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)


Teasel: Lots more to it than just its historic uses…..

Young teasels coming into their own at the soccer field complex.
Teasel Facts
Teasel is herbaceous plant that originates from Europe and temperate parts of Asia. It was introduced to North America in the 18th century. Teasel can be found in the fields, pastures, meadows, areas near the roads, open forests and savannas. It prefers fertile soil and damp areas. People cultivate teasel mostly in ornamental purposes today and use it for the preparation of various floral arrangements.
Teasel produces erect stem that can reach 2 to 8 feet in height. Stem starts to develop during the second year.
Teasel develops lanceolate, puckered leaves with serrated edges. They are bright green colored and covered with hairs on the upper surface. Leaves initially grow in the form of rosette at the base of the plant. During the second year of growth, teasel starts to produce smaller leaves arranged in the opposite pairs. Their bases fuse around flowering stem, forming a “cup” which collects the water after the rainfall.
Teasel develops prickly flowering stem with multiple branches in the upper part. Branches end with cone-shaped clusters of flowers. Each cluster consists of 250 to 1500 individual, tube-shaped white flowers with purple lobes.
Each “cone” (cluster of flowers) is filled with short bristles and surrounded by long stiff bracts (modified leaves).
Teasel blooms from July to September. Flowers attract bumblebees and honeybees, main pollinators of this plant.
Fruit of teasel is light brown, hairy achene filled with one seed. Each plant produces around 3.300 seed per season.
Teasel propagates via seed.
Seed of teasel are important source of food for the blackbirds and goldfinches.
Honey made of nectar extracted from the teasel flowers is popular and often consumed in some parts of the world.
Scientific name of the plant “Dipsacus” originates from the Greek word “dipsa” which means “thirst”. Name refers to the unusual cup-like structures made of fused leaves which are designed for the accumulation of rainwater.
Name “teasel” refers to obsolete application of curved bracts of teasel in teasing of wool (cleaning, raising the nap and aligning of fibers). This practice originates from the ancient Rome. In most parts of the world, flower heads of teasel are replaced with machines in the manufacture of wool today.
According to the ancient belief, water collected from the cups made of teasel leaves can alleviate irritation and swelling of eyes and improve complexion of the face.
Teasel was used in traditional Chinese medicine in treatment of muscle pain, inflammation, tendon injuries and arthritis. Ancient Greeks used infusion made of teasel root in treatment of diarrhea, lack of appetite, liver disorders and for the elimination of toxins from the body.
Dried teasel can be used as a source of blue dye.
Teasel is biennial plant which means that it completes its life cycle in two years. teasel

Ugh. Japanese Beetles. I remember them swarming our grapevine as a kid. Well, they’re still at it.

Took this pic of Japanese Beetles doing the two things — the only two things — they do: fornicate and destroy — on some jewelweed plants yesterday.

Reminded me of when we were kids and would help Grammie Quarteroni drown as many as we could on you grapveines, and we would end up with quart cans of drowned beetles, but more were always ready to replace them.

Apparently, the status quo is still in place.


From the Daily Item:jap

Like zombies rising from the grave, in late June, Japanese Beetles emerged from our lawns. Unlike zombies, the Japanese Beetles went for our plants. We’re safe, but our gardens are getting eaten!

It may seem as though Japanese Beetles will eat any green leaves, though Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension service reports the beetles prefer grape leaves, roses, and shrub willows. Vegetable gardeners may also find Japanese Beetles on beans, lettuce, kale, raspberries and rhubarb.

Japanese Beetles chew up leaves, leaving large leaf veins in place. Depending on the number of beetles involved, leaves can become skeletons in a few days. Sadly, the smell of beetle-eaten leaves attracts more beetles. And, of course, Japanese Beetles sniff their way toward other Japanese Beetles. One leads to two, two lead to three, and three lead to a beetles party.

As adult Japanese Beetles chow on your plants’ leaves, their offspring hatch out in the soil and nurse on your plants’ roots. Female beetles lay eggs within a short distance of where they’re eating. The grubs dine on the roots of your lawn. In big numbers, grubs can do significant damage by late fall, though your lawn might not show it until spring.

