Thinking In The Fourth Dimension

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Morning Reflection On Three Rivers ” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The early morning sun casts a golden hue across the three rivers. The calm water echoes the sky’s dance and God paints another masterpiece. I have only a few minutes of peaceful contemplation on the river’s edge as I prepare for the daily rituals common to my day job. It’s a small window of opportunity to be the real me on my own terms. As I form the picture in my head and plan out what I hope will be the final edit I carefully consider the elements contained within the margins. Light, shadow, color and texture come together in the form of points rays and curves. The goal isn’t as much to capture the shapes formed or the color perceived by the eye as much as it is to preserve the moment imprinted on my soul. I have set a goal for myself to use my lens as tool for expressing life in four dimensions. To do that I have to learn to think in the fourth dimension of time. By the time we graduated from elementary school the three dimensional concept is pretty well drilled into us. That of course being height, width and depth. But outside of the advanced sciences very little effort is commonly spent on time as a coordinate. I can’t really blame the education system. Even the advanced sciences tend to debate about the nature of time. To some of the experts it’s a scale and to others it’s a vector. But neither side of that debate has been able to actually hold time, dissect it and find it’s limits. It’s a feat that is beyond the reach of the laboratory. Oh they can observe it’s effects on the known universe and make mathematical models and predictions but that’s not the same as actually holding onto the substance of time. No, for that task you need an artist. Capturing time is a function of the spirit. It’s only possible to contain small amounts. The tools vary depending on the art form. Canvas and paint, molten metals, earthworks and cement as well as the poet’s pen and the musician’s notes are all tools for dipping into the river of time and bottling up the moment. I have chosen the lens to cage small pieces of this universal force of nature. I have poured into it bits and pieces of myself in an effort to preserve those moments indefinitely and share them with you. Perhaps one day science succeed in bottling up time. If so they will sell it to industry and industry will certainly put it a shelf and for the right price you’ll be able to add hours to your day. But if it were possible to add time to your life would it be satisfying? Or is it better to simply sit by the water and life to your time. I have chosen the latter option. A lifetime is more than the number of days on planet earth. It’s the fulfillment of the soul in those moments.

In closing, let me encourage you to set aside a few minutes of peace to experience a connection with God in His creation. I promise that it will add life to your time.

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Trout Lilies – Forage Friday 4

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is untitled. However, if you want to purchase a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the article.

There’s a lot of wild edible plants on my land that I only have theoretical knowledge of. I have read the materials, checked sources, double checked the references and learned the plant’s “face” so I could recognize it when I saw it. One such plant is Trout Lily. My land is on the shady side of the mountain. It’s a wet site which means that the soil stays moist most of the time and there’s a few spots that are downright swampy. I have noticed that the Trout Lilies are always found in those spots that are moist enough for the moss to grow but not actually wet. On the edge of the forest or in the more open portions where the ferns grow well.

The mottled patterns of leaf is pretty hard to mistake.

The nodding yellow flowers are also pretty distinctive. Several of the references I learned from stated that the flower wasn’t really in large supply and that care should be taken as not to over harvest. Other sources say that they’re plentiful but should only be eaten in very small amounts. The reason why is that they are Ematic. In other words, they make you sick to your stomach. Even to the point that it was suggested that it would be useful as a medicine for purging a stomach that has ingested a toxic plant. ( Just a reminder, Forage Friday is not intended to be a substitute for proper training and education. It is for entertainment purposes only. )

With the potential for a foraging excursion gone wrong and not in need of being purged of ingested poison I elected to abstain from Trout Lilies. However, the reference books describe the flavor as being similar to cucumbers and a good addition to salads but emphasis on the vary small amounts within a twenty-four hour period. This made the plant unsuitable for my purposes of finding alternative staple crops and so I never pursued the possibilities. The short availability season also had something to do with that decision. Like the Squirrel Corn and Dutchman’s Breeches they do add a lot of beauty to the edges of my yard. And since I have never actually tried them myself I can’t really say if they’re good. But since they are included in the field guides I’m including them in Forage Friday. As with all of the Forage Friday posts I have to recommend that you don’t rely solely on this post for information about wild edible plants.

