Indian Pipes, The Ghost In The Forest

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Ghost In The Forest 61621a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The sound of the falling rain overwhelms the forest as we shelter in the rocky outcropping surrounded by the markings of the Native Americans who dwelled here long ago. The rain is gentle and doesn’t last long. I run my fingers across the cold stone surface in an effort to find the traces of the faded lines that once told the story of a special place and the history of the people. Sadly, the public is unkind to history and some of the petroglyphs have been removed while others were overwritten by slogans and profane phrases. It seems to hold true that those who don’t respect themselves will never respect anyone else.

Those who don’t respect themselves will never respect anyone else. ( This image is not for sale)

I’ve done the best I could to make the petroglyphs stand out by digitally tracing the lines and usinga black and white filter to obscure the paint. Some have been chipped off and stolen. Some have simply worn away. The engraving seems to have been done by pecking the sandstone with a harder stone. The texture of the lines is rough and uneven in places. Whereas some of the modern engraving is sharper and the lines are more symmetrical which is evidence of modern tools. One set of initials carved beside the glyphs is dated ’26. Presumably 1926 so we can’t really blame it all on the newer generation.

As the rain lifts my guides indicate that it’s time to visit a ghost that dwells on the forest floor. The small white plants which is more commonly referred to as Indian Pipes. They were a part of my childhood and ghost plants or ghost lilies was the names that I learned first.

Image Titled “Forest Ghost 61621b”

The Idian Rocks Ruritan Club that owns the Indian Rocks Community park calls this area the Dancing Forest because of the growth habits of the mature Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurels that flourish here. I’ll be publishing photos specifically of the Dancing Forest at a later date but you can see one in the background of the image above.

As seen in tonight’s Feature Image the Indian Pipes/Ghost Plant completely lack chlorophyll. This means that they are completely heterotrophic. They cannot use the energy of the sun. Instead they rely on a very special relationship with the forest floor in order to survive.

Image Titled “Forest Ghost 61621c” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

As a youth I became infatuated with the pale flowers that dotted my grandfather’s property. I decided to build a terrarium that would include this unique flower. So I found a small clump placed them in an old Mason jar along with plenty of the native soil. By sundown they turned black and died. It wasn’t until after I took college botany that I learned why this specific plant would never adapt to captivity. It not only requires the right soil but would need one of two mycorrihizal fungus to feed it. Either Russula or Lactarius mushrooms and the fungus would require a tree to harvest nutrients in enough excess to supply both itself and the flowers. Typically the three part combination is linked to beech trees. Under perfect conditions one would need a terrarium that contains a mature beech in Bonsai form, one of the two fungus and viable seeds or root cuttings from the Indian Pipes/Ghost Plant. It’s not impossible but it’s far more effort and expertise than I can provide.

Image Titled “Forest Ghost 61621d” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

So this plant is best and more easily enjoyed in its natural habitat. A great place to do this is at The Indian Rocks Community Park in Craigsville West Virginia. It’s a fifty-five acre privately owned nature preserve that’s doing wonderful work to provide a sanctuary for native species, provide a wholesome place for families to enjoy and support a small community in rural West Virginia. It’s only about a twenty minute drive from Summersville Lake and a nice day trip to get away from the crowd.

Before I close I want to give a special thank you and shout out to Kathleen Curry, Darrin Martin and Ada Cox for not only working so hard to make a nice park but for also being my personal guides on the trail system.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

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.

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.

WELCOME TO LLOYD’S LENS PHOTOGRAPHY

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/embed/#?secret=ZBipPVJdZw

Click here to visithttps://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! Simply use 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=238248269630914251Lastly, 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 photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

Forage Friday #111 Wild Hydrangeas

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Wild Hydrangeas 60921a”. All photos found on my website are my original work unless otherwise specified and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

⚠️ Wild Hydrangeas are associated with gastrointestinal distress, Dizziness and chest pain. Peterson’s Field Guide says that hydrangeas produce a cyanide like poisoning.

Late Spring and Early Summer are almost indistinguishable on my mountain. We normally awaken to the sound of rain and a roll of thunder as my little buddy Scout (my dog) snuggles closer for safety.

As the day progresses the sun reclaims the rain as mists that rise from the ridges and hollers. The forest is lush and green from the replenishment of the sun/rain cycle. It’s at this time that the trails and edges begin to sprout clusters of little white flowers.

Image Titled “Wild Hydrangeas 60921b”

While wild hydrangeas are listed as edible in some sources they don’t really rank well as a food. Nevertheless they have been consumed. (See Warning above) The twigs and branches are used in teas and the new growth can be peeled and boiled until tender. Then removed from the water and fried. I presume that the boiling process is intended to be an attempt to remove toxins as well as softening the cellulose to a point where it can be chewed and swallowed. But it doesn’t seem to have been used often as a food. In fact a very large amount of it can result in poisoning.

