Monday, August 30, 2021

Eggstra Eggs

I spent a lot of time streamlining and planning my latest 'To Go' shopping order from Hannaford, so I could take advantage of their $15 off coupon, if I spent $150. Certainly there were a lot of things I could stock up on and buy in bulk, like pasta, black beans and artichoke hearts, ... but eggs?

I found when I unpacked my groceries (and checked my actual order) that I had mistakenly ordered 3 dozen eggs! Had I thought I was clicking '+' to increase the cans of beans I was ordering, or had I subsumed amounts from a previous order when I hosted a breakfast? Who knows? 



I do know that omelettes, clafouti, meringues, cakes, quiche and frittata are now on the menu, as well as boiled eggs for salads. And now I'm investigating how to freeze eggs - not out of the question, it seems.




Sunday, August 29, 2021

Bacon-less Bacon

 

Ew. A new pack of "bacon" I opened looked like this:


Would you like some bacon with your fat? There's barely any meat to speak of.


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Footprints

What sort of a footprint will you leave on the world? Determined? Feisty? Caring, kind? Fearless, or fearful?




Friday, August 27, 2021

A Plant Called Obedient

I bought this obedient plant at an Audubon plant sale before the pandemic. These beautiful and easy to grow natives are called Physostigia virginiana.


It fits in perfectly in my type of garden.


The flowers look a little foxglove-like to me


I love how stacked and layered the blooms look. It's like an apartment building for pollinators!



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Strands of the Web


Muskrats have moved on,

Resident groundhog steps in,

Browsing deer compete.


Insects eat my plants

(A mistake to call them mine?)

Ditto for mammals.


Their digestive tracts

Help to propagate the seeds

And spread them further.


Fungi break things down,

Returning the nutrients

For later rebirth.


An intricate web,

Where diversity is key,

Of which we are part.








Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Old Men and Slippery Jacks

Both these bolete mushrooms (no gills, but a spongey underside) have some association with men (well, in MY mind, anyway).

First up is old man of the woods, Strobilomyces strobilaceus. I love the pattern on this one - makes me think of vanilla ice cream and crumbled Oreos!


The pattern is exquisite - giraffe-ish?


And then there's the sticky and slimy Slippery Jack, Suillus spraguei, which is apparently edible, but I'm no longer bold enough to try it after a bad experience with chicken-in-the-woods. That's me done with experimenting with wild mushrooms.



Monday, August 23, 2021

Bladderworts

Bladderworts? Sounds like something to see your doctor about, don't you think? The common name for these aquatic plants belies their filigreed beauty, instead making them sound like something from a witch's brew.

They're free-floating, rootless plants, which have tiny bladders on their leaves to ingest zooplankton to acquire nutrients. Carnivores! What an amazing adaptation!


Just take a look at this unusual and extraordinary one, the floating bladderwort:


The large purple bladderwort has this cute little purple bloom

The stems and leaves of the common bladderwort, (Utricularia vulgaris) look lacy and delicate.





Sunday, August 22, 2021

A Forest of Sundews

 

I can't believe how many sundews have propagated themselves on one of my floating gardens - their abundance is a joy to behold.








They grow in boggy, acidic and nitrogen poor soils. I recently found some amongst our moss at the bottom of the yard, too, so now they're 'protected' with a few twigs outlining their location so we don't tread on them. They can take up to 15 minutes to kill an insect landing on one of its alluring traps, but may only 'digest' it later. Apparently assassin bugs are immune to their sticky secretions, but lie in wait for others who are not as fortunate. 





As you can see, some leaves are green, and others red. The presence of sunlight makes them turn red. They're so "busy" that the camera struggles to know where to focus - maybe it confuses insects too?








Saturday, August 21, 2021

Living My Dream

On this day last year, I sent out a desperate note to the Lake Stewards of Maine: 

"I am distressed that I might have found Najas minor in my cove today. I saw some floating in after all the boating, and after a closer look, located where some is rooted in my cove. As soon as I noticed how obvious the serrations are, I panicked. I'm assuming it's the invasive European Naiad, but would desperately like confirmation or declination!"

