Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Slow Learner

Ha! I have to laugh at myself - after expounding earlier this year about my discovery of the value of using stitch markers, and substituting household items in place of specifically manufactured ones, I totally forgot to use them whilst knitting my complicated pattern. It's no wonder I was struggling so much!

How many rows I've had to redo before I stumbled on the solution is embarrassing to admit, but I'm still thankful that I finally got there!

Full steam ahead ...

Monday, November 29, 2021

In Limbo

What a mixed bag November is - it was so sunny and hot outside the day we moved the chairs off our deck, that I opted for a topless sunbathe in my adirondack chair afterwards to cool off! And then, foolishly, I did some yard work and found out that most of the shrubs that whipped back at me as I moved through the woods were breast height - ouch! 

We've had some days with a bit of frost, rain, hail, sun and wind. The lake is currently still fluid, but the patches of transient ice are beginning to linger and spread.

Under the leaves, the moss is still green and vibrant, my grape fern has changed from green to silver blue, there's dew on the leaves in the mornings, seed pods are still intact, and sunsets are fiery!

Sunday, November 28, 2021


Oh wow! How lucky am I! I went to our Transfer Station over the weekend, and the attendant said he recalled I worked with yarn - would I like to take all the yarn left there recently, so he didn't have to deal with the dregs that would be left straggled all over the place after people had picked over it?

Would I? Ooh, yes, please. My supplies were so low that I'd stopped making things since there wasn't enough yarn to make anything worthwhile.

So I got started, thinking there was no point in making something simple or easy. BTDT. A challenge was what I needed, I thought, getting my knitting needles out instead of my crochet hook, and started following the directions on the back of the yarn wrapper. Sheez, it was difficult - I think I found my level, or my limit, so for sanity's sake, I decided to change the garment from a patterned blouse to a patterned shawl. 

The pattern I'm following is a complicated sequence of stitches, repeated every 4 rows, each of which has a different rendition of the stitches to create a lacy chevron pattern. It takes me 45 minutes to do those four rows! And if I do it whilst watching TV ... well, I end up having to pull the row out and start again.

I like the look of this delicate pattern and yarn. Now to get the repeats consistent and even throughout.

This is what the pattern instructions look like - I found the layout and print size too confusing, so copied out the 4 important rows onto lined paper in large letters.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Glittering like Gold

These delicate stoneworts glitter in the sunlight, like underwater planets. They look so sparkly! Though they resemble plants, they're considered to be a type of algae, with encrustations of calcium carbonate on their branchlets.

 Some of them smell really skunky, and may also be known as muskgrass. This is what it looks like when taken out of the water.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Unique Details

I can't help but appreciate the glory and beauty of the bloom of this incredible plant, swollen bladderwort (Utricularia inflata), though an invasive in our region.

It also has beautiful, filigreed and delicate looking underwater foliage, that floats and glints in the sunlight.

The 'deadly' traps look like pink pearls

The radial floats and flower bud is just beginning to form here: 

They turn into these alien looking, tentacled things!

This is how my book depicts them:

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Buds & Bladders

This gorgeous emerald bulb at the top of this native bladderwort is its winter bud (turion) - how exquisite is that! It forms this leafy bulge at the end of the season, ready for quick getting-back-to-life in the spring. The heftiness of it also helps it sink to the bottom where it overwinters.

I cut a section of the winter bud off to show its beautiful green swirls inside, ready to unfurl when the weather warms up again. Magnificent.

Also in this picture is one of its parasitic bladders. When the hairs are triggered, it entraps zooplankton in less than a millisecond, and operates with 600Gs (i.e. the acceleration by which it is sucked in is 600 times the force of gravity.) A phenomenal adaptation.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


I took this photo, with the objects of my interest out of focus by mistake. It turned out interesting and artsy, instead.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” — Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Scenes from a Kayak

There's still lots to enjoy about November, provided you wrap up warmly. I don't think I've EVER appreciated November before, especially not on the lake - it's always seemed so ... blerrrgh!

Until this happens! Put on your sound for the best, most exquisite experience.

Signs of winter ... time to start thinking about putting my paddle away and getting my knitting needles out!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Graceful Raptor

Trajectory slant

Oak leaf glides like a raptor

Graceful, stalked hunter.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Tomato Spider

 Ha! It looked so spidery and creepy to me - I couldn't resist!

Friday, November 19, 2021

To Go Drama

I filled a To Go order from Hannaford recently, with the intent of getting my $11 off a purchase of $100 or more coupon, which I'd diligently clipped. Before I knew it, my order had reached $124, and I was reminded by the app that if I spent another $6, I'd get another $2 of the delivery fee. Okay, no problem - I added a few packs of chicken and I was up to $145. Perfect.


My order was delivered to my car after a longish wait since it was Veteran's day (?) and they were short-staffed. There were 4 items on my list that weren't available. Well, I'd intended going inside to find another pair of sunglasses for my kayaking expeditions, so thought I'd substitute the items missing from my order. Interestingly, I found 3 of the exact items the To Go shopper hadn't located, and paid $11 for them at the checkout. I noticed then that my $11 discount from my big order hadn't been applied. Oh dear!