Responsible pest management

Insecticidal chemicals can kill Japanese Beetles, but these are quickly falling into disfavor. Chemicals usually kill far more insects than just the ones causing trouble. It’s a bad idea to kill pollinating bees and flies, and predatory insects just to stop a beetle infestation. (Predatory insects don’t harm your plants, but they may kill insects that do harm plants. Ladybugs are, perhaps, the best-known in this class.)

Many gardeners carry a container of hot, soapy water to the garden and knock beetles off the plants into the water. They remove more tenacious beetles by picking them with their fingers and dropping them in the container. During peak season, you can revisit an infested plant or planting bed several times a day and find more beetles each time.

Suzanne Wainright, aka Buglady Suzanne or The Buglady, teaches garden pest control to nursery and public garden operators and landscapers all over the United States. She suggests your Japanese Beetles may not be such a big problem. “Homeowners tend to overreact the moment they see bug damage,” she suggests. “Plants and insects evolved together; plants can handle being chewed. Many can lose up to a third of their leaf mass without suffering.”

If you decide to treat against Japanese Beetles, The Buglady encourages you to use biocontrols rather than chemicals. “Neem oil (a natural plant extract) kills adult Japanese Beetles. It breaks down fairly quickly and rain washes it away, so you have to apply it often.

“To control grubs, try beneficial nematodes instead of chemicals. Nematodes on the market kill grubs of all types — even good grubs — but they won’t affect other beneficial insects.” Nematodes are microscopic worms, many varieties of which already live in your soil. Companies such as Biologic, a Pennsylvania-based business, raise and package nematodes you can spray on your lawn.

Buglady Suzanne is enthusiastic about a new product that has just become available to homeowners. “BT Galleriae kills adult beetles and grubs that swallow it. It’s a naturally-occurring protein that pokes holes in the bugs’ stomachs.”

You can apply BT to leaves where adults are feeding. Or, apply it to your lawn in autumn so grubs consume it before they get large and hard to kill. Keeping the Japanese Beetle grub population down protects against turf damage and keeps your grass healthy.

Buglady Suzanne points out that killing grubs in your lawn won’t solve your adult Japanese Beetle woes. “The beetles are very mobile. The ones on your plants didn’t necessarily begin life as grubs in your own lawn. They’ll find their way to you from all over your neighborhood.”

What of the well-advertised, popular remedies for Japanese Beetles? They probably do more damage than good. “The idea of planting ‘trap crops’ (plantings specifically to attract beetles away from your main garden) isn’t so good because you’re feeding the beetles,” Suzanne observes. “The well-fed females will lay a lot of eggs.”

Pheromone traps also deserve a bad rap. They capture hundreds of beetles without decreasing the numbers eating your garden plants. The pheromones attract female beetles, so you’ll have even more hungry insects on your plants and you’ll end up with a lot more grubs in your and your neighbors’ lawns if you set up traps.

Suzanne specifically discredits Milky Spore: bacteria advertised to kill Japanese Beetle grubs. She says it can take several years for Milky Spore to build up to lethal levels in your soil — if the package even contains the correct bacteria. Milky Spore products at garden centers, while labeled as Japanese Beetle deterrents, have not necessarily contained Japanese-Beetle-killing germs. “Milky Spore is a joke; look for BT Galleriae to control Japanese Beetles,” Suzanne encourages.

Daniel Gasteiger speaks enthusiastically about gardening and real food. His book, Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too, teaches how to preserve produce. He blogs about gardening at http://www.smallkitchengarden.net.

Another day, another screw up in wacky land of cyberania

So after spending three hours trying to get a battery out of my ACER Aspire only to find out the battery doesn’t come out and then spending another couple of hours getting that fixed and wasting all that time yesterday — was it only yesterday — today Verizon says last night’s “storm,” about four drops of rain, has knocked out my phone and internet and can’t be fixed until early tomorrow at the earliest.

Which is why I’m at Dunkin’ where everything seems to work, unlike my hosue, where less and less seems to work and another late posting, which is becoming the norm rather than the exception.


Lower humidity made it soooo hard to go to Y first but, as always, happy that I did, and still had an hour and a half for the Soccer fields. Both Y and fields were needed because the “storm” last night that I didn’t even notice knocked my phone-and-internet service out until at least tomorrow so I needed to stress breakers.
Pale touch-me-not or jewelweed, soon to be joined by a few trillion duplicates. But the jusice from this guy is good for poison ivy and since they tend to grow cheek by jowl it’s good to have around.

