Forage Friday #65 Toxic Moonseed

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Moonseed Vine 63020a” and was taken specifically for Forage Friday. All of the photos found on my blog are my original work and are available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Moonseed is a toxic plant known to have caused fatalities. I have included it in Forage Friday for the purpose identification and avoiding a fatal error.

Typically the way I choose a topic for Forage Friday is that I spot something as a random encounter and grab a snapshot of it for the post. I feel that this way I can give you a more organic experience and a more realistic expectation of what might be encountered during an outing.

What caught my eye in tonight’s feature image was the way the leaves are backlit by the sun filtering through the canopy. As a matter of protocol I run the photos trough Google Lens to double check the ID because anyone can make a mistake and guess wrong on the ID of a plant. Moonseed is a particularly bad one to do that with if it happens while looking for wild grapes. The shiny dark berries are attractive and could easily be mistaken for an edible.
As stated in the disclaimer there have been fatalities. The vine was once used as an ornamental that was planted on fences and such. The thick growth habit would help hide any defects in the fence and the berries are eaten by songbirds. Amazingly enough birds seem to be immune to a large number of toxic berries that would kill a human if eaten in a large enough quantity.

Two of the quickest ways to know if you have Moonseed or Grapes is that Grapes have forked tendrils that they cling to the structure with and Moonseed has no tendrils. Instead, Moonseed wraps itself around the structure. In the age of seedless grapes at the store some people may have never seen a grape seed. So the seed of a grape is ovoid. By contrast, the seed of a Moonseed berry is discoid and has a notch that gives it the appearance of a crescent moon and thus the name Moonseed. There are other factors like the lobes and the notches but these can be effected by soil conditions and sometimes be hard to distinguish.

The toxic substance in Moonseed is Dauricine which is being studied to see if it can be used in chemotherapy.

In spite of the known danger with Moonseed history says that the Cherokee did have some uses for it but my opinion is that there’s probably less risky options.

Moonseed is also a smaller berry than grapes however I still crush the grape to double check the shape of the seed when I find a new vine.

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.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Things Are Just Ducky #11 George’s New Home

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Napping In The Grass 52620a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

George the mallard awoke from his long nap in the grass and looked around his new home. He hadn’t expected to move from his rocky perch on the banks of the Kanawha River but things change and we don’t always get to stay in the places where we had planned. The new place wasn’t really noisy and George liked that. There was also more forests than anywhere in the valley. George rose from the grass and waddled down into the water.

Image Titled “Swimming Mallard 52620a”

The cool green water had a stillness that George wasn’t used to. George could tell that the water was deeper than he could ever image in certain parts of the lake. He could see the huge carp swim along the edges of the lake and occasionally make the water boil with the edges of their tails. The lake was great place for George to have a few new adventures.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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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/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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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Incident On Panther Mountain part 4

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Among The Boughs” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

If you haven’t read the beginning of this story please use the links below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

As I backed away from the tree and stared at the mouth shaped wound on the trunk I realized that what looks like drool was actually just resin seeping out of a wound that had never fully closed. The damage to bark was probably caused by another tree being blown over in storm. As the bark healed over it formed the lips of the mouth. That had to be it. No other explanations were logical. As I continued to ponder on the strange looking tree and it’s drooling mouth. My concentration was broken by another round of giggles that seemed to echo from all over and then there was a shushing sound that came from above my head. I spun around and looked up through the branches. But saw nothing. “Maybe I’ve accidentally inhaled hallucinogenic mushroom spores.” I mumbled to myself while searching for the source of noise. I glanced back to the truck and noticed that the fog was pooling in the road so thick that I could no longer see the truck.

Image Titled “Fog In The Forest 101919d”

The top of the hill was still fairly clear and I decided that if I used the fob I could just follow the beeping horn to find it again. I cautiously moved around the hillside looking for a sign of the invisible giggler. I noticed something laying in leaves. The light color of oiled wood standing out amid the rusty brown leaves. The smooth texture told me that the wood had been worked. I walked over and used my stick to rake back the leaves to find a doll. The head was made of a polished wood bead and had a simple face of faded paint. The body was fashioned from burlap sewn up with hemp twine and stuffed with scraps of rags. The doll’s dress was also made from scraps of cloth and sewn in a quilting pattern. The doll was made with simple materials but someone had put a lot of love and effort into it creation. I reached down to pick it up for a better look when a small voice screamed a blood curdling NO! The small voice struck me like a stone and I dropped the doll imeadiatly as frightened birds burst out of their branches. A small girl came rushing out of a hollow tree where she had been curled up in a little ball.