Where Hydrangeas seem to come into their own is in medicinal values. There isn’t a large range of uses as with most plants that I cover. It’s mostly used as a treatment for urinary issues as a diuretic. The roots are valued by diggers who sell them to the supplement industry. And my honest opinion is that the selling of the roots is probably the best way to benefit from wild hydrangeas unless you’re a beekeeper converting the bloom into honey and propolis. If you read the warning above ( And you really should.) You’ll see that it does seem to have an effect on the cardiovascular system. Native Americans did in fact use wild hydrangeas as a heart medicine. They also seemed to use it topically for burns, sprains and muscle soreness.

So would I actually use hydrangeas? Well, in an apocalyptic situation where I had no other choice I might. Otherwise I think that our Appalachian forest has so many different plants that offer the same benefits without the hazards that it’s not really worth the risks. Now there is a Japanese variety that is being looked into as a treatment for diabetes and malaria but that doesn’t mean that all varieties will be acceptable for this use.

That’s it for tonight’s #foragefriday. Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

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.

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.

WELCOME TO LLOYD’S LENS PHOTOGRAPHY

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/embed/#?secret=ZBipPVJdZw

Click here to visithttps://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! Simply use 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=238248269630914251Lastly, 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 photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

Mountain Magnolias. A True Joy.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Peter’s Creek Magnolia 52221a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Two months ago I published a brief introduction to using the leaf scars as a way of identifying trees. One of the examples I found was the Mountain Magnolia on the edge of my property. The long purple buds an easy identifying trait but packed up tightly inside that bud is one of our finest natural treasures.

The Early Spring buds of Mountain Magnolia.

The leaves inside the buds are probably the largest of our native trees. Young princess trees have a much bigger leaf but the mature princess trees leaves are tiny compared to mature mountain Magnolia. Inside that bud is several leaves that can be twenty inches long and eight inches wide. I think that the one in this image is too young to flower because I’ve never seen it bloom. But in the surrounding forest there’s others that put on some of the beautiful floral shows on my mountain. When fully open they’re average is ten inches in diameter with a fragrance that is unmistakable.

A Mountain Magnolia flower bud read to start its show.
One of the mature Mountain Magnolias in my backyard.

At this stage the flowers are just starting to open and I’ve always thought that they reminded me of doves rooting as a flock. The whole property is filled with a sweet scent and in recent days this is where the Eastern Towhee has been. He sticks to the shadows and flees any time we come out to see him. His favorite hiding place is in the thick undergrowth beneath this tree where the large leaves shelter him from both sun and rain.

A closer look at one of the Mountain Magnolia flowers starting to form.

We’re so blessed with wildlife here that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. But I really do look forward to seeing these beauties.

Another forming flower on the tree in my backyard.

This particular tree was one of the first to spring up after the Derecho of 2012 leveled my forest. Ever since the Mountain Magnolias have been a sort of symbol of hope for me. Beauty often springs from brokenness.

The Magnolia flowers seem to go through several stages before they fully open.

The small seedlings that came up to grow didn’t flower for a few years. I watched as year after year they graced the landscape with their huge leaves but no bloom.

In this stage they are already pumping out that sweet fragrance.

I’ve always commented about how opportunity slips so easily into the past. But it’s also true that the past carries away our sorrow as well. As the Magnolias and their companions reclaimed what the storm had broken I began to see that beauty doesn’t fade as much as it goes into a transition. The larger trees that fell made room for the seeds that lay dormant waiting for their turn to grow.

Once fully open the spectacular flowers reveal an intricate cone.

The flowers are only open for about two weeks and easily bruised by rain. The cones in the center will form a bright red cluster of berries that are dispersed by birds and squirrels. A lot of them will simply fall to ground and leave a black lump that’s often mistaken for bear scat. You can have a little bit of fun with your younger siblings by pointing them out and implying that we’re not alone.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

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.

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.

WELCOME TO LLOYD’S LENS PHOTOGRAPHY

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/embed/#?secret=ZBipPVJdZw

Click here to visithttps://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! Simply use 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=238248269630914251Lastly, 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 photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

Forage Friday #108 False Solomon’s Seal

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled False Solomon’s Seal 51821 and was taken specifically for Forage Friday. All photos found on my website are my original work and are available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

The old man tread cautiously along the path. Large rocks near the trail would be a perfect place for a rattlesnake. He carried an odd walking stick that still had a branch protruding from one side and the tip was cut to a wedge shape. He used the stick to gently push back the undergrowth before taking a step. A basket made of woven willow shoots hung from his shoulder and rested on his hip. His wide brimmed hat partially obscured his face and he whistles an old Scottish tune as works. He takes note of the types of trees that surround him and quickly assesses the ferns and other so called weeds. Soil science as we know it today is unknown to him. But he knows the pointers that gives him an idea of what grows here. He’s wise enough to know that he should only harvest no more than one third of the bounty that his maker has blessed him with. A little of this and a little of that goes into the basket. A few mushrooms from the old stumps. A couple of bulbs are dug from the hillside using the wedge of his stick as a lever. The protruding branch allows him to dig in by stepping on it. He rejects the false hellebores and their poison. A little farther down the trail he spots his prize growing in the dappled sunlight. He has found the False Solomon’s Seal. The treasured shoots have a flavor somewhat like asparagus although slightly bitter. They will go into the pot and the rootlike rhizomes will be quickly broken up and replanted a little closer to his cabin. His gray beard parts with a smile as he begins his harvest.