Jewelweed Facts

Jewelweed is a type of herbaceous plant that belongs to the balsam family. There are hundreds of species of jewelweed that can be found in temperate and tropical parts of North hemisphere. Jewelweed grows on the fertile, moist soil, exposed to direct sun or in the partial shade, depending on the species. It can be found near the rivers, swamps, woodlands, edges of the forests and areas near the roads. Jewelweed grows quickly and easily conquers new habitats. It is classified as invasive species in some areas. People cultivate jewelweed in ornamental and medicinal purposes.
Interesting Jewelweed Facts:

Jewelweed has light green, transparent stem that can reach 5 feet in height. This plant often grows in large groups, usually near the poison ivy.
Jewelweed has large, bright green, glossy leaves that are greasy on touch. Bottom side of the leaves is covered with tiny air bubbles that create silvery appearance. Leaves are broad and lanceolate, alternately arranged on the stem.
Jewelweed produces orange colored flowers composed of five petals that are fused at the base. Each flower has horn-like appendage. Flowers are covered with numerous dark-orange or red spots.
Jewelweed blooms from June to October (depending on the geographic region). Flowers grow from the axils of leaves, arranged in drooping clusters. They contain both types of reproductive organs (bisexual).
Orange-colored spots and nectar attract honeybees, bumblebees, hummingbirds and various butterflies, which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of jewelweed is green, swollen capsule filled with numerous rounded seed.
Jewelweed propagates via seed.
Seed of jewelweed is important source of food for the white-footed mice and northern bobwhite.
Name “jewelweed” refers to the fact that rain collected on the leaves form miniature, shiny, jewel-like drops due to water-repellent texture of the leaves.
Jewelweed is also known as “touch-me-not” and “impatience” due to the fact that even the slightest touch of the ripe fruit triggers explosion of the pods and spreading of seed 4 to 8 feet away from the mother plant.
Jewelweed contains chemicals that are useful in treatment of poison ivy rash, skin burns, insect bites and hives. It also contains antimicrobial compounds that can be used in treatment of athlete’s foot (type of fungal disease).
Sap of jewelweed can be applied directly to the injured spot, or used in the form of poultices (made of leaves) and tea (oral application may induce diarrhea and vomiting).
Native Americans used jewelweed as a source of yellow and orange pigments.
Petals of jewelweed, rose and orchids mixed with alum were used for the preparation of red or pink-colored nail polish in the Ancient China.
Most species of jewelweeds are annual plants which mean that they complete their life cycle in one year.













You can’t win….

hazelfilbertI just wrote a long post on why I couldn’t post anything yesterday, all the hijinks of cyberworld and what happened. Then I added these two pics and posted it like I’ve done maybe a hundred times before…and it just disappeared. So, for today, I give up….


The more I think about this the more interesting it seems so will ask Kenneth Klemow his thoughts on this. Was at Frances Slocum yesterday and found American hazelnut growing on a shrub; not that unusual. But the shrub next to it, with its leaves entangled in the American hazlenut, was its cousin, beaked hazlenut. Would these two plants normally grow in such propinquity (and close to each other too :–). I’ve never seen it before, have you?

Beaked hazelnut gets its specific epithet (cornuta) from the Latin word for horn, referring to the horny projection on the beaked fruit. In contrast to its cousin, American hazel, beaked hazelnut fruits do not bear red, glandular hairs. The nuts of beaked hazelnut are edible, and provide an important food source for hares, birds, squirrels, and many other animals.

Caddis Fly cases are very, very cool

I’ve always had a real affection for caddis fly cases since first reading about them in Annie Dillard’s Tinker at Pilgrim Creek.

She writes about not being able to ever see them and, when she finally does, they are everywhere.

And each case is a production of one single larva building out of materials at hand a hard case to protect his soft body.

So, of course, finding a small rock this encrusted with the cases set my day out in the woods off to a very good start.

