Forage Friday #25 Goldenrod

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Golden Morning In The Mists” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Please remember that Forage Friday is only intended to be a conversation starter. I highly recommend that you do further research before trying any wild edible / medicinal plants for the first time.

As the morning mists roll back and allow the mountains to welcome the morning sun my big blue truck rolls to a stop near the defunct strip mine. The goldenrod stands tall in the the thinning fog. This specimen is large. the base of the main stem is about one quarter of an inch thick.

goldenrod is one of those plants that often catches a bad wrap. While its true that some people have an allergy to Goldenrod it’s reputation for causing hay fever is a bit distorted. The truth is that Peterson’s Field guides recommends it for treating hay fever. A lot of folks in Appalachia and in rural America in general say that honey that is made from goldenrod is the best treatment for allergies. I have wondered if it was just the presence of the pollen & nectar in the honey or if the bees somehow enhance the effect during the process of making honey. It’s also said that crushing the flowers and chewing them so that the juice is slowly swallowed can relieve a sore throat. The most common medicinal use is as a diuretic and is indicated for just about anything that increased urine flow might help. The guides also say that Native Americans would use th roots on burns.

The food uses seem to be as a tea. Both leaves and flowers can be used fresh or dried to provide a tea that has a flavor similar to anise. Here’s where we transition into the utilitarian qualities of goldenrod. Anise is not just a flavoring for old time candy. It’s used as fishing lure to enhance bait. I’d miss my guess if golden rod couldn’t be used the same way. And, if you’re a successful fisherman without a match or Bic lighter that Goldenrod stem is there to come to the rescue. The Stem of goldenrod is an almost perfect friction fire tool. I say almost because it’s a bit easy to break. Friction fire in the Eastern Woodlands is a challenge to say the least. I’ve tried several methods and devices such as bow drills and pump drills and I’ve gotten to the point of creating a thin wisp of smoke but I’ve never got the red hot coal that brings flames. However, I’m convinced that the fault was in my technique and the most successful attempts that I have ever had was using the Goldenrod stem as a drill bit.

Image Title “Black And Yellow Locust Borer On Goldenrod” available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

On the right side of the page we have a familiar sight. The “W” pattern on the back of the beetle tells me that it’s a Black and Yellow Locust Borer. While they are pretty hard on the locust trees they’re harmless to people. After they emerge from the locust tree they feed of goldenrod. In fact the sweetness of goldenrod is so attractive to insects that you’ll need to make sure that only the leaves & flowers are going into your tea.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Daily Duties

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

The soft morning rain slowed to a gentle mist as the big blue truck eased to side of the road. The green landscape is peppered with little blue pops of chicory bloom. The marshland bustles with hidden life. The ducks are navigating the current just beyond that sea of cattails. Within the cattail red-winged blackbirds continue to call as they gather twigs to refresh their nests. The next sounds that I hear is the deep droning of bumblebees playing in the Swamp Rose. We’re getting close to then of their season and the bees are frantically trying to collect the last of the rose pollen. Then I noticed movement in the nearby chicory blossoms. Sometimes very small. Something that looks like a flying gemstone. The metallic green colors and pollen packs on its legs told me it’s a mason bee. Sadly, the pollen it collects does not become honey. Instead of honey the mason bee makes little pollen cakes.

I’m pretty new to mason bees. I knew that they existed and that in some parts of the world they are the main pollinators. I also knew that they are among the most gentle bees in the world. Only the female mason bee has a stinger and even then you pretty much have to force them to sting.

Unlike honey bees the mason bees do not live in a hive. They will form colonies but they don’t have a collective. Instead they are solitary.

Mason bees nest in tubes and cap each cell of the tube with a mud brick. This of course is how they got their name. Similar to the mud dauber wasps nests each cell in the tube will contain a single egg and a pollen cake. The young will have to break out of the cell in order to survive. But unlike the mud dauber wasps the mason bee does not construct it’s own tube. Instead it’s opportunistic. It will take advantage of the holes left behind by wood boring beetles or a crevice in the rocks and so forth. In cultures that traditionally rely on the mason bee for crop production blocks of wood are drilled with several holes to give them a place to nest. A quick search on Pinterest show just how artistic and diverse the mason bee habits are created. They are also a wide variety of mason bee subspecies and I am honestly unsure of which kind is in the feature image. I do know that prior to European honeybees being brought into North America that major amount Native American horticulture would have relied on bumblebees and Mason bees. ( contrary to the movies Native Americans in pre-columbian times were not strictly hunter gatherers. )

During the colony collapse disorder a few years ago I noticed a sharp rise in native bees pollinating the wildflowers near my home.

I followed the little green bee from flower to flower snapping photos and trying to catch her in just the right spot. When she finally allowed herself to be caught in the lens I moved off and gave her space to complete her daily duty of making pollen cakes for her babies.

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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.

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The Great Spangled Fritillary

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled Spangled “Fritillary And Indian Hemp” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

When I stepped out the door of the office I was greeted by the fluttering of wings. The patch of Indian Hemp was full of butterflies. In fact there was several varieties. I saw little wood nymphs, painted ladies, yellow and black Swallowtail butterflies as well as small blues. I’ll be posting pictures of some of them later but tonight it’s the Great Spangled Fritillary.

Butterflies and moths are host specific. They require certain plants to complete their lifecycles. For the Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly the host plants are native violets. Which means that if you want this type of butterfly then you’ll want to encourage native violets for the catipiller. During the summer months the female Fritillary lays her eggs on the violets but after they hatch they remain dormant until Spring. Only then will they begin to feed on the violet leaves. The catipiller will molt six times before it gets it’s wings! And what beautiful wings they’re going to be! I’m not really certain but I believe that the feature image shows a male. In researching the article I learned that the females are more brown than the male. Either way it’s a beautiful species.

