The Shattered Sunset. An alternative mythos of the Monarch butterfly.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Monarch & Joe Pye Weed 90820a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

From my youth I have always been fascinated with myth and legend. So much so that sometimes I write alternative mythos. My mythology isn’t intended to be anything but good entertainmen and any resemblance to the mythology of an actual culture is purely coincidence.

The marsh falls silent in the September sun as the Monarch explores the sweet blooms that dominate the edge of water. The orange butterfly gracefully navigates through through the bloom and checks each of the florets with delicate precision. My imagination began to concoct a mythos of the Monarch.

My minds eye conceives a sachem on the edge of a cliff looking out over the New River Gorge. As the sun sets below the canyon rim get beholds the sunset in all its glory. But in his vision a shooting star strikes that part of the sky and the sunset shatters into the night sky. The amber shards of the sky fall into canyon and litter the ground. Saddened by the loss of the beautiful sunset the sachem is moved to play a mournful tune on his flute. As his tears fall into canyon they rain onto the shards of amber sunset and they began to live. Through his tears the sachem sees the living sunset shards and his mournful tune changes to an expression of joy. He continues to pipe the more lively tune into the dawn when the transformation of the sky shards into butterflies is complete and the valley below is filled with life. And so the Monarch butterfly now begins it’s life feeding on the bitterness of the milkweed but soon transforms into little living sunset full of joy.

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Forage Friday #75 Barberry

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Barberry In Spring” and was taken especially for Forage Friday. All of the photos found on my blog are my original work and are available for purchase through the contact page by clicking on the thumbnail image.

Tonight’s Forage Friday post is about plant that is considered edible, medical and toxic. It’s important to remember that my Forage Friday posts are presented as trivia and should not be mistaken for an endorsement of treatment of treatment. I’m only giving you an introduction to the plants and you should do farther research and/or a qualified mentor.

Last Spring I spotted something on my father’s land that I had never paid much attention to before. The compact shrub with maroon leaves stands out against the cool jade background. Had this plant been planted in the right place and groomed well it would make an attractive addition to the yard. This particular shrub is well known in urban and suburban areas. It’s a Japanese Barberry. While this an alien species in the Appalachian Mountains it has become naturalized along with a European variety. We do also have a native species in North America. As far as I can tell all of the species have similar qualities and can probably be used interchangeably.

First let’s look at berry itself. All sources agree that they are rich in Vitamin C like many wild edibles. A 1/4 cup of dried berries is said to contain %213 of a person’s daily value. With such a small quantity required for that value that means the dried fruit can be tossed into a trail mix or used in teas to provide an extra boost of nutrition. Additionally, the berries provide zinc, manganese, copper, and iron as well as some sugars, fiber and protein. Traditional uses include treatments for digestive problems and applied to skin problems. Part of those benefits probably come from the high concentrations of vitamin C. I remember reading several years ago that vitamin C can be applied directly to a minor cut in order to prevent infection.

Native Americans used the native species as part of kinnikinnick. In fact the world is both their name for Barberry and the name of an herbal tobacco preparation. Recipes vary depending on the tribe and individual tastes but in general the stuff in those pipes was not pure tobacco as it used today. It contained Barberry, Staghorn Sumac,tobacco, various mints and other herbs.

The main component found in Barberry is an alkaloid called Berberine. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant Berberine may have a positive impact on the cells ability to utilize insulin. Something that’s of particular interest to me since I’m a type 2 diabetic with insulin resistance. Anything that I can do to avoid artificial pharmaceuticals always piques my interest. ( please remember the disclaimer at the top of the article.) Especially in the age of Covid when the supply chain coming into remote areas could easily be disrupted.

The list of possible uses for this plant also included anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial mouthwash.

As I review the research for tonight’s article I’m seeing a lot of ads for Barberry based supplements and health products as well as nurseries selling the plants as landscape enhancements. I don’t have a figure to quote tonight but if the amount of advertising is any indication Barberry has the potential to become a plant for industrial production with the berries being sold to bulk suppliers of supplement industry and excess plants sold as landscaping. It’s one of the plants that can take us from a wilderness survival standpoint to a cash crop.

