We were pretty busy people on Saturday. First we had our annual induction ceremony for the Adventurers and Pathfinders during the church service. That went pretty well, and I received a lot of positive comments on it.

After that, Va had an Adventurer meeting planned. It started at the church, and then moved to the Haggett Farm. Saturday night the Haggett’s had their annual Harvest Party, and a good time was had by all. I was pretty wiped out when I got home though. I went to bed about two hours earlier than normal, and stay in bed an hour later. I guess I got 10 hours of sleep, but I sure felt like I needed it.

After breakfast, I took Penny out for a walk.

Penny bring me a stick

Penny bring me a stick


As usual, we went to Sandogardy Pond. I took an off-route to get there though, as none of the kids were with me, and Penny doesn’t care how we get there as long as I throw sticks.

The water level in the pond was up markedly. So much, in fact, that the end of the dock was under water.

High Water

High Water


The beach was also not quite as wide, and a lot of plants that are normally growing on the shore were out in the water instead.

We made a side-trip to the sand quarry on the way home again. That made the walk a little longer, and it meant I threw even more sticks for Penny. But she’s OK with that!

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Here are some photos I took while out for a walk on Sunday.

New England Aster

New England Aster


I believe this is a New England Aster, but all I know for sure is that it is a purple aster growing in New England. There are hundreds of species of asters, and sometimes you need a microscope to distinguish them.

Fungus with concentric growth rings

Fungus with concentric growth rings


I have identified this fungus in the past, but don’t remember what it was. I am just too lazy to look it up again.

Bur Marigold (Bidens cernua)

Bur Marigold (Bidens cernua)


This is a Bur Marigold. It blooms late in the year, and I don’t think I saw any of these until September. The seeds of this plant take the form of an achene with very sharp barbs that hook into pant cuffs and dog ruffs with no effort whatsoever. Effort is reserved for their extraction from said cuffs and ruffs.

Hawkweed (Hieracium spp)

Hawkweed (Hieracium spp)


This little hawkweed was brilliant. I don’t recall the exact species, and I have not sufficiently overcome inertia to look it up.

Yet Another Aster

Yet Another Aster


Again, asters are difficult to distinguish.
Yet Another New England Aster. Maybe.

Yet Another New England Aster. Maybe.


Purple. Aster. New England.

Daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

Daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus)


I may have misspelled the species name. I could look it up, but… you know. Then I’d feel obligated to look up the others.

White Campion (Silene spp)

White Campion (Silene spp)


Campion seems like it’s one ‘H’ sh ort of greatness. This is one of the few plants in bloom that is not a composite (such as daisies, goldenrod, sunflowers, and asters – all composites). We do still have blooming red clover, but I seldom photograph that.

The house is quiet tonight, as Beth is up in Maine with her school for Outdoor School. This evening, Penny and I walked down to Sandogardy (where many of the photos posted today were taken last Sunday). It was dark when we got home, so I didn’t get many photos. I haven’t even looked at them yet.

We had our first Pathfinder meeting of the year Sunday morning. That went pretty well. I have three new staff members this year. One is the parent of a new Pathfinder, and I am really looking forward to working with him. He travels a lot though, so he and my son David (my second new staff member) are double-teaming counseling duties for the Ranger class. This is David’s ninth year of Pathfinders, so I’m sure he will do just fine as a counselor.

The third new counselor is a 20 year old girl who I let in the club last year as a Pathfinder instead of as a staff member. She is a refuge from Burundi and still in high school. Her English is much better than my Kirundi, which is to say, I can’t always understand her. She is counseling three girls who are also from Africa (two from Burundi, and one from what is now South Sudan). They do not have any trouble at all communicating with her though, so I felt that I could use her effectively as a counselor this year. She really wanted to join again this year, and I allowed her if she agreed to be a staff member.

On Labor Day last week, Beth and I walked down to Sandogardy Pond in the pouring rain. I was in my rain gear, but Beth was not. She had already been playing outside in the rain, and I didn’t think she could possibly get any wetter. Penny came along too, and she didn’t mind the rain at all.