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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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 #12 Japanese Honeysuckle

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Japanese Honeysuckle 5319” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

*Some honeysuckle plants that are found in North America are toxic. Always get a positive ID on the plants and do further research before trying any plant for the first time. Forage Friday is only intended to be an interesting conversation starter and is not a replacement for proper training.

The breeze carries a sweet scent as I approach the edge of the forest. The long vines trail and climb and twist through the underbrush. The vine itself is adorned with slinder tubular flowers. Butterflies dance about from flower to flower following the bees. They know that the flowers sweeten their nectar in the bee’s presence. They also know that their long straw-like mouth parts can reach deep into the flowers to get to the nectar that the bees can’t find. I have a different solution for harvesting a treat. I pinched a flower down at the base and pulled it free from the vine being careful not to lose the sweet liquid in the process. The nectar can simply be sucked out of the other end.

That’s the way I learned to enjoy Japanese Honeysuckle as a child. I’m not really sure when I learned that candy grew on vines or who I learned how to do it from. I only have a vague memory of pulling the flowers and sucking out the nectar.

As I became more interested in how to harvest and use things from the wilderness I learned that in traditional Chinese medicine they make a cough syrup from the plant and that the leaves are used as a potherb. We don’t eat many cooked greens at my house so I never bothered with the leaves myself.

There’s a lot of medicinal uses listed for honeysuckle as well as some potential side effects. As I’ve said before I have no formal training beyond what I picked up in forestry classes which were geared towards harvesting lumber and replanted the forest. With that in mind I’m providing a link to WebMD for their expertise.

I also need to address some feedback that I got from last Friday’s post on Yarrow. I stated on Facebook that Yarrow was NOT an edible plant. Which drew some constructive criticism from a few members of the group.

First, it’s awesome that members of the wild edible community are able to make counterpoints and keep it respectful. That’s the mark of a high quality individual. Kudos to Niki, Niamh and Marquis and thank you for your support and passion for living a more natural lifestyle.

The point was made that these folks have used Yarrow internally and experienced no negative effects. From what I got in their comments they only used it in limited quantities and for various reasons. I still maintain that Yarrow should not be used in large quantities or for extended periods of time but I felt that their experience was worth mentioning and that they all three deserve recognition for the awesome manor in which they addressed their disagreement. Thank you again for your interaction.

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/

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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.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Forage Friday #11 Yarrow

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Yarrow 6119A” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Achilles surveyed the battlefield. He was covered in dirt, sweat and blood. He and his men had won the day but this moment of rest wouldn’t last long. Many of the soldiers were wounded and he would most likely need them again before morning. He sheathed his kopis sword and held his hoplon above his head to shade his eyes from the Mediterranean sun. He barely make out the the white blooms growing on the edge of grass. His men looked on as he waded into the grass and plucked a few fern-like leaves from the woody stalk and crushed them between his thumb and forefinger. He held the freshly formed pulp up to his nose just like Chiron taught him. The aromatic oils even smelled like medicine. He called one of the warriors to his side and applied the pulp to the man’s wounded hand. Almost imeadiatly the blood clotted and the bleeding stopped. The plant was powerful medicine indeed. One day soon it would even heal the most famous wound in Greek history, Achilles’ own heel.

I may have taken a little bit of a creative license with Greek history in the story above. But when I saw the yarrow growing in the ditch near the old pasture I knew that I had to include it Forage Friday. Typically when you think about foraging you think about exotic wildcrafted herbs and spices. Or sweet berries and fruits that are gathered in buckets and baked into all manor of goodies. But tonight I wanted to introduce you to some wilderness first aid. Tonight’s plant is yarrow.

Yarrow gets it’s scientific name from it’s association with the Greek hero Achilles. The genus Achillea is found pretty much worldwide and it’s one of those special plants that needs to be treated with respect. I have successfully used it myself but with some caution. ⚠️ As I have stated in previous Forage Friday posts anybody can have an adverse reaction to any plant at any time. ⚠️ In Peterson’s Field Guide James A Duke states that yarrow has over 100 biologically active compounds. And while some traditional uses are internal I’m just not comfortable discussing internal uses. One of the reasons why is that some strains of yarrow contain dangerous alkaloids. Yarrow also has a tendency to retain contamination from the soil it grows in and so the history of the land is an important consideration. Overuse of yarrow is known to cause an allergic reaction to sunlight so it’s recommend that even external use is short term. With that in mind let’s take a look at the uses.

As stated in the story above yarrow is probably best known as a clotting agent. The last time collected it I hung it upside down in a cool dry place out of the direct sun and waited for the fern-like leaves to become dry and brittle. Then simply stripped them from the simi-woody stalk and crushed them into a powder by rubbing them between two spoons over a bowl. The resulting powder can be sprinkled into minor nicks and scrapes to control bleeding. Adding other plants like plantain (plantago spp. Not the banana like fruit ) will have synergistic effect that is said to help prevent an infection.

A closer look at the light green fern-like yarrow leaves.

I’ve not tried to use the stem for starting a friction fire yet but my instincts say that it’s worth a try.

I don’t really remember where but I do remember reading somewhere that a few leaves added to the compost pile helps speed up the composting process.

One last word of caution. Yarrow is one of those plants that really resembles poison hemlock so if you think that you’re interested in exploring it further please do plenty of research on both plants so that you recognize the difference.

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!❤