The comments are open to the public and if you’re a person who has actually tried this one I’d love to hear about your experience.

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Defining The Question

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Passing Through “and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Tonight’s post examines the concept of a false dichotomy.

I was once asked “which is more important, the journey or the destination?” It’s one of those questions that’s supposed to bring perspective to life. It’s supposed help us see if we’re goal oriented or if we’re process oriented. The question doesn’t really have a right or a wrong answer. It just helps see certain aspects of ourselves. Or so I was told. But, the question is a little misleading. The way we’re expected to answer is intended to define us. There’s one problem with this kind of thinking. It built on a false premise that a person has to be one or the other. Goal oriented or process oriented. As if you can’t be goal oriented but still enjoy or even savor the process. Imagine that I have given you an ice cream cone in your favorite flavor. Most people will split the difference between consuming the ice cream before it melts and holding onto the cone for way too long. The question of eating the ice cream or keeping it sets up a false dichotomy. It implies that you must choose one extreme or the other. Now I know that there’s some creative person out the who thinks they’ve solved both sides of the issue with the idea of placing the cone in a freezer burried under a glacier at the north pole. That way you haven’t eaten it and it doesn’t melt. Even if you decided to put the cone in a deep freeze and keep it forever you have abandoned the goal because you’re not enjoying it forever and it’s not being eaten. If we’re honest about ourselves we’ll admit that most people would enjoy the cone for as long as possible.

Okay, I’ve shown you a picture of train tracks and I’m talking about ice cream so let me bring it back around to tonight’s feature image. In most of my posts I use tracks and roads to symbolize the idea that life is a journey. The original question was which is more important, the destination or the journey? Even though there’s not supposed to be wrong or right answers I have to consider if there are wrong and right questions. The right questions change perspective tremendously so let’s rephrase the question a bit. Is the journey independent of the destination? The answer for most of us is no. The destination is the ultimate goal but it’s the journey that gets us there. As I stared down the train tracks that pass through town I began to understand that even though the tracks end somewhere that pass through many places along the way. And that it’s possible to visit those places without giving up the goal of reaching then end of the tracks. It’s enjoying the process without giving up the goal.

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Reaching Home

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Birdhouse 4219″and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

No matter how many miles there are in the day, the last one is worth the journey.

No matter how wondrous the the sights have been, There’s no more sight more welcomed than your own doorway.

No matter how many voices have spoken or how high the song was sung, the words welcome home are the most beautiful.

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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Forage Friday 3.. Redbud

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Redbud 33019”. All of the photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

One of the true joys of an Appalachian Spring is the blooming of the redbud. In fact one of minor reasons why I chose the property that I live on now is the presence of reddish pink pops of happiness in late March to mid April. After a long gray winter the colorful redbud is a very welcome sight for sore eyes.

A closer look at the redbud flowers

Redbud is often planted as an ornamental shrub because of its early and colorful pea like flowers. And, it is a nitrogen fixing legume that is often used for reclaiming strip mines and helping to heal the soil.

Of course, this is Forage Friday and that means that redbud is also a wild edible. I have only used it as a “trail nibble” by picking a few raw flower buds here and there and popping a few in my mouth. However, I do think that it would be an interesting thing to add to a salad. I’ve been watching the bloom spread up the mountain and I think that I’ll try it as part of a salad soon. Being a legume I expect that redbud is rich in protein. I haven’t tried the pods yet either but Peterson’s Field Guide suggest a ten minute saute of the young tender pods which look somewhat like snow peas hanging below heart shaped leaves. (As always, make sure of positive ID. Before trying the first time. Trees like black locusts have similar pods and are considered toxic)

A word here on timing. The flower is only in its prime for a few weeks and once the pods reach a certain maturity they become leathery. I have also read that some people have canned the pods like green beans but it’s not something that I’m experienced with and as with this whole series I really recommend that you do further research before going out with a basket to try a new and exotic food from the forest.

Okay, don’t skip the disclaimer.

Forage Friday isn’t really intended to teach you everything you need to know about wild foraging. It was conceived as a way for me to showcase my photos while providing a few interesting tidbits of information to peak your interest and start a conversation in some of the forums that I share with on Facebook.

