Thursday, June 20, 2024

Verdant Perfection

What a lush and magnificent array of greenery! We're so fortunate to live in a sparsely populated area where we can still admire unspoiled woods on a  neighborhood walk.



Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Light Saves the Day

On a day clouded by a supposed, restorative afternoon "nap" being disrupted by a continuously yowling cat, and after having been defeated by a hefty log that wouldn't respond to being floated back to our cove, our day was salvaged by an approaching storm!

When we saw that the storm was imminent, we dashed outside, and found ourselves transfixed by the incredible light display.


It called for a selfie!


The beautiful light salvaged our day, which we had shored up already with a Tequila sunrise cocktail (plus, we came home with a smaller, more manageable floating garden).

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Something New!

Wow! Just when I thought there were no new species to discover in my area, I noticed a different flower on a recent, casual walk in our neighborhood. It was a white flower by the roadside, hiding down low amongst the white Shasta daisies. The flower itself looked like a white morning glory, but the leaves were totally wrong for that. 

I took photos, of course, and was thrilled to have identified it once back home as the Upright False Bindweed (Calystegia spithamaea), native to the Eastern U. S. but regionally rare in New England due to it being at the northernmost limit of its range. What a lucky find! 

Go Botany describes it as "designated imperiled in some states, with few populations extant. It prefers disturbed sites with minimal competition from other plants, and therefore may be threatened by more aggressive non-native species."

This discovery is a reminder that plant communities are ever changing, dynamic entities. Or is it that the more I learn, the more I see? Had it not been there before, or had I merely overlooked it, camouflaged as it was by the daisies?

It's a very exciting find for me! And a sobering reminder that there's still lots to learn.


Monday, June 17, 2024

Spice Strata

I was amazed at how beautiful my home-made Texas rub looked before I blended all the spices together. It definitely reminded me of sedimentary rock strata - and I wasn't even trying!



Sunday, June 16, 2024

Eudaimonia

Water, trees and sky -

Beautiful, moody evening:

Eudaimonia.



* According to Britannica.com, eudaimonia is the condition of human flourishing or of living well, while Wikipedia describes it as "a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit' "

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Old Friends

I'm pleased to still be seeing the Canadian Owlet Moth caterpillar visit its nearly exclusive plant (Thalictroides pubescens) in my yard.

I photographed this species on my Tall Meadow Rue in 2021 and 2022 - I'm so happy to have a visit from a species of old friends.



Friday, June 14, 2024

Blackberry Blooms

What a beautiful and simple flower our blackberries produce - so easily overlooked when all we cherish is the fruit they give us.


Papery petals

Spangled with reddish anthers

Readying for fruit




Thursday, June 13, 2024

Similarities

 I was struck by the similarity in color scheme between my Wild Columbines


and my Coral Honeysuckle

Both attract hummingbirds ...


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Getting Knotted

It was very tough photographing this over-active threadlike worm, appropriately called a Horsehair worm. It just wouldn't keep still! It moved in amazingly sinuous and beautiful curves, often seeming to loop back and knot itself making it very obvious why they are also known as "Gordian knot" worms.

  
 

The larval stages of these nematodes are parasitic, colonizing the bodies of grasshoppers, beetles, and other such invertebrates. They pose no threat to humans, pets or livestock. Adults are not parasitic and feed on their own, without depending on other life forms. Up close, they're featureless, showing no definitive distinction of a head or tapering tail.

We found this one wriggling about amongst our aquatic plant samples - they live near and in water, the parasitic form often 'driving the host' to drown itself, to get to water. They're found worldwide.





Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Blazing Sunshine

This magnificent bloom is Coreopsis lanceolata, commonly known as tickseed, since its seeds apparently look like little ticks. It represents blazing sunshine to me!

The intense color and its not-very-picky growing requirements makes it very popular as a garden plant, but it has become invasive outside its natural range (the U.S.) where it aggressively outcompetes natives. It was declared an invasive species in 2006 and may no longer be sold, bought or transplanted outside its native range.



Monday, June 10, 2024

Volunteering Thrill

I had a blast helping a neighboring lake association with their Swollen Bladderwort removal initiative. The Maine D.E.P. contracted a suction harvester to remove as much of the invasive plant as they could in 3.5 days.

Volunteers were there with nets to scoop up fragments that had escaped during the process.


It was a mammoth task, and though we cleared large areas, the infestation is broader than we had previously realized. The plant has long trailing vegetation that is difficult to capture in its entirety without breaking it apart.


Even though there was still a lot left by the time the contracted time was over, it felt so rewarding to have been part of this effort, and I came home happy and satisfied each day. I definitely enjoy getting down and dirty for things that matter to me.









Sunday, June 9, 2024

Falsely Named


This native grows throughout the continental U.S. and it's often found in association with Solomon's Seal, with which it shares similar leaves. Its common name is variously False Solomon's Seal, False Lily-of-the-valley and False Spikenard - poor plant, it only seems to be nameable in terms of being a false version of something else! The scientific name is Maianthemum racemosum.

The tiny little flowers look like mini cauliflowers to me.


Saturday, June 8, 2024

Cute Rodent

Look at this adorable little piggy! It's lovely having them come so close while I sit and drink my morning coffee outside. So brave!



 



Friday, June 7, 2024

Pollen Universe

 I imagine these are pollen stars and constellations


Pollen comets?
   



Thursday, June 6, 2024

Homey Sausage

Sausage-making took up a lot of our time last weekend, but we are so happy to have done it - 12lbs of the delicious South African specialty called 'boerewors' which literally would mean farmer's sausage.

It's a blend of beef and pork, with lots of coriander, some nutmeg, cloves and allspice as the seasoning. No onion or garlic. Yum, it's such a nostalgic treat to experience the taste of "home."


Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Ukraine Colors

How could I not think of Ukraine when I saw this magnificent field of yellow pond lilies against the intense blue water?




Monday, June 3, 2024

Sweet Cheeks

I was thrilled to find this beautiful little critter in the shallows as I searched for invasive plants in a sheltered cove. How adorable is this little sweet-cheeked face!


I was even happier that it didn't dive and swim away when I placed a frisbee beneath it and lifted it from the muck for closer observation.


This is a young Eastern Painted Turtle - those claws look pretty impressive! 
I got a good look a the serrations on its tail, too


I'm amazed at how the yellow spot on the face always fools me into thinking it's a menacing, bold eye, but its eyes are in front of that.


Sunday, June 2, 2024

Flowers and Floats

These exquisitely unusual structures are specialized "leaves" of the Swollen Bladderwort (Utricularia inflata). They form underwater, and rise to the surface as they mature and become inflated, holding the flower aloft, above the rippling water, for pollination. It's quite an ingenious and successful mechanism. 


Another really cool thing about this plant is that it is carnivorous. There are small sacs (bladders) on the submersed leaves that suck in zooplankton when they brush against their sensitive hair-like triggers. Then the enzymes inside the little sacs get to work digesting them.

These plants are listed as invasive in Maine, but no successful method is yet known for removing them from lakes. Maine is trying multiple approaches for this newly declared invasive.






Saturday, June 1, 2024

Geranium Joy

I have lots of blooming Wild Geraniums growing in my yard - they look gorgeous in the sunshine



and they're attracting tons of flying insects.


I believe this to be a micromoth (it's really tiny, with a wingspan between .5 and .7 of an inch), called a mint moth