I’ve been taking photos of things for the last few months that I find interesting and the photos have been piling up with too many to make into separate posts. So this post is dedicated to all the lonely photos who have no home.
1. Wild rose–they grow all over the farm.
A true wild rose is actually called “species rose”, a species that occurs naturally, with no help from man. Others are hybrids. The thorns on introduced (non-native, non-wild) roses are generally curved, while those on the native roses are more or less straight. If you look closely at the bottom center, you’ll see a curved thorn.
So, it’s technically not a wild rose, but it gets no help from us, so that’s how we think of it.
Roses provide pollen for the bees and butterflies and are good for beekeepers and orchards. They also provide nesting places for birds and seclusion for small animals. The hips, or fruit, develop in the fall and can be made into a variety of products–marmalade, syrup, tea, soup and even beads. They are high in Vitamins A, C, B, D & E, flavonoids and zinc.
Rose Petal Beads:
Pick a shopping bag full of fresh petals (old wild roses are best). Process in food grinder until resembles clay. Place ground petals in a cast-iron skillet or pot and regrind daily for 2 weeks (no kidding). The paste will become thicker every day until it can be rolled into smooth, hard beads. Roll beads until they are smooth and rounded. Place a hole through the bead with a pin and pin to a corkboard. (Finished beads will be around 1/2 the size of the fresh ones.) Let the beads dry for 2 weeks on the board. Remove the pins and polish each bead with flannel or a soft cloth. String beads into a necklace. As you wear the necklace, the beads will darken and polish and release their rosy fragrance. These beads are suppose to last for generations!
2. Wild blackberry–This may be a Mountain blackberry or Himalayan blackberry, but without fruit it’s hard to tell. The way to tell the difference between a blackberry and a raspberry is that the torus (stem) stays with the blackberry fruit, but it breaks off of the raspberry leaving a hollowed out center. The blackberry provides food for caterpillars and mammals, especially deer.
3. White hyacinth, or fool’s onion (Triteleia hyacinthina). I found some conflicting information on the edibility of the white hyacinth bulbs (or corms). They were an important food source for the Native Americans–eaten raw, steamed, boiled, roasted and mashed. It is native to western North America.
4. Cinquefoil (Pontentilla nepalensis)-this is growing in the flower garden. I thought it was a wildflower, but it must be part of one of the more established pontentilla in the garden. The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of many Lepidoptera, notably the grizzled skipper butterflies. It has been used as an herbal remedy for inflammation and GI disorders. Research continues to determine its safety and usefulness as an alternative medicine for such disorders such as ulcerative colitis. Some pontentilla are used by the Chinese as an herbal remedy for diabetes.
The cinquefoil emblem signified strength, power, honor and loyalty on coat of arms, flags and similar emblems. The depiction of the flower appears as early as 1033 in the architecture of the church in Reulle-Vergy in Burgundy, France.
5. Self-heal or heal-all (Prunella vulgaris). This plant is herbaceous and edible and is part of the mint family even though it has no odor. The stems are four-sided.
The entire plant is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. Its flavor is like bland romaine lettuce.
Heal-all has been historically used as a medicine for just about everything. Modern herbalists regard it as an excellent emolient, astringent and vulnerary agent (heals wounds). It is used in several commercially available all-purpose salves, ointments and lotions that are intended to soothe and speed the healing of minor burns, wounds and other irritations. As a tea, it is considered to be useful in relieving gastritis and diarrhea and healing digestive ulceration. Besides containing the vitamins A, C & K and flavanoids, heal-all contains ursolic acid, a compound that has been shown to have diuretic and antitumor qualities.
(Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, page 70)
6. Sea Holly-(Eryngium) A genus of over 200 species. This plant is in the flower garden, and is gorgeous with it’s electric blue leaves. The great British gardener of the Edwardian period, William Robinson, said that Sea Holly was “not surpassed in beauty by any plant!”
7. The native grasses grow all over the farm and when I can take the time to look at them, instead of endeavoring to mow them all down, I find beautiful specimens such as this pink grass.
8. Fuller’s teasel (Dipsacus fullonum). The dried version of this plant is growing all over the farm. It has an interesting form, but it’s spiny. A biologist told me that it does bloom and the blooms start in the center and move up and down the flower head, so I had been waiting all spring to see that happen. Finally, it bloomed in the summer and just as I was told the blooms began opening in the center.
The flower heads of the teasel are used in the wool industry to raise the nap on cloth.
(Wildflowers fo the Pacific Northwest, Turner & Gustafson, page 449)
9. Everlasting Pea or perennial sweetpea (Lathyrus latifolius). Our daughter came for a visit and found this very pretty wildflower growing out by the main road. We had hopes that it was an orchid, but I think it is just as pretty. The flower petals look like they’ve been painted with watercolors.
10. Dandelion- I love the symmetry of this plant.
11. Common monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), same family, figwort, as the snapdragon. Captain Meriwether Lewis collected a specimen of this flower, also called Yellow monkeyflower, on July 4, 1806. Used by the Native Americans in many ways–a decoction of the stems and leaves was used as a steam bath for soreness in the chest or back; poultice of crushed leaves for rope burns or wounds; brewed into a tea for stomachache. Can be eaten raw or cooked.
12. Farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena). I saw this flower in my wildflower book and hoped I would find it one day. On a trip to the coast there it was, growing alongside the road by the river. It is native to western South and North America.
13. Yellow velvet long-horned beetle (Cosmosalia chrysocoma). The long-horned beetles are a very large and well-known family of wood-boring beetles. The adults feed on wood, leaves, roots, pollen, and rarely, other insects. Most long-horns are wood-boring in the larval stage. The holes they make are circular in shape, but they mostly prefer weakened and dying trees or freshly cut logs.
(Insects of the Pacific Northwest, Haggard & Haggard, page 33, 35)
14. This is the nest of the very scary Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata). It is a black and white wasp, belonging to the yellowjacket genus. Because of its large size it is called a hornet. The hornets chew wood and mix it with starch in their saliva. That mixture is spread with the mandibles and legs and dries into a papery structure. The hornets are more aggressive than most yellowjackets and the females defend the nest with repeated stings. They eat nectar, tree sap and fruit pulp. In the winter all the hornets die except the newly fertilized queen. She hibernates underground, or under logs and hollow trees until spring. The nests are usually not reused.
15. I couldn’t find the name for this butterfly, but it has some very pretty, lacy type markings. It looks like she’s wearing a ball gown.
16, 17. I believe this is either a female rufous hummingbird or a female allen’s hummingbird.
18. Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica). True to its name, these birds were trying their best to make a home in our new barn.
19. American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
20. Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)
21. The easily identifiable skunk. Bruce saw him wandering around the upper pond and was able to get some good photos–without getting sprayed!
22. This is our one and only elk calf sighting. We haven’t seen the elk since then. I suppose they are ranging in areas with more water.
23. Oh, she’s so sweet! But she is learning to like the flower beds a bit too much. We had three fawns this year from two does. They are loads of fun to watch.
24, 25. We’ve been getting some spectacular sunsets this summer. What a treat! Just as the temperatures are cooling off we get a gorgeous view of the sky, although to be honest we were a bit concerned that the red glow was from a wild fire, not the sunset.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert Einstein