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Old guy, new nature leaf

I’m an amateur naturalist and a pro (technically, I’ve earned $5.81 on Adobe Stock so far) photographer, with tons of photos and years of personal observation of what’s going on in the ever-fascinating world of nature.

So I’m going to post a pic and a bit of text every day. I hope you find it interesting, or enlightening or refreshing.

Any comments — and I’d love to hear your thoughts — can be directed to me at bobqsix@Verizon.net.

Pictured is Opie, our precious 17-pound rescue dog and best woods buddy ever.

Enjoy and please come back often.opie edit (640x426)

 

I’m looking over — actually I should say I’m overlooking the ubiquitous red clover

As I gaze out my kitchen window there are, literally, thousands of clovers dotting my lawn.  This plant is so ubiquitous that we stop seeing it after a while, yet it is our constant companion.

I was surprised to learn that it’s not even native. Who’d have thunk it.

Red clover is not a native of the Americas but was naturalised from northern Europe. The red clover flowers at the end of the branched stems are considered to be the source of its medicinal properties and are usually dried for therapeutic use.

Red clover flower is small and 15-60 cm. in height. The Red clover flower is a dome-shaped flower cluster. The Red clover flowers are arranged at the terminal shoot. The flower heads are nested in 2-3 leaves. Each red clover flower head is between 1/2 -1 inch wide. Red clover flower has pink to red flower head, made up of many 100-125 or more small typical legume flowers.

Facts About Red clover

  • Red clover flower plants are Perennial herbs, and sometimes biennial.
  • Red Clover flower plant can grow upto 20 inches tall.
  • Red clover is a legume that is a rich source of isoflavones.
  • Red clover plant stems are erect or ascending.
  • Red clover plant leaves are in the form of basal rosette with long-petioles.
  • Red clover plant leaves are edible and nutritious.
  • Red clover plant stems are strong, upright woody stems, high in fiber.
  • Red clover planclovert lives for only 1-3 years.
  • The leaflets of the Red clover has a light green, V-shaped smudge in the center.
  • Root system in the Red clover flowering plant is well developed tap root which is drought resistant.
  • Red clover flowering plant parts are said to retard progress of cancerous tumours before ulceration has taken place.
  • Red clover flower is also used in skin problems, like psoriasis and upper respiratory tract problems.
  • Red Clover seed germinate quickly in moist soil.

Ah, and may we suggest the garden weed salad for your enjoyment today?

purslaneYep, it looks like a weed, acts like a weed, but tastes like a treat…they say.  They love my garden though and I can have an endless supply if I want.

This nondescript little weed — which loves my garden — is actually considered a superb salad green, recommended by the New York Times etc. etc. It’s purslane and here’s a salad recipe.

Author Notes: I used to work on a farm, and I spent a lot of time being annoyed at all the weeds. But not purslane — we always harvested this weed for ourselves and used i (…more) —linzarella

Food52 Review: If you have never tried purslane, one taste of linzarella’s Purslane salad will make you an enthusiast. Bright and bold, it is a symphony of flavors and text (…more) —gingerroot

Serves: 2

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 bunch purslane, chopped, and thick portions of stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt

pinches salt

pinches pepper

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 cucumber, chopped

3/4 cup melon, cubed

5 radishes, thinly sliced

1. In a small bowl, combine the red onion, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Set aside to marinate for at least five minutes.
2. Put the purslane in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and yogurt. Using tongs, distribute olive oil and yogurt evenly over the greens. Add salt, pepper, and lemon zest, and stir with tongs. Add red onions, vinegar, and lemon juice, stir with tongs, and add remaining ingredients.
This recipe is a Community Pick!
This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Lettuce
This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Greens
This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Dish

 

After another losing day battling Verizon, a little bitty piece on yarrow

yarrow4th straight day, I think, of posting in the late afternoon because the laptop I’m  using right now, which works perfectly here at DD and has all my photos, will not connect at home, when I do most of my work in the morning. Ah well, the battle  continues. Think I’m going to see what other ISPs are out there and maybe finally make a move.

Yarrow, with no extra charge for the bee….

