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.

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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.

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Forage Friday 3.. Redbud

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Redbud 33019”. All of the photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

One of the true joys of an Appalachian Spring is the blooming of the redbud. In fact one of minor reasons why I chose the property that I live on now is the presence of reddish pink pops of happiness in late March to mid April. After a long gray winter the colorful redbud is a very welcome sight for sore eyes.

A closer look at the redbud flowers

Redbud is often planted as an ornamental shrub because of its early and colorful pea like flowers. And, it is a nitrogen fixing legume that is often used for reclaiming strip mines and helping to heal the soil.

Of course, this is Forage Friday and that means that redbud is also a wild edible. I have only used it as a “trail nibble” by picking a few raw flower buds here and there and popping a few in my mouth. However, I do think that it would be an interesting thing to add to a salad. I’ve been watching the bloom spread up the mountain and I think that I’ll try it as part of a salad soon. Being a legume I expect that redbud is rich in protein. I haven’t tried the pods yet either but Peterson’s Field Guide suggest a ten minute saute of the young tender pods which look somewhat like snow peas hanging below heart shaped leaves. (As always, make sure of positive ID. Before trying the first time. Trees like black locusts have similar pods and are considered toxic)

A word here on timing. The flower is only in its prime for a few weeks and once the pods reach a certain maturity they become leathery. I have also read that some people have canned the pods like green beans but it’s not something that I’m experienced with and as with this whole series I really recommend that you do further research before going out with a basket to try a new and exotic food from the forest.

Okay, don’t skip the disclaimer.

Forage Friday isn’t really intended to teach you everything you need to know about wild foraging. It was conceived as a way for me to showcase my photos while providing a few interesting tidbits of information to peak your interest and start a conversation in some of the forums that I share with on Facebook.

If you have eaten redbud flowers or pods of if you have a question about wild edible plants the comments are open to the public.

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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.

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Bright Days In Spring

Hello Friends!Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Purity In Spring” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The magnolia bloom continues open all along the Kanawha River. Some are past their prime already. They’ve been bruised by the recent rain and more is expected to arrive in the morning. But for a brief period when I needed it most the sky turned bright, the clouds rolled back a beauty returned to the gray world. The star magnolia was only the first to open. At this very moment the pink magnolia is beginning to catch up. The blooming seems to ripple out from Smithers. As I’ve travelled the Midland Trail between Gauley Bridge and Charleston I’ve seen the magnolia trees opening one by one. It’s almost like God set them up as dominoes so that we’d be able to enjoy them throughout the season. Not one little detail has been overlooked. The rain may be returning but for now I have delicate white flowers and and bright sky to enjoy.

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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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 1 Cattail

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is untitled for the moment as are all the photos in the post. However, if you’re interested in purchasing a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the page.

Before I begin I feel the need to explain the concept behind Forage Friday. First and foremost, Forage Friday is not intended to teach you everything you need to know about wild foraging. Many of the plants I’ll be covering do have toxic look-alikes and for an inexperienced person could result in disaster. It’s highly recommended that you seek out further information before trying it yourself. One of the best resources will be those of the older generation from rural areas who have relied on wild foraging to get by in hard times. They’re just full of knowledge and crave interaction. As you’re reading the post please remember that the author is very human and as such is capable of errors so it’s best to double check with other sources. With that said, it’s my hope that you are entertained and inspired learn more.

One of the first wild edible plants that I learned is also one of the easiest to identify, I’m speaking of course of the common cattail. I remember that when we were kids we’d pretend that the distinctive flowerhead was a corndog. After all, it’s a hotdog shape on a stick. It even looks like it’s breaded. The “hotdog” is not really edible. It’s densely packed fluff would be like trying to eat a down jacket. This is actually the seeds. However, in its season the male flowers are loaded with bright yellow pollen. The pollen is collected by sticking the spike in a bag and shaking it gently. Soon you’ll have a protein rich powder that is generally mixed 50/50 with wheat flour. I have not actually tried it myself but I’m told that it makes awesome pancakes!

