Monday, June 27, 2016

Sun and Moon



Summer was the most favored time for the sun and the moon because they could be together, if only for an hour, or so.
{author unknown}

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Alms






“Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks.”
{Walt Whitman}




Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Elusive Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid



 Cypripedeum Acaule, or Pink Lady's Slipper






I had been searching the forest grounds for one of the last spring ephemerals, and one of the most stunning, the pink lady's slipper orchid. I finally found one yesterday.

Prior to locating it, I did some research and learned they grown on well drained slopes and along swamp edges (perfect, as I often traverse a nearby swamp looking for my owl friends and other wildlife, including ephemerals, that situate themselves there.) 

Lady's slipper orchids grow primarily in the eastern part of the United States and northern Canada, in the coniferous areas of  forests, which is where I found this one. They need a certain leaf fungus for their seeds to germinate. Bumblebees, smelling their sweet scent go inside for nectar, but find none. However, this helps pollinate the flower anyway, as the bees will be tricked a few times thus spreading pollen from flower to flower unwittingly. The Lady's slipper is a protected flower. It takes a long time to grow and is considered endangered in some areas where people have dug them up. They do not do well once removed from their natural habitat, so it is best to enjoy them in nature.

Discovered in the late part of the eighteen century by Scottish botanist, William Aiton, some believed they look like a lady's slipper, hence their popular name. Pink lady's slippers are also called moccasin flowers. They produce hundreds of powdery seeds each year that are broken open only with the help of the leaf fungus they live amongst. It takes several years for a plant to mature, and then it can survive for at least a couple of decades.

I look forward to locating more, and who knows what else, as spring moves into summer.


I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
{Georgia O'Keeffe}


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Dryocampa Rubicunda, or Rosy Maple Moth

I had just put the strings on my lamppost for my clematis to climb. I walked away, and when I returned I could hardly believe my eyes. There, on the strings, was a pastel yellow and pink striped moth, with a fuzzy yellow head. I wasn't sure it was real. I got in close and snapped some shots. The only thing I could think to name it was the ice cream moth, like it was made of strawberry and vanilla ice cream. Perfect for the warm summer-like weather!

It is actually a moth of the Saturniid Family, named Rosy for its color and Maple for the type of trees it eats in its caterpillar stage. It is nocturnal, and comes out in the late afternoon which is when I found it. What a magical finding. I'd say it's a sign that this upcoming summer will be filled with magic.



Those that don't believe in magic will never find it.
{Roald Dahl)
Rosy maple moths inhabit temperate deciduous forests of eastern North America. They are most often associated with red maples (Acer rubrum), sugar maples (Acer saccharum), silver maples (Acer saccharinum), turkey oaks (Quercus laevis) and box elder maples (Acer negundo). Depending on where their host trees are, rosy maple moths have also been found in suburban areas. ("The Green Striped Maple Worm", 1971; Cotinis, 2004; Hyche, 2000; Opler, et al., 2012; VanDyke, 2006)
Rosy maple moths inhabit temperate deciduous forests of eastern North America. They are most often associated with red maples (Acer rubrum), sugar maples (Acer saccharum), silver maples (Acer saccharinum), turkey oaks (Quercus laevis) and box elder maples (Acer negundo). Depending on where their host trees are, rosy maple moths have also been found in suburban areas. ("The Green Striped Maple Worm", 1971; Cotinis, 2004; Hyche, 2000; Opler, et al., 2012; VanDyke, 2006)
Rosy maple moths inhabit temperate deciduous forests of eastern North America. They are most often associated with red maples (Acer rubrum), sugar maples (Acer saccharum), silver maples (Acer saccharinum), turkey oaks (Quercus laevis) and box elder maples (Acer negundo). Depending on where their host trees are, rosy maple moths have also been found in suburban areas. ("The Green Striped Maple Worm", 1971; Cotinis, 2004; Hyche, 2000; Opler, et al., 2012; VanDyke, 2006)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Owl Whisperer


I've been communicating with Owls. This is a clip of one of our conversations:


Learning to communicate has been a process. On a hike a couple of months ago, I heard an owl hooting and I hooted back. To my surprise it came to me, a Barred Owl, landing in a nearby tree. I wasn't able to snap a shot of it, as it was hidden in an evergreen, but I saw it as it swooped in silently.

Then, I began to hear the owl at the same time, and in the same location, everyday on the late afternoon walks I take after finishing up my tutoring assignments. So, one day I decided to hoot again, and sure enough it came and alighted in a nearby tree. It left me a feather, too.


I now visit the area daily, it is nearby a swamp which I have named, Owl Swamp. The owl has visited me countless times. Of course the above video shows my most prized visitation, when two owls presented themselves.


In his iconic book, Animal Speak, Ted Andrews says of owls:

"Often those with an owl as a power totem have a unique ability to see into the eyes and soul of others. Often these perceptions are discarded as wild imaginings or with such phrases as "What in the world would I think that about this person?" These kinds of imaginings, positive and negative, should be trusted."



I have been thinking about communication ever since. I have decided not to discount the feelings I get when communicating with others, even if they don't match what is being said.

Owl is teaching me a valuable lesson, and I am grateful to be its student.




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ephemerals of the Forest


Ephemeral:

(n.) lasting for a very short time
Trillium Erectum, or Wake-Robin


Trillium Undulatum, or Painted Lady

Claytonia Virginica, or Fairy Spud

Erythronium, or Trout Lily

Dicentra, or Wild Bleeding Heart


Viola, or Wild Yellow Violet

Arisaema triphyllum, or Jack in the Pulpit


Cypripedeum Acaule, or Pink Lady's Slipper