Turns out my suspicion was right, and it led to a year of busy and exciting involvement with the Lake Stewards of Maine. I was thrilled by the knowledge and connectivity my participation gave me, and was ever more enthusiastic about participating in my environmentally-themed interests. As a university student, I had desperately wanted to save ecosystems, species, the environment, our planet. I studied environmental science, but put my conservationist aspirations aside to nurture and raise my own children (and expose/inspire them to environmentally good practices instead).

After my children left the nest, my chosen role as native plant nurturer and groundskeeper at home expanded into the aquatic environment ... and the monikers 'swamp maiden,' 'pondweed,' or 'mudmonster' were proudly added to the terms of endearment to which I am referred, after persisting in weeding and clearing my cove of invasive plants against all odds. I LOVE being involved with (what I believe is) helping the planet, even if only on a small scale, because you know "one person can make a difference, and everyone should try." (JFK). I never knew that one day after my child-rearing days were over, I'd get this opportunity to be a steward of my lake environment. 

Through the years of parenting and homeschooling, I never lost my passion for environmental issues, and continued pursuing these interests purely for the love and pleasure it gave me. My daughter wisely noted, "Mom, you've been training your whole life for this," which is essentially true. I get to indulge my passion and see it reap benefits, on my own terms and in my own time. I'm living my dream!








Thursday, August 19, 2021

Happ

Happ is an old Norse word, which means luck. It's kind of where our word for happiness comes from, and no more expertly expressed than by Thoreau himself:

"Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it the more it will elude you but if you turn your attention to other things it will come and sit softly on your shoulder" (Henry David Thoreau)



Hope you experience some happiness today!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

'Shrooms & Slimes

This pristine and beautifully colored mushroom is deceptively attractive, but is one of the inedible and poisonous Amanita mushrooms. Don't be tempted by its allure!


It's called the American Eastern Yellow Fly Agaric




In the same color scheme is this slime mold, made of tiny little 'baubles' arranged in a pattern, almost like a beaded necklace.










 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

It's Happening!

Already? There have been subtle signs for a couple of weeks, but I'm not ready to embrace this kind of beauty just yet. I'm still reveling in the beauties of summer, and I want to hold on to it. Can't we have an extension, nature? Please!




Monday, August 16, 2021

Papery Beauty


Fragile, delicate

Silky arrowhead petals

Stand out from the crowd



 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Whale Burps


Here's another look at one of the natural world's curiosities (I posted about these oddities previously https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/96099316254027359/925788944649317621)



Naturalists aren't 100% sure how these form and exactly what they are, but they seem to be vegetative fragments that get caught together in a repetitive swirl that somehow fuse together into a ball shape. They are sometimes whimsically referred to as whale burps, which really appeals to me! We've been finding a lot of them in our lake as we survey for invasive plants from our kayaks, or while snorkeling.



One of these looks a lot like a root ball, as if the roots of a fern have washed into the water. As you can see, each of these looks a little different, structurally and texturally. Nature is just fascinating!

We placed one on our boardwalk to display it, but kept finding it displaced each day we strolled past. We returned it to our chosen spot each time, until one day we found it totally shredded apart. There were just clumps of dry, loose pine needles as evidence - there was nothing to show what had kept it cohesively together.

And then, one left near the water got 'investigated' ... maybe they should be returned to the lake, where they're safe, or can at least remain intact.



Saturday, August 14, 2021

What Katy Did?

What katydid ... is this? It looks as if it's one of the Scudderias that are native to N. America.




Of course, my title for this post was inspired by the 1872 children's book called "What Katy Did," about a tomboy who was always getting into problematical situations.



Thursday, August 12, 2021

Spirals


I love the busy-ness of the spirals of flower heads - there seems to be movement because the eyes are bedazzled, I think.



Bumble bees spiral around their spiral heads, too, busying themselves with nectar collection.