Yarrow Facts

Yarrow is herbaceous plant that belongs to the family Asteraceae. This plant originates from the northern hemisphere (Europe, Asia and North America), but it can be found all over the world today. Yarrow can survive in various habitats: forests, meadows, grasslands, mountains, coastal areas and even deserts. This plant reproduces quickly and easily occupies new habitats (acts like invasive species). Yarrow is mainly cultivated because of its healing properties and as an ornamental plant. Other than that, yarrow is beneficial in gardening and it can be used to prevent erosion.

Interesting Yarrow Facts:

Yarrow has one or more stems that can reach 0.66 to 3.28 feet in height.
Yarrow has feathery leaves that are usually 2 to 8 inches long. Leaves are covered with tiny hairs and spirally arranged on a stem.
Yarrow develops miniature white, reddish or pink flowers arranged in terminal inflorescences, shaped like rounded or flat heads. They are usually 2 to 4 inches wide. Flowers smell like chrysanthemum. Yarrow blooms from May to June. Flowers attract butterflies, ladybugs and hoverflies.
Yarrow produces nut-like fruit called achene which contains one seed.
Yarrow can be propagated via seed and parts of the stem.
Scientific name for the yarrow is Achillea millefolium. Plant is named after Greek’s hero Achilles, who used yarrow to treat battle wounds of his soldiers.
Yarrow is also known as carpenter’s weed because carpenters often use it to stop the bleeding from the wounds and cuts that are inevitable part of their work.

After a hard Y workout and a horribly slow Verizon, it was nice to get a rush….

meadowThird day in a row not posting til the afternoon because Verizon is now sooooo slow at home, but I dread the time required to deal with V. support. Will have to soon. Weird thing is this computer can’t connect AT ALL from home  but at Dunkin’ it’s up and connected in less than 10 seconds. Beyond my pay grade.

 

I was dragggggginggg through the 3rd Y workout of the week, especially since the place is desrted with summer and vacations. But as always, AFTER its over I’m glad I did it.
This is meadow rush (horsetail). You can tell it from the other by its horizontal whorled branches.

Meadow horsetail is common in the northern United States and Canada. In New England it is absent from southeast, rare in Connecticut and New Hampshire, and scattered in Maine. Meadow horsetail can be distinguised from field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) and other horsetails (Equisetum) by its delicate, feathery, horizontally spreading branches. It has been used as a winter food by the Inupiat Eskimos, who preserved it in seal oil.

Horsetail Facts

Horsetail is a vascular plant that is closely related with ferns. It is also known as snake grass and scouring rush. There are around 20 species of horsetail that can be found almost everywhere in the world, except in Australia, New Zealand, on several islands in the Pacific Ocean and on Antarctica. Horsetail prefers wet habitats, such as marshes, swamps and edges of the forest close to rivers and streams. It has high reproduction capacity and it easily conquers new habitats. Because of that, horsetail is often considered as weed. Population of horsetails is large and stable in the wild. These plants are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Horsetail Facts:

Size of horsetail depends on the species. Majority of species are 1-2 feet tall. Largest species of horsetail can reach 6 feet in height.
Horsetail has reduced leaves arranged in whorls along the branched stem.
Stem is green in color and it plays role in photosynthesis (production of food by using sunlight and carbon dioxide).
Stem of horsetail is coated with silica. This feature makes horsetail useful for polishing of metal surfaces.
Horsetail is attached to the ground via strong and very deep rhizome that gives rise to new stalks. Horsetail usually lives on wet sand and clay.
Horsetail does not have natural predators and it grows and spreads quickly. Because of that, it easily occupies new territories and acts as an invasive species.
Horsetail is not susceptible to viral or bacterial infections and it tolerates high doses of pesticides.
Due to high dose of certain proteins (enzymes called thiaminase), animals (such as horses) can experience poisoning after consumption of large quantity of horsetail.
Horsetail is used in folk medicine mostly for treatment of urinary and renal infections. Besides that, horsetail is used to prevent bleeding, to accelerate wound healing and in the treatment of skin inflammation and ulcers.
Even though horsetail is widely used for medical purposes, its positive effects are not scientifically proven.
Horsetail originates from a group of tall plants (over 98 feet in height) that were one of the most dominant plants during the Paleozoic era.
Horsetail does not have flowers and does not produce seed. It reproduces via spores that are produced in the sporangium (cone shaped organ), located on the top of the plant.
Horsetail has two different morphological stages in its lifecycle: sporophyte and gametophyte. Sporophyte generation can be seen by bare eye, while gametophyte consists of microscopically small structures. Sporophyte generation produces spores which develop into gametophyte. Gametophyte produces reproductive cells required for sexual reproduction.

