Morning Mists And Fall Flowers

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Morning Mist On Blue Aster” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Softly the morning mists float throughout the the mountains leaving tiny droplets. The rain has shunned my mountain home for more than a month but the dew has formed almost every morning to replenish the soil. The forest edge is alive with the hum of the bees as they diligently visit every bloom. The songbirds chirp their happy songs as the mist continues to lift. The Leaves have been dropping more heavily now and soon I’ll need to deal with the mess in the yard but for now I let nature take its course. Soon the dew will turn to frost and the branches will be bare. But today I’ll enjoy the life before my eyes while I have it.

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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White Snakeroot In Morning Dew.

WARNING: Because I often blog about wild edible plants I need to make it clear that white Snakeroot is a deadly poison.
Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “White Snakeroot In Morning Dew” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

With the passing of the hot humid days in late summer I feel more like stepping out of air conditioning and catching a breath of fresh air. Just a Leisurely stroll through my property. I had spotted a hummingbird a few days ago and was kinda hoping that he’d decided to hang around for a while before heading South. He escaped my lens that afternoon and I was ready for a do-over. I was paused near the Jewelweed because I know that the hummingbirds live the sweet nectar as much as the bees do. Thats when I noticed the newcomer to my patch of wilderness. Small delicate white flowers with odd tubular structures growing in clusters. The canopy of my forest is still thick enough to hide the small songbirds that dart about from branch to branch but I can hear them chirping.

My attention is drawn back to the interestingly delicate flowers. They remind me of baby’s breath in an arrangement. They’re beautiful to look at but unlike most of the plants that I have on my blog these are deadly poison. The poison is how White Snakeroot earned it’s footnote in history. The toxin is able to contaminate not just the milk but also the meat of livestock that eats it. In the 1800s being poisoned by the contaminated milk was actually called milk sickness. According to Wikipedia the fatalities ran into the thousands and was the suspected cause of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of Abraham Lincoln. Learning this fact does make me wonder how much Snakeroot has influenced pasteurization requirments.

In 1830 the toxicity was uncovered by Dr. Anna Pierce Hobbs Bixby. It’s said that a Shawnee woman taught her all about the plant in addition to how it was used as a poultice on snakebite. ( I am not able to verify medicinal value for this one. I know from personal experience that the bite of a copperhead will heal on it’s own without treatment and therefore it’s very possible that Snakeroot was not the reason some people recovered.)

The risks of contaminated meat and dairy was not enough to prevent people from turning White Snakeroot into an ornamental plant. A particular strain of the plant has leaves that turn dark when exposed to direct sunlight and the cultivar is known as “Chocolate Snakeroot” and is still sold as a landscape plant today.

As for the wild variety that has come to my place I’ll probably just allow it to grow since I don’t have livestock to be poisoned. It does add some beautiful bloom to enjoy in the Fall.

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.

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Poke Berries And History

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Pokeweed Berries 81419”. The image was taken specifically for this article. Unless stated otherwise all photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

My Appalachian ancestors were resourceful people as was the case with most early settlers. They had to fabricate almost everything they had. Iincluding ink.

For those who are unfamiliar with the plant in tonight’s feature image it’s Pokeweed. Sometimes called Poke salet or just plain old Poke. It’s a wild edible plant that requires a little processing in order to safely consume and never when the stems are red. One day we’ll do a Forage Friday post about Poke and the hows as well as the whens of eating Poke greens but for now treat it like poison. Tonight I want to focus on the berries. As far as I know the berries are always poison. What they are good for is making ink.

I have grown up with the knowledge that the U.S. Constitution was written in poke berry ink. However, that’s just an urban legend. ( It’s not written on hemp either. It’s Parchment which is an animal product. ) While I’m a little disappointed to find out that such an important document wasn’t created with the aid of a native plant Poke berry ink was a more common medium back at the time. It was used for less important writing. During the civil war soldiers used it to write letters to home and I’m sure that it was used for anything that didn’t require a permanent record. That’s because the ink just doesn’t last well. It reacts to U.V. light and soon turns brown. Eventually it fades away so much that it can’t be read.

Before I started writing I did a quick Google and found a few facts about poke berry ink. Using the raw unprocessed juice doesn’t work. Apparently the juice alone rots quickly and the message is lost. The prefered method is by fermenting the ink. The alcohol from the fermentation process acts as a preservative. One person said that you can use vinegar to mix up poke berry ink and there seems to be plenty of recipes online.

My personal experience with poke berries as ink just may have been the original paintball game. I remember that we used to make slingshots with rubber bands and use the berries as ammo. The purplish red stain left little doubt as to who was hit.

I hope to do an actual post on poke greens in the Spring but for now the berries are what’s in season. Those who homeschool might step out and collect a jar full of them and look up some of the ink recipes for a historical expiriment.

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 #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.

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!❤

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

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!❤

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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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!❤

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.

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!❤