Among The Bracken

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. Tonight’s feature image is titled “Baby Bracken Fern” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Just below the blanket of last season’s leaves the infrared light of the sum warms the sleepers. They’ve spent the winter curled up into little balls dreaming of the day when they will push back the blanket and reach out for the light. Their line is one of the oldest in the forest. They’ve completed this spring ritual since the day of their creation. They even remember the thunder of the dinosaurs feet. Although they can sprout from spores the braken commonly sprouts from underground runners. The unfurling of the fronds can take on the appearance of ballet when viewed through the magic of time lapse photography. The term “fiddleheads” can refer to any emerging fronds but is most associated with the ostrich fern and it’s edible form. The dense coating of fur on the bracken and the hazard of possibly causing cancer makes the bracken unappealing as an edible. But as part of the landscape it adds just the right amount of a primeval feel to inspire visions of mist covered landscape from long ago. Perhaps even an alien world covered by a dense jungle.

As l look around at the fiddleheads in various stages of unfurling I have to imagine that the first one to finish makes a “Ta-Da!” sound as it does.

I wasn’t able to find the ostrich ferns that I was looking for but I was able to get out and enjoy the fresh air and spend some time in one of my natural sanctuary spots. I took a few minutes to breathe the fresh air and listen to the birds for a while. Finding that moment of peace was the real prize on this trip.

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On The Edge Of The Storm

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “On The Edge Of The Storm” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The sun hangs low in the sky and a cold damp chill sweeps through the Appalachian Mountains. In the distance I hear the frogs singing as they prepare to invade the newly formed puddles that sprawl across the old logging trails. It’s rained off and on most of day but the nightfall brings a downpour. We’re on the edge of a storm. I have been running about ten minutes ahead of front and that has kept me out of the high winds. Behind me the sky hangs in ragged tatters as the gathering clouds are ripped apart by the oncoming surge.

A quick snapshot of the oncoming storm as seen through my windshield

Yet in spite of the ominous signs of a major weather event the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains brings you sense of peace. Perhaps it’s the expectations that the mountains provide a degree of shelter. Or maybe it’s knowing that God has a way of working things out regardless of the storms.

I always feel more at ease once I pass by the old trestle bridge in Gauley Bridge. Not only does it mark the point where I’m almost home but it’s also the point where I enter the most sheltered terrain. We’ve had some bad storms in my area. In 2012 a straight line wind came through and did a lot of damage. Then there was the flooding in 2012. But through it all God took care of us. He never really promised that there wouldn’t be storms. He did promise that it would be okay.

As the big blue truck carried me deeper into the hills and mountains the storms were nipping at my heels. As I stepped into the house the rain finally caught up with me and the wind howled in the trees on the ridge line above. There will be the dead and broken branches in the yard to clean up and the odd piece of trim to replace but I thank God for the shelter of my mountains and that we’re all safe and warm.

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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Defining The Question

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

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

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

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

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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Squirrel Corn..(continued from Dutchman’s Breeches)

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

A couple of weeks after the Dutchman’s Breeches bloom the Squirrel Corn comes out. The two species are closely related but Squirrel Corn bloom has more of a waxy texture and is often tinged with pinks, reds or purple as seen in the feature image. If Dutchman’s Breeches resemble a fairy’s pants then Squirrel Corn would make a fancy hat.

If you compare tonight’s feature image with last night’s the first thing that stands out to me is the lack of bright yellow on the tips and the more rounded shape of the lobes at the top. The leaves are so similar to each other that I can’t really tell the difference without a bloom. And for those who wish to have native landscaping they can be planted together in order to extend the blooming season. A third relative is bleeding heart. I have yet to spot bleeding heart in the wild myself but I would imagine it could be intermixed with the first two for more color.

Both Dutchman’s Breeches and Squirrel Corn are pollinated by queen bumblebees so if you have these plants then you have bumblebees close by.

Because I’ve been writing about wild edible plants I need emphasize that none of plants mentioned in this article are edible. To the best of my knowledge all three are toxic and best used for aesthetic purposes only. I feel blessed to have them wild near my home when they just seem to appear like magic and being beauty to my world.

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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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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Dutchman’s Breeches

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Fairy Pants” because the flowers remind me of Tinkerbell’s laundry. All of the photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The forest floor has started to wake up. Each little wildflower I encounter on my short walk today was like a smile from God himself. I spotted wild geranium, trout lily, spring beauty, cohosh, may apples and others that will be covered in future posts.

Today is about Dutchman’s Breeches. The name, of course, comes from the resemblance to pantaloons. When I think about it, it’s easy to imagine that somewhere on the forest floor a tiny fairy sits on a mushroom waiting for her laundry to get dry.

Dutchman’s Breeches have no food or medicinal value that I’m aware of. In fact the USDA warns that they are toxic to livestock. However, that depends on your definition of medicine. Ingesting the plant is certainly not recommended and they don’t really have a pleasant scent if you crush them but the beauty they bring in early Spring is therapeutic for the soul.

Dutchman’s Breeches are also part of the natural calendar that I’ve written about a few times. They’re not edible themselves but they bloom at about the right time to dig ramps. (For my non Appalachian friends, ramps are a strong flavored wild leek). I have know of a patch of ramps close by and will try to get a good photo of them soon ( Which is harder than it sounds because patches of ramps are fiercely guarded by landowners).

Dutchman’s Breeches are an indicator species. Wherever they bloom the soil is going to be slightly acidic. If you wanted to grow something like blueberries and you have Dutchman’s Breeches then you’re going to need soil amendments in order for your blueberries to live. As mentioned above their presence also accompanies several other useful and beautiful woodland herbs. Most of them will be covered on a Forage Friday post but for now we have the beauty of the little white flowers that resemble pants.

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 onFacebook or use the contact form

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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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Reaching Home

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

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

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

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

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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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 onFacebook or use the contact form

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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! 😊

Red Maple & Forester’s Trick

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

All along the Kanawha River we are beginning to see the mountains change color. There are light green spots full of tiny new leaves, the pinkish-purple of the redbud bloom and the blood red of the red maple. Tonight’s feature image is actually several years old but it was taken on April 15th. When I was studying forestry in college my instructor taught us that a good timber man could estimate the diversity of a stand of timber by the colors seen in fall and spring without ever climbing the mountain. Brown twigs are sugar maple and red twigs are red maple. He had a color scale in his mind that covered a multitude of hues and variations. He would use this technique to determine which stands of timber were worth a closer look and that way he could avoid wasting time on lower value timber.

I never made it into the timber industry but I have observed that by closely watching the colors of the mountains during the seasonal changes I can not only estimate the mix of trees in the forest but I can judge the progression of the changes. Like all things in life nothing is ever 100 percent but this technique allows me to get relatively accurate guess what nature is about to do. It’s all about the observation of natural time. So as you go about your day take note of the small changes in color and texture of the world around you. It’s God’s creation and you are a part of 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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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/

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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 onFacebook or use the contact form

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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! 😊