I returned to the car to check my cash slip, and well, my order had rung up to $95 only, so wasn't eligible for the discount. But wait ... I had personally just spent another $11 at the checkout. I did qualify! Grabbing the evidence, I returned to the To Go outlet. The entire store was humming with activity and noise and people. There were hardly any carts left. As I explained the situation, the young helper looked flustered, but said there was nothing she could do, that I should look online and see if there was some way I could claim it. I was skeptical, and asked to speak to someone else. By this stage 2 of her phones were ringing amid the hubbub of the store, and she said there was no one else to help me, since so many people had called in sick. I stood to one side as she took her phone calls and another employee came by asking if she could help. I said, "I certainly hope so!

I explained what had gone awry, and she said she could fix it, to just wait for her to return. She came back, holding $11 in her hand, without checking my cash slips, or my order, or any records for evidence or anything!

I truly don't understand how badly they must have over-estimated my online order cost, to the point that not finding 4 items brought me down below $100! Now don't get me started on their shoppers not being able to find things in their own store. When the To Go program was implemented at the beginning of this year, I was over the moon. Now I'm not so sure of it being worthwhile - I still had to go into the store and wade through oodles of unmasked people and have masked interactions with emplyees to get it straightened out!

First world problems!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Beautiful Ice

I encountered a fantastic thin skin of ice on a sheltered, shaded cove last week. I loved the fragility of it, so took a few photos, after shattering the ice to snag a plant sample.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021


Oh dear! I think I'm taking my Eco-warrior persona too seriously these days! It's time to scale back, I think.

Dale 'caught' me returning from a plant survey, loaded up with a plastic table and chair balancing on my kayak, a spare paddle, as well as bottles, cans, plastics, fishing line and plant samples. I do my best to remove trash and unsightly litter from our lake whilst I'm out, no matter how difficult or impossible the task may seem.

I think I look like a homeless person carrying their possessions around with them!

Sometimes I reach up with my shrub rake, enmesh it in the fishing line hanging down from the branches above, then twist it as if eating spaghetti, until it's well and truly tangled, and then pull down hard with all my might, often showering myself and my kayak with twigs, seeds, branches and needles. I carry a knife, scissors and gloves with me to handle some of the fishing tackle.

But my latest foray is embarrassing ... I feel so stupid and sheepish. Last week, in my overenthusiastic exuberance to remove litter and ugly plastics from the lake, I broke off a twig to bring this strange item home.

Yes, I did notice that it was deliberately attached with a zip tie, but I thought no more of it. Dale took one look at it and said "that's probably a geocache!" which it was! Oh dear me! What a fool I am! I should have guessed when I saw that it was intentionally attached to a branch - it was clearly not a loose, floating piece of plastic. Here is the visitor log for the cache (it's a little like the old hobby of 'letterboxing' - a combination of technology, geography and scavenger hunts):

I added my visit to the log and returned it to its original location over the weekend. And I thought I was done with driving my kayak to remote parts of the lake. That'll teach me - what an interfering little busybody I am!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Leaf Glow

Understory glow: 

Sun shines through marcescent leaves

Lighting up the woods

Sunday, November 14, 2021

November Adventure


I set off in my kayak on a day that had a very low chance of rain (10%) to do a late season plant survey. Dale took this shot of me setting off, as graupel/soft hail began to fall - I guess checking for rain is a separate category from other kinds of precipitation?

I wasn't deterred, though at one point in my expedition, I had to take shelter under some trees, since my pants were getting wet. I resorted to covering them with my life vest.

Sometimes it was rain and sometimes soft hail. It looked bleak, but I could also see blue sky, so I persisted.

I came out onto beautiful, shallow wetlands, where the blades of Carex lasiocarpa (woolly fruited sedge) created languorous curves.  

More and more blue sky appeared and the sun came out. It felt wonderful. But then I started finding more and more of this invasive plant, Utricularia inflata, an exquisitely alien-looking plant that checks all the boxes for best survival strategy!

I'd been putting my hands in the water to examine the underwater foliage and my hands were freezing. The species has clearly been established there for some time. My mood sunk even lower as the flower count in the survey went up - at 35, I decided to stop and head home to drown my devastated spirits in spirits.

And thank goodness for sunsets! I was cheered by this glorious light on my way home.

And here's me, back at home, on the phone to the Lake Stewards to tell the director of my awful discovery.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Camouflage Movement

The leaf litter moved!

Blurry shape shifter became

A young browsing deer.

Photo credit to Dale Schultz

How was I fooled by

Body form so distinctive?

- Slow, fluid movement!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Spindly Snowdrops


These tiny little mushrooms, Marasmius rotula, look like snowdrops on sticks, though their common name is pinwheel mushroom or collared parachute.

The pleats remind me of cupcake papers

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Larch

There's something exquisitely appealing to me about the tamarack tree (American or eastern larch, Larix laricina). I don't know if it's because it's such a unique conifer (it loses its leaves in winter, so is deciduous, an unusual feature for a conifer).

I came across quite a few growing in a remote bog feeding our lake. Look at the beautiful spiral detail of its fall foliage.

The Algonquin people used this species to make snowshoes and canoe ribs because of its pliability. It's been suggested that the north American word 'tamarack' might be an Anglicization of the native American words for this tree: hackmatack, akemantak, muckigwatig.

It's such a beautiful tree - I love the dramatic contrast of the black branch knobs against the yellowing needles