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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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.

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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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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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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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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

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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 #10 Red Clover

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Red Clover 91217″and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The warmth of summer sun blankets the ground in the Appalachian Mountains. As I stepped out the robin gives and alert call and swiftly zips across the yard and disappears into a thicket. In the direction that she flew I see the reddish pink dots that stand a little taller than the surrounding grass. I eased over to the edge of the yard and bent down to pluck a single head from the plant. Red clover was one best parts of summer as young boy on the farm. During one of my long walks with my grandfather he stopped and pulled up a couple of red clover flowerheads. He would grip a few of the individual florets in his teeth and gently pull them from the base. They were full of sweet nectar and by freeing them from the base one could enjoy that sweetness unencumbered by grassy part. That’s how I was introduced to red clover. My brother and I would often pick a few as we played the countryside. Occasionally we’d get a dry one that wasn’t quite so awesome but for the most part they were like natural candy. No wonder the cattle would sometimes push through the electric fence to get to the clover.

As I got older I learned that all clovers are rich in protein. Peterson’s Field Guide says that the raw leaves and flowerhead is hard to digest raw but that soaking them in salt water for a while and boiling for fifteen minutes makes it so they can be eaten in quantity.

The dried flowers are a an awesome herbal tea that has some health benefits.

These days we know that smoking anything is not a good idea but Native Americans included different types of clover in “Kinnikinnick”. Contrary to popular belief Native Americans rarely smoked pure tobacco. Kinnikinnick loosely translates as “things mixed together” and it seems that everyone had their own recipes based on the purpose of the smoke. I can remember some of the old timers talking about generations of Mountaineers prior that kept a jar of red clover for their pipes. At one point there was a marketed tobacco substitute for people who were trying to quit smoking that used red clover as a base. I’m not sure why but seems to have been taken off of the market for some reason.

The last use listed by Peterson’s Field Guide is as a four. I do have to wonder what a non grain based flour made from clover might mean to someone who has a grain sensitivity. (⚠️ please remember that I claim no expertise in anything medical. ⚠️) The technique I found by searching the internet seems pretty straightforward. Dry the flowerheads at low temperatures and grind them in a blender until you have a fine powder.

Clover is usually easy to find in large quantities but it can also be purchased at agricultural supply stores as a soil amendment and livestock fodder.

For me red clover is a harbinger of sweet memories. But then again, I just might find a way to keep a patch handy to occasionally enjoy.

⚠️Please remember that my blog is a photography blog and that Forage Friday is only intended to be a conversation starter and not a substitute for proper training in survival or foraging.

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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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!❤

Buttercups &Childhood Memories

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Buttercups 51218″and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Like living smiley faces little pops of living sunshine make their appearance in mid May. I remember kids holding the yellow flowers under their chins as test to see who likes butter.

The phrase toughen up buttercup has become a popular way to infer that one is weak but whoever came up with had obviously never attempted to contol buttercups in the yard. No matter how many times I cut them or pull them out they seem to come back stronger. I don’t really mind. There’s a certain amount of innocent joy I get from them growing on the edge of forest. I’m always taken back to my childhood memories of kids holding little yellow flowers under their chins and giggling at who has the yellow reflection.

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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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!❤

Wild Geranium & Morning Quiet Time

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Wild Geranium In Soft Rain” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The rain drizzles down softly into last year’s fallen leaves as I carefully place my foot into the underbrush. The little spot on the edge of my yard has become a sanctuary for the native Appalachian wildflowers. The pinkish purple bloom of the wild geranium stands out against the dull brown of the forest floor. It’s a cool spring morning and the tiny droplets catch the light enough to shimmer like little gemstones. The sound of the water gently flowing through the hills is broken only by the occasional call of the cardinals in the distance. The breeze carries the scent of wood smoke from the neighbors place upstream.

It’s a blessing in and of itself to be able to start the day with a tranquil moment and center yourself.

I often wonder where all the great thinkers are today. We have advanced science and technology that is on the edge of what was fiction when I was young. Just the internet alone was a fantasy straight from the silver screen. We have all the power and knowledge at our fingertips in the form of a little black box that holds the some knowledge of mankind as a whole but do we ever actually think? Do we ever take time to contemplate our place in the world? Do we ever get a chance for more than collapsing in a chair in a state of total exhaustion while the t.v. or the internet does our thinking for us?

There’s definitely a difference between a full life and a busy life. If you don’t have a chance to catch at least a few minutes of quiet time then one has to wonder if life is just busy. I have made a commitment to steal back at least five minutes per day to take a deep breath and push away the outside world with all if it’s distraction and frustration. And, I feel so much more fulfillment in my day.

The drizzle slows to an eventual stop and the forest smells fresh and clean even with wood smoke from the neighbors fire. I feel renewed as a step back into my yard and cross the wet grass to start my day.

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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Click here to visit https://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! ❤