Unsurprisingly, the beach at the pond was abandoned. One of the first creatures I saw was this Sirenia crypticus (Or so I name it).

Sirenia crypticus

Sirenia crypticus


OK, that’s not really nature as I promised in my last post. But it should help us ease back into it.

Then on Friday I took a walk around my property. The weather was decidedly more clear, and I came away with some interesting shots. Here’s a mushroom (possibly some sort of chantrelle):

Inverted Mushroom

Inverted Mushroom


I liked the way the gills stood out on this one. I’ve been shooting a lot of mushrooms lately, as we seem to have them in spades. Also, there are not many flowers left (other than those in the Asterid family), so the mushrooms make an irresistible subject. I had Penny along while I was shooting, and she managed to kick me the ball just as I was taking this shot:
Penny, her ball, and an agaric

Penny, her ball, and an agaric


I usually manage to keep Penny out of my backgrounds, but when I looked at the composition of this one, I purposely framed her into the shot. The ball rolling by was a bonus.

Out at the end of my driveway by the road is a small stand of wild woodland sunflowers.

Woodland Sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus)

Woodland Sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus)


I have to be careful with these, as they are coming up smack dab in the middle of a patch of poison ivy. I haven’t done anything about the poison ivy though, because I don’t think I can eliminate it without eliminating my sunflowers as well.

Incidentally, Beth managed to get into some poison ivy week, as she has a small affected area on her right wrist. I expect she got that in the woods though, where she and the neighbors have been playing in the canopy of a fallen tree.

David, Beth, and I went down to Sandogardy yesterday too, but I’ll save those pics for another day.

Spider on Sandogardy Pond

Spider on Sandogardy Pond


I was at Sandogardy Pond Saturday and saw this spider hanging out on the surface of the pond. I think it’s pretty cool the way they can take advantage of surface tension to walk on water.

In other news, I just wanted to say that I am astounded Vermont has not been getting more news coverage following TS Irene. In my blogroll I have a link to Little Bang Theory. I have been reading his blog for a year or two. He lives in Western MA near Southern VT, and he has some jaw-dropping photos of the devastation there. His account is heartbreaking.

Next month the Pathfinders are scheduled to have our annual Fall Camporee at Molly Stark State Park. We expect clubs from all over VT, NH, and ME. But I just don’t see how it’s possible that we will be able to camp at Molly Stark after looking at the photos. Google Maps has removed portions of route 9 in southern VT, because Irene has removed portions of it from the face of the earth. Molly Stark is on a closed section of that road (which is a major thoroughfare in that area).

There’s a chance that I will deploy with ACS after all. We do not have an agreement with the state of VT, so setting things up will take longer. Also, I don’t know what good a warehouse would do, since it is not possible to deliver goods to the stricken areas of VT via the roads. You can’t get there from here!

White-spotted Sawyer Beetle (Monochamus scutellatus)

White-spotted Sawyer Beetle (Monochamus scutellatus)


This guy (or gal, I dunno) was hanging out on my deck yesterday. This is the best shot I manged to get, even though the antenna protrudes out of the frame. :-/

I also should report that I went down to Sandogardy Pond on Saturday for the first time in three weeks, and saw a couple of new species in bloom for the season. Here they are:

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)

Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)


Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)

Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)


Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)


Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Yesterday evening I noticed that one of the dewdrops (Dalibarda repens) in my woods had finally bloomed. It was missing two of its five petals, but since it was the first one, I got out the camera. As I was adjusting it, Penny came tearing along the path, doing 90 miles per hour. Since I was standing on the path, Penny veered around me and stepped right on the dewdrop. That took it down to a single, mangled petal. I did not take a picture. Instead, I went looking for more. There are three patches of this stuff in my woods, all within 50 feet of each other. Patch number two had no blooms, but patch number three had this one:

Dewdrops (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrops (Dalibarda repens)


This is hands-down my favorite flower. It is the species that taught me how to take photos of flowers, because I found it totally impossible to photograph using the automatic settings of my previous camera. I had to learn the manual controls. This is kind of a rare plant. It’s endangered in Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina and Rhode Island. Actually, I just pasted most of that sentence in from the Wikipedia article, but that’s OK, because I’m the one that wrote it there in the first place. I started that article and put together the initial content. The photo in the article is also mine, and I don’t think I have ever taken a better shot of anything. That, my friends, is my best work. I use it as wallpaper on my computer.

