Monday, 27 August 2012

2nd Marsh -- August 27th, 2012

The marsh is looking as you'd expect it to at this time of year, as it transitions from summer to fall. Lots of brown, but still more green than brown. The yellows of Goldenrod are everywhere and there are big patches of orange Touch-me-Not. But there's still lots of Himalayan Balsam too, adding its pinks to the mix.

And Wild Cucumber of course...

A niche for one.

An Ash leaf, with its seven leaflets, on the boardwalk.

It's almost as though nature is saying that she wants her trees back.

A Monarch brightens any day.

You don't need a machete yet to get by the Beaver Pond, but you may soon. :-)

After the rain...

One of nature's jumbles, with the first Wild Cucumber fruit that I've seen this year.

A female Cabbage White butterfly on a Queen Anne's Lace "bird nest ". The male joined her for a chat, but she wasn't in a talkative mood.

Himalayan Balsam is scattered through the marsh in the sunnier areas.

It's impossible to see the details of a bee as they're flitting about, but it shows clearly in images. Their legs and antennae are remarkably complex.

As I was watching the bees, a common name for the Himalayan Balsam came to mind-- "Bee-Bums". When the bees are in the blossoms gathering nectar, all you see is their bums, hence the name. Because of the angle I was at, you can see more than just its rear-end in this shot.

I think another of the common names for Himalayan Balsam-- "Poor Man's Orchid"... is appropriate too.

I noticed as the bees left the flower, they brushed their thorax(?) with their legs before they flew off. Not sure what that's about. Just brushing off the loose pollen maybe.

If you see one of these snails, more often than not you see dozens of them. There were 25 or so in this area. They're a species of Land Snail.

Notice their bumpy bodies.

Until my next visit...

The Friends of Second Marsh web site... 
A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...

- fini -

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

On the Path -- August 20th, 2012

My favourite season is approaching. After a slow start, the signs are now coming fast & furious. I find summer to be a slow time in nature. With the changes that fall brings, things are happening again. And the cooler weather brings that invigorating feeling again, instead of the languishing feeling that accompanies summer's heat.

We can come out of our air-conditioned caves more often now, to enjoy nature at her fullest.

I take this shot a lot. The trees change but so does the light, so each shot is a little different from all the others. And then there's the choice of what exactly to include in the frame.

Queen Anne's Lace varies little from plant to plant in the summer, but come fall the variation is surprising. There are still quite a few in their summer dress but the "bird's nest" stage is evident in more & more of them each day. And the bird's nests vary considerably.

It's one of my favourite wildflowers in the fall, whereas in the summer I find it bordering on boring.

Some of the larger Poison Ivy plants have reached the berry stage.

Others have already taken on the reds of fall.

Tattered but standing proud, some Chicory and Bladder Campion.

The meadow at the top of the path has had a lackluster look all summer. It's still not very impressive but it's showing some colour.

Wild Grapes that don't look like grapes yet. They look more like large, green beech tree seeds.

An odd one I don't remember seeing before. The leaves along the stem are different to be sure.

"Just" leaves, but I think they're gorgeous!

Even the dreaded Dog-Strangling Vine has an attractive leaf.

Here, Dog-Strangling Vine is showing its invasive side, climbing over everything in sight, to over 10 ft off the ground.

Another of my favourites. Wild Cucumber has a unique leaf and its delicate blossoms add that special touch.

As it twists and winds its way through the forest, it often makes interesting shapes and patterns... in this case, a heart.

Common Mullein has one of the softest leaves you'll ever encounter. It's had some interesting uses in the past:
  • The leaves were used in the past for diapers & toilet paper. Aren't we lucky to have stores nearby.
  • Indians of North America lined their moccasins with the leaves to keep out the cold, and colonists used them in their stockings for the same reason.
  • The tall stalks (to 8 ft) that develop in the 2nd year were dipped in melted fat and used as torches by Roman soldiers.

A few Red Clover are still poking up through the grasses et al.

I couldn't get a clear view of this cat but its colours were so beautiful that I took a shot anyway. We had a short staring match, then I left it in peace.

Brown-eyed Susans with some arching Raspberry canes.

There are only a few Field Bindweed on the path, and those that are there have to fight for some breathing room.

Shades of autumn...

I've been told there a five types of Goldenrod in Canada. This is it's time.

Some "Butter & Eggs" (Common Toadflax) sharing its space with some Goldenrod.

I like to examine things in detail. I took this Milkweed pod apart. The white blob at the bottom of the image is the "milk" that gives the plant its name. The "lattice" between the outer casing and the seeds is fascinating. The entire pod is fascinating. Nature really is incredible.

Plantain... with its "skinny fingers". It's found the world over.

From the web... A lowly weed with a heady past.
Common Names:  Broad-leaved plantain, Ripple Grass, Waybread, Snakeweed, Cuckoo's bread, Englishman's foot, White man's foot, Buckhorn plantain, Dog's ribs, Hock cockle, Lance-leaved plantain, Rub grass, Dooryard plantain, Round-leaved plantain.

Plantain is one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal crops in the world. A poultice of the leaves can be applied to wounds, stings, and sores in order to facilitate healing and prevent infection.

Plantain was brought to the US and also to New Zealand by European settlers who valued it for it's culinary and medicinal properties. The settlers seemed to leave the plant wherever they went, thus earning it the name "White Man's Foot" or "Englishman's Foot" by the natives of both countries.

Plantain has been used medicinally for centuries. Herbals dating from the 1500's and 1600's are full of recipes and uses for plantain. It was considered to be almost a panacea - a cure-all, and a quick search shows that is has historically been recommended as a treatment for just about everything, up to and including dog bites, ulcers, ringworm, jaundice, epilepsy, liver obstructions, and hemorrhoids! Plantain was so commonly known it is even found referenced in Plantain is a highly nutritious wild edible, that is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten.

The sinews from the mature plant are very pliable and tough, and can be used in survival situations to make small cords, fishing line, sutures, or braiding.

Modern medical research is proving to uphold many of the historical uses of plantain - especially as a wound healer, and as a treatment for lung conditions such as bronchitis or asthma.


I know that a lot of people shudder at the thought of summer fading into fall. Me, on the other hand... I look forward to it. I'm about to welcome my three favourite seasons. :-)

- fini -


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