Sep 26, 2015

Nature Walk | Wildflower ID in Rhode Island

This is how I spent my birthday ... a last minute trip to Middletown RI for an autumn wildflower identification hike.  In case you don't know the area, Middletown RI is on an actual island. So yes, I spent my birthday on an island looking at wildflowers.  Heavenly.

The area was gorgeous and our guide wonderful and knowledgable.  Being the nerd that I am, I wanted to bring pen and paper along, but somehow managed to forget the paper.  So I tried writing on my hand, arm, a leaf.  Nothing was working.  A woman next to me was cradling a Strathmore journal and how I wanted to ask for just one sheet.  One little square.  Can I please borrow one little square?  Would she have a square to spare?  (channeling Seinfeld)  But I was a bit terrified to ask.  Strathmore paper is precious after all.  So I had to remember everything in this aging head of mine.  Later, when I got in the car, I wrote on my forgotten paper like a mad woman.  Even so, I'm sure many of the names of the flowers are wrong.  I'll now spend my nights researching to get them right.  Nerd.

Some of the colors may be a little washed out in the photos - these are SOOTC:

Chicory.  We see this in New England often on the side of the road, but not usually this late in the season.  It was surprising to see one little bloom though.  In real life, this was a very bright blue.


Grassleaf Goldenrod.  I swear it's not a weed!  I love goldenrod.  It is quite popular among the pollinators, too.

I'm thinking a Bush Aster.

An aster - a New York or Smooth aster.  We learned how to ID using Newcomb's Wildflower Guide but quickly learned that even with this excellent guide, there can be confusion.  We narrowed it down to those two asters.

New England Aster.

Tall Goldenrod.  There is a specific bug that creates a gall (worm filled ball) in only this species of goldenrod.  Both very specific ... and gross ... at the same time.

Wood (i think) Aster.  The number of small asters and daisies in fields and woods are amazing.  And small daisies and asters can look much alike. If you look very carefully you are able to see the differences and ID them correctly.  Of course, if I had a PIECE OF PAPER, I'd have photographic record of the differences right here.

I think this may be Common Fleabane which is a daisy.  But I could be wrong.

You can see Wood Sunflower that's almost gone among the grasses here.

Jerusalem Artichoke.  Monstrously tall plants.  You can make beer from the roots.

Horse Nettle.  Not a true nettle, but in the nightshade family.  Like tomato and potato.

There was more ... but I'm going to leave this photo heavy post for the day. More tomorrow.

Sep 22, 2015

Nature Walk | Do Not Disturb!

Taking a break from the job of NOT blogging to post a little PSA.  I haven't been blogging, but I have a lot of photos that I could be blogging about.  

Mostly nature photos.  Of course.

I've been waiting to see the Monarch caterpillar and behold, I spotted a few in a favorite spot, Trustom Pond, a federal wildlife refuge.  Refuge is the key word here since that's the point of my PSA.

The refuge has a lot of milkweed, but even so ... very few caterpillars.  It does make me wonder if the Monarch is in fact endangered.  It's controversial I guess.  They may be endangered, they may not.  Only in the midwest.  Only in the east.  Only in the south.  I've read it all and who knows what is right?

Since this is a refuge, you are encouraged to visit, but must leave nature the way you found it.  And so comes my PSA.  After spotting my caterpillar, photographing him, and exclaiming my excitement to another nature watcher by the pond, the nature watcher told me she saw children walking out of the refuge with a milkweed stem and caterpillar to take it home.

This saddened the nature watcher as it does me.  The children OF COURSE did not know better, but their parents should have.  Removing the caterpillar will more than likely be its demise.  Nature needs to be respected at the refuge.

I'll leave this post with a photo and request from one nature watcher and a Monarch caterpillar (wink):

It is amazing what these little buggers go through to become butterflies, and travel so far to overwinter in Mexico, and then come back again!

Jul 28, 2015

Creative Tuesday | Old Book Journaling

I've been having fun experimenting in my vintage ledger with various mixed media techniques, but couldn't really call a particular piece "finished" without adding words or journaling of some sort.

My ledger is a book of experiments and techniques ... not really a scrapbook or journal ... and I was finding it hard to put words down on the page.

I've discovered a fun compromise by cutting out words and phrases from old books and piecing them together to form my "journaling".

I have a small collection of old books that I've picked up ... mainly for their covers.

When the cat's got my tongue and I want to finish up a page, I'll use the words and phrases from a book to get the job done.

The words may seem like nonsense to others, but to me they hold  secret meaning and help finish my page.

Have a creative day!