So now that I have established my love affair with this plant for you, you can perhaps understand why I was so pleased to find one in bloom yesterday. I’ve been keeping an eye on those three patches for a couple of weeks. They have bloomed a little later this year as compared to previous years. I would have posted this last night, but my other news had me even more excited.

So excited, in fact, that I didn’t get much sleep last night because I couldn’t shut off my brain. I woke up early thinking about it too, so I did something most unusual for me – I got up. It was about 5:15 as I recall. I got dressed, went downstairs, got Penny’s leash, and we set out for Sandogardy Pond. Along the way, I spotted some beaked hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta):

Beaked hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta)

Beaked hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta)


Sandy, if you’re still wondering if you found American or beaked hazel, this would be a good time to go check.

I also found some Pyrola along the way:

Pyrola (Pyrola spp)

Pyrola (Pyrola spp)


I’m not sure what species of Pyrola this is – they are all pretty close to one another. Maybe roundleaf (P. americana), but I’m just not sure.

It was quiet at the pond. Foggy too:

Penny wades

Penny wades


I walked along the beach and saw that the floating heart (Nymphoides cordata) was in bloom now:
Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)

Floating heart (Nymphoides cordata)


It’s not hard to tell how it came about its common name, is it?

The swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris) had bloomed too:

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)

Swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris)


That can only mean that the pickerelweed should be blooming soon too.

At the end of the beach we turned right and headed into the woods along Cross Brook (which drains the pond). There is a patch of Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana) growing there, and it’s been in bloom for a while now. But I don’t think I have posted any photos of it this year, so here we go:

Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana)


This plant has a delicious tuber which tastes just like… yes – cucumber. If you don’t like cucumber, you should probably eschew Indian cucumber-root. I don’t eat much of it because there’s never much of it around.

Penny and I headed back home after that. I took a shower, and Jonathan and I headed to the office. I napped in the car a bit. I guess the walk helped me turn off my brain. 🙂

When we got home I went out and admired my Dewdrop blossom again. Then I went to the catchment pond where there’s a bit of Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata) growing. This plant has been threatening to bloom for about two weeks now. But today, I found a single blossom open (out of about two dozen).

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)


This flower is pretty closely related to wintergreen and pyrola, but it looks a lot more like pyrola. And like pyrola, it doesn’t present its best side to humans. That privilege is reserved for ants. I tipped the blossom upwards to get a shot of its innards:
Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)


Nice!

Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)

Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)


Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) is one of my favorites. The blooms in this photo are about the same diameter as a dime. It’s in the same genus as the better-known Mountain Laurel (K. latifolia), but I have to climb a mountain to see that. K. angustifolia grows on my property, though the specimens here seem bloom-resistant. This one grows at the base of a huge white pine at Sandogardy Pond. Beth and I took Penny down there this evening.

Kalmia is the only genus in my personal list of flowering plants that starts with K. Another name for Sheep Laurel is Lambkill, and you can probably guess where it came by that moniker.

After spending a lot of time learning the binomial names of plants, I eventually started to recognize a little Latin. There are a lot of plant genera with an angustifolia and a latifolia species. The former means “narrow leaves” and the latter means “wide leaves.”

In addition to Kalmia (the Laurels), the genera Typha (cattails) and Elaeagnus (autumn olive) also have angustifolias and latifolias. There are probably hundreds of others.