Pausing to appreciate the view from Panther Mountain.

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “A Panther’s View Of The Gauley River” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The road across Panther Mountain in Nicholas County West Virginia is rough and gnarly. My big blue truck is built for off road travel but the road up the mountain is quite narrow. In some places the tires on one side are only a couple of feet from dropping off into the valley below. But, those spots offer spectacular views of the mountains that I call home. Most people only travel this road on ATVs but I have yet to acquire one. Meeting up with another 4 wheel drive on this road means that someone has carefully back up to a spot that’s wide enough to let the other guy by.

I have often wondered why my ancestors would choose to settle in a place where the mountain’s shadow means short days and dark winters. Where the rocky terrain means poor agriculture and travel beyond the property line was a challenge. But then I look out of window to see something like this and it all makes sense.

We call them our mountains but truth be told the mountains don’t belong to us. We belong to the mountains. Or with them if you prefer.

I have high hopes the rains will come in time to save us from a brown fall. If it does then I think that I’ll travel back to this spot and try to capture the fall colors.

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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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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Letting The Light In

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Pipevine Swallowtail In The Late Summer Sun” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

A golden ray of sunshine sweeps across the edge of the Appalachian forest. An older Pipevine Swallowtail angles herself to catch as much of this warmth as it can. Her beautiful wings wings are worn and tattered from predator encounters. She seems to be sstruggling pull her body to just the right spot as the last shadow fades away. Oh, but once the light hits her wings things change drastically. Her movement becomes fluid and with shivering wings she suddenly becomes airborne. She flutters and soars with every bit of the grace and agility that she’s always had. All it took to renew her strength was to let the light in.

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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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

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Fluttering Beauty Surrounds Me

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Pipevine Swallowtail Feeding On Jewelweed” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The morning sun slowly peeks over Little Elk Mountain. The cool of the night still lingers in the shadowy side of the hills. I have been catching up on a few light chores and happened to notice the rapid movements in the off lawn area of my property. I allow nature to take its course there and have been blessed with an abundance of Jewelweed there. Aside from foraging opportunities the Jewelweed provides humans it’s excellent forage for butterflies and bees as well as hummingbirds. So I’m also blessed to have an abundance of life that seems happy to share my space. Today it’s been Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies. At first you only notice one or two. Then, a third and fourth. As you begin to look deeper into the bushes it hard to believe that you didn’t notice all the wings shivering as they feed.

So, into the house I went to abandon my lawnmower in favor of my big camera. I opted for the 300 mm lens so that I didn’t have to try to get real close. This allows the butterflies to behave naturally and keeps my shadow out of the frame.

As the butterfly in tonight’s feature image fed I noticed that only the forewings shiver. This is done to keep it warm enough for flight but while researching I saw one source that points out butterflies pump their wings while feeding because their proboscis works like a siphon and the wing movement helps them feed. I also learned that when they emerge from the cocoon they have to assemble the proboscis from the two mouth parts they’re born with and that if they don’t get it right they will starve.

Irregardless of the scientific trivia surrounding the butterfly they do fill my life with beauty.

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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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!❤

Forage Friday #23 Willow

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “The Builder” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article. I have chosen the image of a red-winged blackbird as the feature image because he’s using the twigs as nesting material and willow is a builder’s tree.

I have returned to the marsh on Muddelty Creek off and on throughout the season to look for interesting photos and to check up on the red-winged blackbirds that seem to thrive there. When I noticed the amount of willow trees in the area I knew that I would be doing a Forage Friday post featuring willow. But I also wanted to expand the concept of foraging for my readers a bit.

Typically when we speak about willow trees in the foraging realm we are referring to the traditional uses for aspirin. Aspirin was originally madr from the inner bark of black willow. Small twigs were gathered and stripped out. Once the inner bark was free from wood and cork it is steeped in hot water and sipped slowly. (Please remember that I make no claims of being an expert on herbalism or medicine. Forage Friday is only intended to be a conversation starter. ) Back in the old days you couldn’t just run down to the corner store and grab a bottle of pills. In fact most people who lived in Appalachia just getting out of the “holler” was a major feat. Families needed to be able to fabricate the necessities of life.

Aside from pain killer and fever medicines willow was one of those trees that came with a variety of uses.

The small twigs can be baked in a low oxygen environment and converted into charcoal. Those charcoal sticks are still highly prized by artists today. At the time of this writing the top result on Google was selling a canister of 144 willow sticks for over $50.00. However the next supplier was less than $10.00.

Willow was also popular for construction. The long flexible branches were used in a technique called “Wattle and Daub. In the wattle and daub the willow branches are woven through the framework of the sstructure and a mixture of “cob” is uesed as plaster coating for the wall.

Willow is found worldwide and at one time it was actually farmed by a practice known as coppicing. The branches would be cut back every year or so leaving a bare stump. The new shoots that grew from the stumps were straiter and more flexible. The harvested shoots were used for baskets and fish traps. The Welsh used them to make a shield shaped boat called a Coracle. While a Coracle was a flatwater boat it was capable of supporting a tremendous load. Native Americans in Alaska used willow to make kayaks and bows.