False Solomon’s Seal was a native treasure. Being a perennial plant that is propagated in a similar was as potatoes it’s also one that’s easy to establish if you have the right growing conditions. It likes rich, well drained soil and as I said in the story, it wants dappled light.

The spot where I found the one in tonight’s Feature Image was growing among hardwoods like birch, maple and Hornbeam. There is a ditch below the roots that usually holds water but plant itself is above that. One of the problems in the mountains is the steep grade of the mountains leading to fertility loss in the higher elevations. It also means that the fertility will be concentrated in spots where the water settles in divits and benches. It’s in these places where most herbs are able to take advantage of the sediments and flourish.

The young shoots are collected from the place where they naturally break off from the main stem. If you start near the top and gently flex the stem while working your way down there will be a spot where the stem snaps off. Usually everything above that spot is tender enough to eat. Below that spot the stem is still edible but may be tough to chew. So it’s a good technique for conservation to find that natural breaking point and leave the rest to regrow and reproduce. The exception of course is when you want to propagate the plant.

The rhizomes of this plant are generally referred to as a root and is segmented. Each segment represents one year of growth just like the rings of a tree. And just like the stem it will have places where it naturally breaks. These nodes can be planted and will generate a whole new plant similar to planting the eyes of a potato.

The roots are edible but only if you follow a special process. Native Americans would soak them in lye overnight to neutralize the toxins and then after a thorough rinse they can be parboiled. They would also dry them and use the roots in teas to treat constipation and coughing.

In summer the pyramid of flowers at the tip of the stem will give rise to ruby red berries. The berries are edible but large quantities are laxative. When we review accounts of Native Americans using the berries they generally mix them with something else like cranberries. The mix would sometimes be crushed into a juice or dried berries added to a tea.

Traditional medicinal uses include using a tea made from the leaves to wash rashes for the relief of itching and to staunch bleeding. The root seems to have been valued more for medicine than food. The root tea was used as a laxative and stomach tonic. The root tea was also used as a treatment for Rheumatism but I’m not sure if that was a wash or if it was internal. The most interesting use for the root was to “cure” insanity. The method was to place the dried root in a fire and the crazy person would breathe the smoke to regain sanity. It’s usually mentioned as a side note that this was also done to stop babies from crying and it leads me to wonder if burning the roots brings out a sedative quality. Of course that’s a question for a biochemist to answer.

My bottom line opinion is that if you have a place where you can harvest False Solomon’s Seal without damaging the natural population it’s food value makes it worth the effort. It’s a very attractive plant in early Spring and even though the berries are only able to be consumed in limited quantities they are food for songbirds and game birds like turkey and pheasant. The latter two being an indirect harvest.

That’s it for tonight friends. Good night and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

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.

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.

WELCOME TO LLOYD’S LENS PHOTOGRAPHY

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/embed/#?secret=ZBipPVJdZw

Click here to visithttps://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! Simply use 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=238248269630914251Lastly, 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 photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

Weeds?

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Vetch 51821a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Springtime in the Appalachian Mountains is always an explosion of colors. Small wildflowers seems to erupt from every mountain hollow. It seems like when you blink a new life appears before you. Vetch isn’t a native species but it is one that has adapted here. I do sometimes wonder if it’s capable of supplying a full range of micronutrients and phytochemicals for the wildlife that is native we’ve learned so much about our world since the days when learned people who had the best intentions brought so many alien species to North America. But it is sometimes used as fodder for livestock and it does fix nitrogen in the soil. The honeybees aren’t native here either but we do seem to consider them important to the balance of nature. And they do seem to enjoy the brightly colored pea like flowers of the Vetch along with the native bees and other pollinators. I was once advised by a marketing expert that I should probably not publish as many weeds but I to be honest I think that I have a different definition for what a weed is. The common aspect is that a weed is an undesirable plant growing in an inconvenient environment. And when I look at my forest with tree of heaven sprouting hither and yon I have a tendency to see their point. That particular tree is one that if I could completely remove from North America I would. I find no redeeming qualities in it whatsoever. However, that’s not true for every species. The deer on my mountain seem to enjoy the European clover, apples and even the Asian vetch that grows in the ditches and fallow fields. So the question becomes if it’s undesirable to whom? But I digress. The truth is that with a few exceptions like tree of heaven most of the alien species do offer at least some benefit.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

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.

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.

WELCOME TO LLOYD’S LENS PHOTOGRAPHY

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/embed/#?secret=ZBipPVJdZw

Click here to visithttps://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! Simply use 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=238248269630914251Lastly, 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 photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️