Indian Cucumber root a new find for me

indian
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Another late posting because the situation with the Verizon router at home is getting ridiculous. So it’s to the point I have to wait until after the day’s running around when I come to Dunkin’ to get any work done.  And working with Verizon “support” is a Herculean task. Ah well.

Well, just found out my fossils piece is running in Harrisburg tomorrow so that’s nice. After doggies went to F. Slocum where it was apparently kayak day. Found a new one for me. Indian Cucumbe root. Can’t see it from the pic but it has a whorl of leaves about half way up the stem and then another under the flower head, which the pic doesn’t do justice to: pale yellow, six reflex petals and stamens sticking far, far out. Very cool litttle guy.

Indian Cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana) is a native wildflower that produces small, greenish-yellow flowers in spring. It grows in moist woodlands at the Paul Smiths VIC and other locations in the Adirondack Mountains and upstate New York.

The inconspicuous flowers emerge from the center of a whorl of three leaves at the top of a slender, woolly stem. The flowers are 1/2 inch wide and appear on stalks that sometimes bend down below the leaves. The flowers have petal-like segments with turn backward. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). The flowers are followed (usually in early fall) by berries, which eventually turn bluish-purple. The root of the Indian Cucumber-root is white, with a brittle texture.

Indian Cucumber-root grows one to two feet tall and has hairy, unbranched stems. The leaves are whorled and lance-like. Plants that are going to flower have two tiers of leaves, with a lower whorl of five to eleven leaves and an upper whorl overhanging the flowers. Plants which are not blooming in a given year have only the lower tier. The foliage of the one-tiered plants resemble Starflowers. However, the veins of the Starflower radiate from the tip of the stalk, while those of the Indian Cucumber-root are parallel.

Indian Cucumber-root is a member of the Lily (Liliaceae) family. The common name stems from the fact that the root tastes and smells somewhat like a cucumber and was used for food by native Americans. The plant is now quite scarce. The plant is also known as Indian Cucumber.

Indian Cucumber-root has been used for medicinal purposes. The Iroquois reportedly used an infusion of the crushed dried berries and leaves to treat convulsions in infants. The root is said to be diuretic.

Indian Cucumber-root grows in shade or partial shade in rich soil in moist woods or on the margins of swamps and bogs. It can be found in the eastern half of the US and Canada, including New York State.

A little late…hell, a lot late…

catVerizon router problems all day so this is late, but since only one or two people are looking at it every day it hardly matters.

But I’ve made a commitment that I’m going to post every day and I am. Maybe with time this will evolve into something I give more time to and ruminate here at length but for right now it’s going to be what it says: One nature moment, no matter how tiny, every day.

So here’s the catbrier that managed to rip my shins apart at Deep Hollow the other day. Nasty little guy…

Having just walked through this jungle of catbrier — in shorts, of course– I think its thorns are sharper than normal.

catbrier Smilacaceae Smilax glauca Walter Listen to the Latin symbol: SMGL
Leaf: Alternate, simple, parallel veined, oblong to narrowly cordate, 2 to 4 inches long, green or variegated with pale patches above, whitened beneath.
Flower: Small and greenish-yellow, in clusters appearing in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: Dark blue to nearly black berries covered with glaucous bloom, occur in clusters, 1/3 inch in diameter.
Twig: Slender, round, green and often covered with a white waxy bloom, prickles weak, tendrils present.
Bark: Greenish brown becoming discolored with age.
Form: A climbing vine.
Looks like: saw greenbrier – laurel greenbrier – common greenbrier – bristly greenbrier
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Smilax glauca is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting catbrier.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDA Plants Database

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania has a state fossil? That and soooo much more……

trilobite (640x426)

 

 

By Bob Quarteroni

 

Well, in a state where it’s still unlawful to sing in a bathtub, sleep on top of a refrigerator or catch a fish with your hands – you may not catch a fish by any body part except your mouth – this really isn’t surprising.