In the Spring willow produces a downy seed that is carried on the wind.

Willow is also both a pioneer species and a stabilizing force on streams. The tree grows on the edge of the water and acts as a buffer to slow down flood waters and it’s roots help hold the soil in place. In 2016 my area was hit by what was said to be the worst flooding in 1000 years. I credit the willows and other trees that grow on my property with preventing my yard from being washed out during the flood.

I’m certain that I’ve left a few tidbits out but if you happen to have access to willow trees then you might want to try making a basket or charcoal stick as a small project.

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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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!❤

Ordinary Miracles

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Bumblebee And Blue Lobelia” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Tonight I just have a single thought to share.

Take time to appreciate the daily blessings of life. It’s that simple. The busy bee is busy but doing what she loves. Each flower she visits is to her a wonderful gift from God. There’s no burden in that kind of busyness.

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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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!❤

Night Sounds

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

A cool mist flows over Little Elk Mountain and the moon is the only light for miles. In late Summer and Early fall the singing of frogs is replaced by sound of katydids.

It occurs to me that some of my international friends may not know what a katydid looks like.

Of in the distance the screech owls are holding congress squabbling over who gets the territory. For a while their cries of “who” echo through the forest and fade into the night. Several hound dogs begin to bay at the Moon as it rises into the sky and peeks through the trees. I begin to miss the voice of the whip-poor-will from my childhood. In the distance the whistle of a train running along the river breaks pattern of natural sounds.

I gaze at moon myself as the night sounds surround me. My eyes grow heavy while watching the silvery light filter through my bedroom window. My final thought is “Moon beams bring sweet dreams”. No longer able to hold my eyes open, I drift off to sleep with nature singing my lullaby.

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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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!❤

Forage Friday # 13 Sassafras

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled simply “Sassafras Leaves”. The image was produced specifically for this article and is not really as a “sales piece”. However, if you see an image on my blog that you would like to purchase just follow the instructions at the bottom of the article .

The warm humid air carries a sweet spicy aroma as I approach the small trees growing along the road. Because I live in rattlesnake country I use the hook on the end of my walking stick to pull the branches to me instead of wading through the weeds. Taking a bit of the fresh leaf and rubbing it between my thumb and forefinger releases even more of the aromatic oils. Sassafras has one of the most pleasant fragrances found in nature. To me it’s the strongest identifying quality of this very useful tree.

I suppose that my first experience with Sassafras is the preschool memory of my dad coming home from work with the root bark. I remember that he held it out for me to smell. Then he put it a pot of water that was simmering on the stove and the whole house smelled like warm root beer. That was late Fall and the memory of that experience is just as strong as it ever was. But today I have a different purpose for the sweet oils of the Sassafras tree. I plucked a few more leaves and began to crush them up in my hands. I rub the resulting liquid on exposed skin and tuck the bruised leaves under the brim of my hat. The fragrance helps hide me from the mosquitoes that lurk in the shade. Thanks to my grandfather for teaching me this trick while out caring for the cattle.

Sassafras is leaf was formally used for the flavoring in gumbo! Now, I have not been able to enjoy this one personally and gumbo from a commercial source must not contain Sassafras by law. In fact it’s banned from all commercial production due the risk of cancer from the essential oil. ( And yet Philip Morris can still sell cigarettes on every street corner. ) We haven’t been able to use it commercially since 1979. Before that root beer and root beer candy was made with natural extracts and real sugar.

These days this wonderful tree is still sold as an ornamental plant. The large purplish blue berries are a favorite of songbirds. I have to say that I’ve noticed that the drop in the bobwhite and drop in popularity of natural Sassafras flavored products seems to coincide. It’s worth propagating the tree just for the wildlife value alone.

The one commercial use that the FDA allows us to have is the exotic lumber value. Sassafras hartwood is considered to be very durable and is absolutely beautiful. As a forest owner you could probably do pretty well by producing a handful of timber sized Sassafras trees per year. A quick Google search turned up asking prices around ten dollars per board foot. So a rough value estimate of an average Sassafras wood 24 inches thick, 8 inches wide and 30 feet tall came out to around $6K per tree. ( This was a very quick and very rough estimate and it’s been 30 years since I actually had to estimate the value of timber so I am not positive about that estimate. ) Purists may not consider the commercial use of lumber to be foraging. To those good folks, I need to point out that foraging is using the resources of the land to feed yourself and others. Since $6k will buy a lot groceries it counts in my book. And if done right it will open up resources for renewal of the lower canopy to thrive and mature. And that estimate doesn’t really include the possibility of novelties made from pieces that a mill might reject such as lathe turned jewelry and bespoke canes.

Overall, it turns out that Sassafras has a lot to offer and we haven’t even considered the medical uses. ( Mainly because of the FDA ban ) I may revisit this one in the fall when I’m in the mood for a homemade root beer!

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!