterday and two today. The two I saw today were Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora), and Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens). I took some photos:

Mitchella repens

Mitchella repens


Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora


There are cool things about both of these plants. As you can see from the photo of the Partridge Berry, it produces flowers in pairs, joined at the base. These flowers eventually become a single berry, and the berry has two little eyes – remnants of the two flowers that formed it. The berry stays on the vine all winter long, and persist until the new flowers come in. So I guess the berries ought to be dropping off pretty soon.

The cool thing about Indian Pipe is that it is a plant, not a fungus. The first time I ever saw one was on a hike with Beth and David to Sandogardy Pond about four years ago. We thought it was a fungus then, and it sure does look like a fungus. But fungi do not make seeds, and this plant most certainly does. However, it does have one thing in common with fungi besides its looks – it’s a parasite. It feeds off other plants. It is white because it does not produce chlorophyll.

Yesterday I went for a walk at lunchtime. My mission was two-fold: walk to LL Bean to buy some new shoes, and take a long walk to help the wool in my sock to felt up some more. Also, I kept an eye out for flowers.

While I was at Bean, I saw a solar phone charger. And I’ve been wanting one of these for about a year. The price looked pretty OK to me, so I bought it. Usually when we go camping, it’s in some place where there is no cell phone signal. The phone responds by boosting its own signal, and that drains the battery in short order. So unless I remember to turn off the phone, I need to recharge it. Plus when we go to the Camporee in Oskosh in August, I will need to recharge it then too. I think this is just the ticket. It has an internal battery, so I can leave it on the dashboard of the car during the day, while I have my phone in my pocket. Then at night I can retrieve the solar charger from the car and use it to charge my phone while I sleep.

Now back to plants. On the way to Bean, or on the way back to the office, I found a new-to-me variety of Cinquefoil. Silvery Cinquefoil, or Potentilla argentea. I usually just group all the Cinquefoils together, or divide them into two groups – tall and short. But there are several species of this stuff around here, and some of them are pretty difficult to distinguish. So I will try learning to do that.

I also noted that the Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), Bitter Nightshade (Solanum dulcimara, White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba), Hawthorn (Crataegus spp), and Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) were all in bloom. I’m guess they did that while I was sick and didn’t feel much like walking about.

I logged them at the Bloom Clock. First time I had done that for a couple of weeks too. Don’t know if I mentioned it, but the Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris) bloomed a couple of days ago too (Wednesday?)

So now I’m pretty much all caught up on the Bloom Clock. I’ll keep a sharp eye out for blooms over the next couple of days. I’m always on the lookout for new blooms at the end of the month, and old blooms that are still just barely going at the beginning of the month. We don’t have anything planned for after church tomorrow, so maybe I’ll take a walk down to Sandogardy. I hope to find some Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata) in bloom, and maybe some White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata) too. And maybe some Swamp Candles (Lysimachia terestris) and some Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna). Lotsa stuff to look for anyhow! It’ll prolly rain, but I do have a rain coat and some rain pants, and I know how to use them!

I’ve spent most of the evening ordering supplies for the Pathfinder Investiture coming up. That’s a year-end ceremony where we award all the patches and pins people have earned over the past 10 months or so, so pulling all that info together is a big job. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it right either. If I thought someone might have earned an honor, I ordered the patch. I’ll meet with the counsellors this week to go over everything, and then we’ll make sure. If we don’t think a kid earned the patch, we do not award it. To do otherwise cheapens the awards for everyone else.

I went for a walk today at lunch and saw several newly blossomed plants, including false indigo, nightshade, and some toadflax. There were also a couple I didn’t know, but I have not had a chance to try to id them yet. Maybe tomorrow.

False Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum canadense)

False Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum canadense)


The False Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum canadense) opened today. I’ve been keeping an eye on these, and they were most definitely not open yesterday. Most of them still aren’t.

I thought the columbine would open today, but it did not. Maybe tomorrow. We have a viburnum at the end of the driveway (near the road), and it opened today as well. I’m not sure what kind it is, but I’ve decided to call it Viburnum carlesii (Koreanspice Viburnum). That was the closest thing I found after ten minutes of searching, but there are a lot of different types of viburnums, and I didn’t come close to looking at them all. I could be wrong. Here it is though:

A cultivated viburnum

A cultivated viburnum

Today Va and I went to have our bloodwork done, and afterwards, we went to McDonalds for breakfast. I had a hot chocolate. And when I say hot, I mean 211.99°F. I took a sip and raised blisters on the roof of my mouth. It still hurts. Yeah, I know – sue them.

I can’t figure out why on earth they would keep it that hot. Consider the advantages: It’s still hot when you drink the last drop an hour later. OK, that’s the only one I can think of. Now consider the disadvantages: I will never, ever buy any sort of hot beverage from them again. Ever. Risk of lawsuits. Scalding it can’t make it taste better. It costs more money to maintain it at a high temperature (I’m sure that keeping that stuff just under the boiling point wastes enough energy to run a small city). So why do it? The mind boggles (as the palate blisters and peels)!