Image Titled “The Hiding Spot”.

She had to be no older than 5 years and small for her age. Her quilted dress matched the doll’s dress. She embraced the doll tightly and I heard her whisper “I almost lost you.” I was stunned by her sudden appearance. After a few moments of watching her hug the doll and whisper into its ear I asked for her name. She just tightened her grip on the doll and refused to speak. Knowing that there wasn’t any houses close by I asked her “Where’s your mommy?” “Don’t talk to strangers.” She said in low voice. I wondered what I could do. I wasn’t really keen on the idea of leaving her there by herself but she seemed to be stressed that I was there. Finally I asked “Are you lost?” I saw a tear drop roll down her cheek as she slowly shook her head yes and mumbled that she was playing hide and seek and they left without finding her. I knelt down to her level and said. ” I have an idea. Maybe it’s just their turn to hide and we need to go find them. I have a friend in the police department who can help us.” I stood up and took a few steps back towards my truck. The small footsteps in the leaves behind me let me know that she was following me. To my relief we made it back to the truck without any issues. I opened the door and sat her in the passenger side with the doll strapped in between us. As soon as I got enough bars I called the police department and told them that was bringing her to them. As we drove she didn’t speak. She only looked out of window and pointed to different things that we passed while whispering to the doll. Everything was as normal as stumbling upon a lost child in the forest could be if it were normal. Until we got to the police station. I walked in with the little girl in tow and sat her on a chair in the lobby while I looked for the officer that I’d spoken to on the phone. When we came back to the lobby the little girl was gone and only the doll was there sitting upright in the chair. Except, the quilted dress that matched the little girl’s dress was dirty and looked old. The paint on the wooden head was faded. My friend who was the officer gave me a confused look and we imeadiatly ran outside thinking that the little girl had wondered off again. We searched the rest of the day but found nothing and nobody else had seen her. We went back inside and decided that the best thing to do would be to look through the missing child reports and try to at least figure out her name. The doll was unique and should be something that would be in a report. The internet had nothing that fit the description of the child or the doll. So we began to search through a file cabinet. The officer pulled out an arm load of folders and one slipped out of his grip and scattered on the floor. As we gathered the lose papers he spotted something. The edge of a paper sticking out from under the file cabinet. He managed to slide it out to find a newspaper clipping. His face went as white as a sheet and he held it out for me to see a story about a missing child. The little girl in the black and white photo was holding the doll which was still sitting in the chair out in the lobby and the headline was from 1929. We agreed to pretend that it never happened and I decided to head back home. But as I passed by the opening of the road up through Panther Mountain I saw movement in the trees. I stopped the truck in the middle of the highway and watched as a young woman approached a tree and the little girl in the quilted dress ran into her waiting arms. Then they were covered by a thick fog and disappeared into the mists.

The Ghost Girl is a traditional Appalachian folk tale that has taken on several versions. Most of the time the girl is a teenager who hitches a ride and barrows coat. When the driver tries to retrieve the coat he learns that the girl had passed away long ago. The origin of the tale is not known to me but Incident On Panther Mountain has been my take on it. I have taken quite a bit of creative liberty with the plot to make it fit with the images that I had on file and if course, it needed to fit Halloween and have have a happy ending.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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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! Simply message me on Facebook oruse 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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Incident On Panther Mountain part 3

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “A Light In The Forest 101519A” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Please read Part 1 and Part 2 of Incident On Panther Mountain first.

The shadowy figure had topped the hillside by the time I reached where I had seen it. I looked up where I last saw it but by that time the fog was clearing up and the glare of the sun was hitting me right in the eyes. I couldn’t see beyond a few yards. As I squinted to try and spot any movement in the trees I could hear whispering coming from the top of the hill. My first reaction was major relief that panthers don’t whisper. But then I was also overcome with anger because this means that whoever it was had been spying on me. The right protocol would have been to announce your presence when you walk up on a stranger in the woods.

I continued to scan the hillside and trees looking for a sign of who might have been following me.