What I posted on FB yesterday:

Well, after paying $50 to an IT “pro” I found on Craigslist neither laptop is fixed — in fact this one I use at DD right now, is in worse shape and it took forever to sign in. I was so disguted that we never even got around to the Fire Stick. Ah well, went to the cool woods and it helped. Sat by one of the little streams and picked up a rock and it was absolutely loaded with these interesting caddis fly cases.caddis

While caddisfly larvae tend to closely resemble caterpillars, caterpillars have many appendages along their abdominal segment (called prolegs). Caddisfly larvae, however, have only a single pair located near the tip of the abdomen.
The cases that caddisfly larvae construct provide protection from predators, but also provide camouflage, helping them blend into their surroundings. Caddisfly larvae have very soft bodies, and the case also acts as a barrier from the abrasive substrate.
Caddisflies are closely related to butterflies and moths.
The shape of the cases, along with the types of materials used to create them, vary between different caddisfly species.
When the female goes underwater to lay her eggs, she can stay under for up to 30 minutes while she glues her eggs to submerged rocks and vegetation. She does this by using air that is trapped on her tiny hairs for oxygen.
An artist named Hubert Dubrat uses caddisflies to create unique sculptural forms. He removes caddisfly larvae from their existing cases, and then places them into an environment containing such materials as gold flakes, precious gems, and pearls, and leaves them to make cases out of these materials




A very, very white Black Cohosh

Another late post because of pissing away too much time this morning trying to get my two laptops fixed and Fire Stick set up. An hour and 15 minutes later, neither laptop is working right and we never even got to the Fire Stick.

Thank goodness for the woods, where the sight of such lovelies as this black cohosh calmed me down.

A very white black cohosh.

Black cohosh is herbaceous plant that belongs to the buttercup family. It originates from the eastern parts of North America. Black cohosh can be found on the edges of the forests and clearings in the woodlands. It requires moist, heavy soil and partial shade for the successful growth. Black cohosh is cultivated in ornamental and medical purposes.
Interesting Black cohosh Facts:

Black cohosh has erect, smooth, purplish stem that can reach 4 to 8 feet in height.
Black cohosh produces large leaves composed of three leaflets with irregularly toothed edges. Leaves can be 3 ft 3 in long and wide. Wild plants produce green leaves. Some cultivated varieties of black cohosh have burgundy-colored leaves.
Black cblack oohoshohosh develops small feathery, white flowers arranged in the form of dense, elongated clusters on top of the flowering stem. Flowers do not have petals and sepals. They consists only of 55 to 110 white stamens (male reproductive organs) which surround centrally positioned white pistil (female reproductive organ).
Black cohosh blooms from May to July. Flowers emit fetid smell which attracts flies, gnats and various beetles, responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of black cohosh is dry follicle filled with few seed. Fruit ripens from August to October.
Black cohosh propagates via seed and division of rhizome.
Name “black cohosh” refers to the black colored, thick, knobby rhizome of this plant (“cohosh” means “knobby root” in the language of Native Americans). Black cohosh is also known as “black snake root”, due to unusual, snake-like shape of the rhizome.
Black cohosh is rich source of vitamins A and B5.
Black cohosh is also known as “women’s remedy” because of its effectiveness and frequent usage in treatment of menstrual cramps, hot flushes and mood swings (and other symptoms of menopause) and pain in the breasts, uterus and ovaries.
Rhizome of black cohosh was also used in treatment of arthritis, whooping cough, bronchitis, diarrhea and hypertension in the past, and juice squeezed from the plant in treatment of snake bites.
Harvest of black cohosh takes place at the beginning of the autumn. Rhizome needs to be washed and dried in the sun before consumption.
More than 500.000 pounds of dried rhizome of black cohosh are consumed each year. Black cohosh market is industry worth of 2.5 million dollars.
Black cohosh is available in the form of tinctures, capsules, tablets and powders. Root and rhizome are main ingredients of numerous commercially available dietary supplements. One of the best known and most commonly used herbal remedy is Remifemin, which is very popular in Europe.
Entire plant emits unpleasant smell which repels insects. Juice obtained from the plant can be used instead of conventional insect repellents. That’s how black cohosh earned its nickname “bugbane”.
Black cohosh is perennial plant (lifespan: more than 2 years in the wild).


The wooing of a shy bird…..

Another lovely, humidity-free day. Got my friend Earl (who knows, he looks like an Earl), a great blue heron, to within about 20 feet today with a can of sardines in virgin olive oil. He’s getting closer every time. After eating the sardines (which I flung at him but he knows by now that means foods a coming) he hung around for about 10 minutes while I sat there watching him. Think shrimp next time and will fling them about 10 to 12 feet away and see if he’ll come that close. step at a time and with those legs even one step is a long way.great