All these…things…are still on the books in Pennsylvania, the result of the clear thinking and sensible actions we have come to expect from our legislators. And I haven’t even mentioned Allentown’s law banning men from becoming aroused in public.

Still, the first time I heard that we have an official state fossil I thought these legislators have waay too much free time.

They used some of that time, in December of 1988, to pass an act “designating the Phacops rana, a trilobite, as the official State fossil of the Commonwealth….”

For those of you not keeping up with these things, a trilobite is an extinct marine arthropod that occurred abundantly during the Paleozoic era.

But a little digging found that there was actually a good reason for this: An elementary school science class campaigned for the trilobite to be enshrined as the state fossil.

Which means that our elementary school students are intelligent enough to believe in Darwinian evolution, not necessarily the case with our alleged educational leaders.

In Arizona – where the state fossil is petrified wood – fossils may or may not exist, at least in the classroom textbooks.

Last month, WKOV.com reported that “School Superintendent Diane Douglas is apparently behind a rewrite of science standards for all Arizona school children that would delete references to evolution and allow ‘intelligent design,’” that cleaned-up phrase for creationism, to be taught.

So it would seem that petrified might be sort of a theme out there.

But let us not wander from our own little playground.

I’m pleased to inform you that Pennsylvania also has a state insect – politicians apparently being wrongfully omitted from bug classification: the firefly.

Well, at least it’s better than Rhode Island’s incomprehensible choice of the American burying beetle. However, Rhode Island does have a state appetizer: calamari. Interesting state, Little Rhodie.

Back home there’s more. Official state dog: The Great Dane, which would seem more appropriate for Denmark but hey, William Penn was said to have one.

Our politicians were at their best for the 1965 vote.

According to statesymbolsusa.org, “When the Speaker of the House called for a voice vote to designate the Great Dane, yips, growls and barks assaulted his ears from every part of the chamber! With a rap of his gavel, the Speaker confirmed that the ‘arfs have it’ and the ‘Barking Dog Vote’ entered the annals of legislative history.”

And while everyone knows that mountain laurel is the state flower, betcha didn’t know we’ve also got an official state plant: penngrift crownvetch.

As statesymbolsusa.org notes “The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has planted it along roads throughout the state. “

One tiny problem. The State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has it listed as “invasive” on its invasive plant fact sheet.

As the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Arkansas says, “Once touted as the end-all for erosion control along road cuts and other difficult locations, it’s now being considered an invasive weed by many.”

Well, can’t win ‘em all.

So many more.

State beverage: milk.

State song – hold onto your hats – “Pennsylvania.”

The chorus makes it pretty clear this is DOA.

“Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, may your future be, filled with honor everlasting as your history.”

State colors? blue and gold. State firearm: The Pennsylvania long rifle.

We even have a state aircraft, the Piper J-3 Cub (pay no attention to wags like Max Stanley, a Northrop test pilot, who said “The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world;…it can just barely kill you.”).

But of more importance – and boy, isn’t this all important? — are three things that haven’t received the official state designation.

First is the state soil. Proposed is “Hazleton soil,” which is listed as only the “unofficial” soil right now.

Named for the Luzerne County city where Lou Barletta ran amok as mayor, the soil occurs in half of the counties of the state.   I have nothing further to say about this.

And we have a proposal for a state toy, the Slinky. An Act was proposed by Rep. Richard Geist in 2001, but not enacted, which is a shame.

A Slinky is a perfect symbol for Pennsylvania: wobbly, always going downhill and without a spine. It’s a match made in heaven.

Lastly, consider the monumental battle for state cookie: In 1996, a group of 4th grade students started lobbying to have the chocolate chip cookie named the official state cookie.

But in mouth-dropping wonder, usastatesymboles.org reveals “The legislation to adopt a state cookie has been held up for several years as lawmakers struggle between the chocolate chip, Nazareth sugar cookie (House Bill 219), and the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (House Bill 2479).”

And we actually pay them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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