Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Little Beautiful Things


With the rains we've had and the humidity 'little' things have begun to emerge in the woodland.

These little beauties are not easy to spot unless you are truly looking for them.

I found these fungi perched on a mossy log with a 'cute' little slug just posing!

Yesterday was the first time in about a week that I have been able to take a hike, although it was a short one before going on shift.

I was happy with the things I discovered and plan to go again today and use my 'day' off to explore the northern hillsides for more incredible fungi and flora.


I was so happy to find some Great Blue Lobelia in our forest, they have such a wonderful blue color:


But the fungi was the most fun, I found small umbrella like ones and these other white strange looking ones!


....
and then there was my photography assistant...Morris.

He is such a help you know.
He makes sure all things are checked out and if something seems out of place he will stand behind me and let me protect him.

He's 'the man'.

Kudos Morris!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

It is pickin' and putting up time!



I'm not going to preach growing your own food at anyone, but after not having a garden for a few summers and then...having a fantastic garden this year, well I'm going to say this:

It is a delight to sit down to a home cooked meal that is all grown on your own place. This includes the wild berries picked from the woods for dessert.

Not everyone can have a large garden.  And many people tell me how they are too busy to have even a small garden.  Or they don't like to garden, they are too old to garden.

Look at the health benefits.
The food is fresher than anywhere else.
Yes.
Fresher than the Farmer's Market.
Straight from the dirt to the sink, to the table, how much more fresh can that be?

Organic?  Well if you grow it, you'll know it!


It can't help but taste better!

to this:



...and of course this.

The vegetable garden can also provide things of beauty...

Carrots tops:



Of course there is always the exercise too.  Bending over, pulling weeds, and harvesting.  

And there is processing what you harvest.  Right now I am freezing many of my vegetables in perfect sized packages for two people.  Green beans, carrots, and tomatoes get frozen in the same container or vaccumed sealed bag in perfect portions for those cold winter nights when we crave a nice good stew or soup.

Add some homegrown Dexter to it, and you have a fine meal. 



Again, all grown on our own place.

Last night I picked crab apples from a real crab apple tree, not those that nurseries sell as decorative trees...but good old fashioned hearty red crabs.
And they make lovely juice for jellies!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Let's ride


Sunday afternoon was perfect for taking a jaunt through the woods.

The weather was still mild and overcast.  Rains were predicted for Monday and then it was supposed to get hot and humid [which it has!].

I asked hubby if he'd go for a jaunt with me.

We of course took up the two Bay mules.

Little Fred, 14.2" Siera.


And off we went.

The following video is not the best quality.  In order to upload a 2 minute video of great quality, it takes an hour or so with our internet speed...so....

Siera leads through the woods:



And then we go along a mowed trail.


This is part of a snowmobile trail in the winter.  The woods we are riding in are so thick and overgrown now that there are no cattle on the land.  I have to maintain my own few riding trails that I do have by using nippers to cut stuff back.


In the back valley we found some cool looking fungi!  
Siera was patient and let me take some photos.

But of course she had to give me her own thoughts on it...


As in..."Hmmmm, can I just graze on some of these leaves? OH see the thorns! Yum, leaves!"

Poor mule, you'd swear she has never been fed!


And as we headed home we saw our neighbor baling straw before the predicted rains were to come in on Monday.

Did I mention yet how much I LOVE riding?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Afternoon Delight



I felt a bit tired.
Probably from getting up early.  I like to get up early.

I'd done chores, then hopped into the car and ran my town errands.  By 9am I was back home.

I worked in the garden for a few hours until the sun burned through the foggy and overcast skies.

I picked green beans, yellow summer squash, cukes, picked up tomatoes that had fallen off the plants, and picked some carrots also.

I prepped all the veggies along with a zucchini for our veggie part of the supper.
Bacon, tomatoes. and all the vegetables I'd picked were going to be a part of a stir fry with crisp bacon topping it and melted cheese.
Sounds odd, but it would be an experiment.

I'd taken a hike to check on fences and dropped into the valley off the point.  I was able to find my winter snow shoe trail rather easily and it wouldn't take much trimming to make it ready for fall and winter hiking.

When I got back from that, I felt tired.
But I didn't want to really go in the house.

So I got a pillow and blanket and tossed them under  the shady trees between the hickory and the pines.

I laid down on my back and gazed up for a bit into the leaves and sky.
The slight breeze made a sighing sound in the leaves and pine needles.