Image Titled “A Light In The Forest 101519b”

The was no movement at all. But I could still hear whispering coming from the top of the hill. Then the whispering turned into giggles. It was a small voice. It sounded like a child. There are houses and camps nearby but not really within walking distance for a child. And, even if the panthers are an urban legend there’s still bears, coyotes and bobcats in the woods. I didn’t struggle long with the choice. If there’s a child this deep in the I’d better find out who it is just in case someone is looking for them. I retrieved the axe from behind the seat of the truck so I could cut myself a proper hiking staff and a dead Dogwood tree I had just passed was just what the doctor ordered. Most of the rot was on the butt end of the tree so I cut it off about a foot above the ground and sharpened one end so I could dig it into the hillside for stability while climbing. The lose alluvial ground threatened to drop me back down to the road several times as I dug my homemade spike into the mountain and pulled myself up to the top. I looked back down at my truck and clicked the lock button until the truck respond with a beep of the horn to confirm that the lock engaged. I was blocking the road but if someone came up behind me I’m sure that they would understand why I’d done it. I scanned to the West first since the sun was so bright. There was no sign of a child to the West or the East. The woods were thick but not so as to hide in unless the child was behind one of the trees. I decided to wait them out a little and sat down on a stump where I could see the truck and the surrounding forest. I would sit there until either I heard movement in the leaves or someone else came up the road and was blocked by the truck. It wasn’t long before I heard the whispering and giggles again. It was coming from directly above me. I looked up the trunk of the tree I was leaned on. That’s when I noticed that this tree had a mouth and it appeared to be drooling.

Image Titled “The Hungry Tree”.

For a moment I wished I had not left the axe in my truck below. Thoughts of Tolkien and the Ents came to mind and I fully expected to be plucked from the forest floor and hurled for some distance. “There’s no way I’m seeing this.” I thought as stepped back for a better look.

To be continued on Part 4

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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! Simply message me on Facebook oruse 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!❤

Incident On Panther Mountain. Part 2

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “A Foggy Morning On Panther Mountain 101919b” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

If you haven’t read Part 1 of Incident On Panther Mountain click here.

The mist continued to thicken as I stood on the edge of the road looking down into the foggy valley below. A few of the trees are already bare but there’s more than enough foliage to hide anything smaller than a house. I could hear a steady thumping that seemed to come from everywhere. The thick fog made me a little claustrophobic until I realized that if it was thick enough to hide whatever was out there then it was hiding me too. I briefly considered dropping over the edge and allowing the edge of the road to be my cover but all it would take is one mistake and I would slip into the valley and fall for hundreds of feet. I fumbled with a fob on my key ring. If I clicked on the unlock button the door would unlock but the lights would also come on and let half of the mountain know my exact position. But if I waited until the last second I could open the door and be safely locked in before anything could zero in on me. I looked back down the road behind me and saw that nothing was there yet but the thumping was getting louder. Why can’t tell which direction it’s coming from? I thought as eased back to the truck. After a few steps I realized that it was my own heartbeat that I heard. Pounding in my ears like a drum. Just a few yards before reaching the door but before unlocking the truck I had a terrifying thought. I was on Panther Mountain. Not butterfly mountain. Not puppy mountain but Panther Mountain. The old timers would tell about the large “Devil Cats”. Jet black and able to move as silent as the fog across the leaves. What else was it that they said? I searched my memory for the tales and yarns that were told around campfires. If ever there was a real monster it was an 80 pound predator able to carry a full grown buck up to the treetops and devour it there. That was it! The Devil Cat is an arboreal hunter. I remembered my great uncle Teddy saying that when he was a kid people would walk with sharp sticks taller than they were to keep panthers from leaping out of a tree onto their backs. All I had was the monopod for my camera but it was kinda pointed so opened it up and shouldered it like I was marching. In those last few steps I watched the trees for any sign of movement and only took my hand off the stick to unlock the truck. Just as I predicted the headlights came on and cut through the fog. The trees were empty. I breathed a sigh of relief and chuckled at my own senseless panic. No panthers had been confirmed in this spot for at least a generation. But there was still the strange silence of the birds. It’s not unusual for there to be holes in the noise that gives you way to track people and animals that are out of sight but for the whole forest to suddenly became devoid of sounds is very odd. I turned the key in the ignition and the big blue truck purred to life. I have a choice to make. I can go forward and push beyond the fog in order to find a place where I can turn around or I can attempt to back the truck down the very narrow path.

Image Titled “A Foggy Morning On Panther Mountain 101919c ”

I shifted in drive and began to move deeper into the foggy woods. I had decided that it was all in my head when a shadow slipped through the trees on the hillside to my left. It happened so quick that I couldn’t tell what it was other than a dark mass.

To be continued on Part 3

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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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/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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! Simply message me on Facebook oruse 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!❤