That’s about it for tonight. The only other factoid I have to share is that it’s found in urban areas which makes it a possibility for the urban forager but the caveat is that in urban areas the plants are likely to be contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals so extreme caution needs be used there.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

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The Day Confetti Came To Life

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Sulphur Butterfly And Ironweed 90820” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The September sun rides along the distant ridge top as the late summer breeze trickles over the hills. The old pasture which once would have been full of clover now pops with blue,purple pink and yellow. The late season flowers sprinkle the field making it look as though God allowed nature to have a confetti party to celebrate the end of summer. But not all of pieces appear to contently lay in the green grass. A tiny speck of yellow lifts itself from the groups and gives itself to the mercy of the gentle September wind. The wings open to reveal the sulphur butterfly. The little Sulphur Butterfly rides the breeze like a master surfer and is delivered to the ironweed. Amid the bright purple flowers he finds the gift that God had prepared ahead of time. And everything is in place.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

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A Red Dragon Encounter

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Ruby Meadowhawk 91320a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Along the gravel berm that lines the single lane road a red dragon stalks the sky. He moves as swift as an arrow snagging his prey from among the reeds and each time returning to his perch on the dry seedhead. His scarlet tones set him apart from anything else above the marsh. And if I am correct, he’s never been documented in this area before. I believe that what I have stumbled upon is a Ruby Meadowhawk.

The Ruby Meadowhawk is new to me. I’ve seen various blue, green and brown dragonflies and damselflies over my life and a few of the red ones in other states. But, this is the first red dragonfly that I’ve encountered in the state of West Virginia. So naturally the first thing I did was a Google Image search to try and find a match. I was presented with 3 possible hits.

The Ruby Meadowhawk, the White Faced Meadowhawk and the Cherry Faced Meadowhawk.

The White Faced Meadowhawk is just what it sounds like. The photos and descriptions online say that the distinguishing characteristic of the White Faced Meadowhawk is a pure white face as compared to the Ruby Meadowhawk which gas a tan face. Likewise, the Cherry Faced Meadowhawk has a face that turns red when mature and seems to be a Western species.

My Meadowhawk has a tan face which is the mark of the Ruby Meadowhawk.

The only Map of species distribution that I could find comes from iNatualist.org and shows a few confirmed sightings in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle and sightings in Morgantown but central and southern West Virginia show no confirmed sightings. The map is updated daily and seems to be current.

So did I find something worthy of a note? I don’t know. Right now all I know is that it seems to something that’s not supposed to be in my area.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

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Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

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Do Moths Sing?

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Inbound Clearwing Moth & Chicory 91320” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

With the sweet scent of the Joe Pye weed filling the air I walked along the single lane road that traverses the marsh. The hum of the Clearwing Moth is heard even over the droning of the grasshoppers. Her daytime flight mimics that of the hummingbird floating effortlessly between the flowers. On closer examination I noticed that she first hovers over the bloom fanning it with her powerful wings and then moving back to the previous one. A few years ago Israeli scientists learned that Flower pedals can actually function as an ear. I’ll let those dedicated to pure science opine about specifics of the process. What I wonder about is what song the flowers hear? Are the pollenators able to tune the flowers to suit their individual tastes? Can they adjust the flavonoids by grooming the the blooms with a specific wavelength of wingbeats? Moths have a highly tuned sense of smell. Perhaps it’s developed enough to detect which flowers are producing what the moth needs. I watched the Clearwing Moth in tonight’s feature image return to this individual flower without feeding several times. Each time it seemed to rise and fall slightly as it changed the frequency of its wingbeats. Each time I could hear a slight variations in pitch and intensity of its hum. Could it be that pollenators are in some way “singing” over the flowers? I don’t know the answer and I’m not really set up to test that theory but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that God in his role as the engineer of life had thought of even this small of a detail.

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!