If you have eaten redbud flowers or pods of if you have a question about wild edible plants the comments are open to the public.

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Keeping The Lights On

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Barges And Coal” and is available for purchase by using the instructions at the bottom of the article.

On the far shore of the Kanawha River the grumbling growl of diesel engines shakes the earth. The bulldozers and loaders shift black mountains from the yard to boats. It’s believed that our world runs on coal but that’s a mistake.

Our world runs on the energy of men and women who keep the coal moving.

Our world is powered by afternoons covered with sweat and grit and diesel fuel.

Our world runs on the turn of the wrench that replaces another hydraulic hose.

Our world is powered by bonding and laughter in the downtime.

Our world is kept lit by the heavy equipment operator who knows the difference between arrogance and confidence as he moves a multi ton machine up the gob pile to dress it.

And at the end of the day when the sun sinks low all of that sweat and effort welcomes them home as a light in windows and a hot shower before dinner. All wrapped up in the arms of a loving family.

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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Forage Friday 1 Cattail

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is untitled for the moment as are all the photos in the post. However, if you’re interested in purchasing a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the page.

Before I begin I feel the need to explain the concept behind Forage Friday. First and foremost, Forage Friday is not intended to teach you everything you need to know about wild foraging. Many of the plants I’ll be covering do have toxic look-alikes and for an inexperienced person could result in disaster. It’s highly recommended that you seek out further information before trying it yourself. One of the best resources will be those of the older generation from rural areas who have relied on wild foraging to get by in hard times. They’re just full of knowledge and crave interaction. As you’re reading the post please remember that the author is very human and as such is capable of errors so it’s best to double check with other sources. With that said, it’s my hope that you are entertained and inspired learn more.

One of the first wild edible plants that I learned is also one of the easiest to identify, I’m speaking of course of the common cattail. I remember that when we were kids we’d pretend that the distinctive flowerhead was a corndog. After all, it’s a hotdog shape on a stick. It even looks like it’s breaded. The “hotdog” is not really edible. It’s densely packed fluff would be like trying to eat a down jacket. This is actually the seeds. However, in its season the male flowers are loaded with bright yellow pollen. The pollen is collected by sticking the spike in a bag and shaking it gently. Soon you’ll have a protein rich powder that is generally mixed 50/50 with wheat flour. I have not actually tried it myself but I’m told that it makes awesome pancakes!

What I have tried is the cucumber flavored rhizome and stem base. They are carbohydrate rich and as a type 2 diabetic I tend to avoid carbs these days. But they are tasteful! The big thing to avoid here is contamination. Cattail is capable of absorbing both chemical and biological toxins. Because of this they are quite useful as biological filters in septic systems and in areas where the capture of chemical run off needs to be dealt with. That’s not to say that you can’t ever give them a try but be selective about where you find them. Open ditches in urban and suburban areas are most likely to be full of lawn chemicals or sewage. That pond out in country is a better choice but there’s still agricultural chemicals. Basically, if you wouldn’t eat the fish out of that water source then avoid the water plants as well. As I’ve matured and learned more about things like cryptosporidium I would no longer recommend raw cattail. Instead, scraping the starch out of the stems and leaf base to thicken soups.

Other than the food value of cattail it’s got some tool and craft uses. The fluff from the “hotdog” is a great tinder for your campfire. When I was a kid in Civil Air Patrol we learned that fluffing the down and stuffing it under your jacket makes a great insulation. The leaves are strong enough to be woven into mats or twisted into a string but it’s fairly weak and not suitable for anything that is under stress. But making a sun shelter for an extended stay in the woods is a perfect application.

Cattail is referred to as “Mother Nature’s supermarket. If I tried to list all of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned concerning cattail the post would be so long that reading it would take more time than most people are willing to invest. However, I do know that most of my fellow Appalachians probably have a trick or two to add. The majority of my readers find my posts through groups that I share with on Facebook. I want to encourage you to either comment on the post, or my Facebook page and even my blog is open to the public. I’d love to hear about your experience with cattail. How did you use it? Did you ever fall into the pond when pulling out the stems and leaves?

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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