Next thing I know I was sound asleep.  I can't recall sleeping so peacefully in such a long time.

So I wonder what my husband would think if I took a pillow and blanket and slept out under the trees at night?


Friday, August 15, 2014

A Walk with Old Dog


Yep, Morris and I went for a nice long hike yesterday.  He supervised while I re-cut part of my mule trail in the woods.  Over the summer the berry briers had grown into the trail and I opened it back up now that Autumn is near and the plants are done growing.

We found some interesting plants while we were out hiking.


Here is Blue Coshcosh, also part of the Barberry family.  Scientific name: Caulophyllum thalictroides (L.) Michx. Family Berberidaceae 

It was a startling color to find in the woods.  I'm sure these have grown near my path before but perhaps I just have not seen them!

Just a bit further on we found some more Indian Pipes.  They seem to be abundant even though it is very dry in our area right now.



Yesterday was one of those almost perfect summer days.  Warm with a nice breeze during the day and last night it got down to 59 degrees!
Normally we experience some rather hot and muggy August days.

Actually our whole summer has been milder than in years past.  It has shown up in some of our garden plants, the cool nights have kept them from producing normally.

Yet the milder not muggy and horridly HOT days have provided for better hiking weather.  Morris thoroughly enjoyed playing leader.


He is very good at finding obscure deer trails for us to follow.

Old Dog is a good dog.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Of Sunsets and Stars

I'm a very lucky person.

I have a young neighbor gal who is the same age as my youngest son.  We share a garden together and her children come often to visit.

Yesterday we worked in the garden picking produce and dividing it up between households.

We talked while we worked and two of her children played in the Sunflower Maze while we gardened.

Hubby and the oldest daughter practiced gun safety and A. brought her new BB gun down.  Hubby and A. spent a long time shooting and going over how to safely handle her BB gun.
I think it was a wonderful morning all the way around.

Hubby is actually very good with children and has some incredible patience!

We decided to go to the ridge top just after sunset and see if we could catch some of the meteor shower.

I said the sky would be best just after sunset and before the moon got too bright.


We enjoyed sky watching.  My neighbor brought her three children, the youngest fell asleep in the large 3 wheeled stroller.
Their dog Manny and their cat Midnight also came along.

When the moon... not full anymore rose, it was a magnificent orange color and we all ooooed and ahhhed over it.


No, it isn't the 'best' shot, but you get the idea.  This whole night shooting with cameras is pretty new to me.

We waited until the stars came out...


I discovered that indeed a 25 second exposure is much better than a longer one.  The earth rotates so the stars will blur if exposed 30 seconds as this shot nearly did.


This was an 80 second exposure and it is noisy and the stars are beginning to leave 'trails'.  Still, it was fun to experiment.

We saw several meteors and some very dim ones and some bright ones.

At 10pm we called it quits as the moon was very bright and the stars were dimming in the sky.

I hope we get to try this again tonight!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Indian Pipes & Jewel Weed



If someone were to ask me what my favorite wildflower in August-September was, I'd have to answer.
Indian Pipes also know as Ghost Plants, Corpse Plants [hey Zombies, a flower for you!], and some other names.

They are interesting because they don't use chlorophyll but feed off from fungi which in turns feeds off from wood or a nearby tree.

Small bumble bees find these plants as a great source of food.


I found many places where these were 'popping up'.  If a person were to do a normal hiking speed through my trails and not look hard, these would be missed.
I actually would take a few steps, stop and scan the undergrowth for these.  Once I'd find one...I'd find dozens.


A few times in order to photograph these plants I had to nearly lay down on the ground.  

Their scientific name is Monotrop uniflora.  I still like 'Indian Pipes'.


You have to admit, they are unique!

After they are done flowering ... which you can see in the above shot, they turn black and slimy looking and whither back into the soil.

I also found some yellow Jewel Weed while hiking.
This color isn't as usual as the orange Jewel Weed, but I have found out that the juice from these plants make a great soap that helps with ANY itchy skin.
When I pull nettles in the garden and get welts, I rub on some Jewel Weed soap.  
When my grandson got into poison ivy, I covered it in Jewel Weed soap lather.
When my grand daughter's bare legs were all itchy from running through the weeds,... you guessed it.  Jewel Weed soap lather.

She said it tingled and the itch went away.

How cool is that?