What I have tried is the cucumber flavored rhizome and stem base. They are carbohydrate rich and as a type 2 diabetic I tend to avoid carbs these days. But they are tasteful! The big thing to avoid here is contamination. Cattail is capable of absorbing both chemical and biological toxins. Because of this they are quite useful as biological filters in septic systems and in areas where the capture of chemical run off needs to be dealt with. That’s not to say that you can’t ever give them a try but be selective about where you find them. Open ditches in urban and suburban areas are most likely to be full of lawn chemicals or sewage. That pond out in country is a better choice but there’s still agricultural chemicals. Basically, if you wouldn’t eat the fish out of that water source then avoid the water plants as well. As I’ve matured and learned more about things like cryptosporidium I would no longer recommend raw cattail. Instead, scraping the starch out of the stems and leaf base to thicken soups.

Other than the food value of cattail it’s got some tool and craft uses. The fluff from the “hotdog” is a great tinder for your campfire. When I was a kid in Civil Air Patrol we learned that fluffing the down and stuffing it under your jacket makes a great insulation. The leaves are strong enough to be woven into mats or twisted into a string but it’s fairly weak and not suitable for anything that is under stress. But making a sun shelter for an extended stay in the woods is a perfect application.

Cattail is referred to as “Mother Nature’s supermarket. If I tried to list all of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned concerning cattail the post would be so long that reading it would take more time than most people are willing to invest. However, I do know that most of my fellow Appalachians probably have a trick or two to add. The majority of my readers find my posts through groups that I share with on Facebook. I want to encourage you to either comment on the post, or my Facebook page and even my blog is open to the public. I’d love to hear about your experience with cattail. How did you use it? Did you ever fall into the pond when pulling out the stems and leaves?

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 onFacebook or use the Contact Form on my website

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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 or use the contact form on my website and 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! 😊

The Power Of Change

If you are interested in a copy of tonight’s feature image ( or any of the images) purchase instructions are at the bottom of the article. 😊

I was commenting with my friend today about negativity in our lives. Negative attitudes are everywhere. They invade our jobs and businesses. Negativity comes into our homes through our television and social media. Some days it seems like we’re surrounded by those who feed on misery.

Titled “Job’s Comforters”. Clicking on the photo takes you to the contact form.

But,I know the the chink in their armor.

Whatever you chose to feed grows and whatever you chose to starve dies.

Sounds like a simple solution right? Just stop feeding the negative emotions and the problem goes away. Well, kinda. Sometimes the negativity takes on a life of its own. It wants to exist. It’s hard at first to focus on the positive but soon the starvation effective kicks in and those negative voices began to weaken. The buzzards that gather around just waiting for us to fall will eventually have to find a new roost.

Titled “The Fleeing Of Fear”. Click the photo to order.

The clouds will part and the sun reclaims the day.

Titled “The Storm Breaks “. To order a copy click on the photo.

The positive thoughts we feed will grow. And soon we’ll have a new companion to keep us company.

To order a copy click on the photo and open the contact form

The power of change isn’t in the voices on television or the clever comments on social media. The power of change is in you. It’s in what you chose to give your life’s energy too. Do you chose to feed the buzzard or the parrot? Do we see the dark clouds or the sunshine that peeks through them?

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Simply A Buzzard and is available forpurchase by using the Contact Form onmy website. ( justclick on the the bell below)

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Winter Reflections

For me, there’s nothing quite as calming as simply looking out over smooth water. Even if it’s from the cab of my big blue truck with heater running full blast. All the little nit picky stuff just seems to float away with gentle movements of the river as I become lost in a world of reflections. It’s not as easy to spot in the feature image but there’s a log out in the middle of Kanawha River at Glen Ferris West Virginia that I’ve dubbed “The River Monster Of Glen Ferris” after the Loch Ness Monster. Mostly because of the graceful arch of the branch that breaks the surface. As gaze at the lines and textures of bushes and trees there is a rhythmic noise in the distance followed by the long drone of the air horn. The single light that rounds the bend belies the train as it makes it’s way up river to places I can only view as part of a larger landscape. The winter setting brings on the early stages of wanderlust as the train passes. My mind’s eye fills in the blanks with spectacular scenes of high canyons and cascading water surrounded God’s handiwork. There’s huge majestic virgin timber and painted sandstone cliffs beyond the little fishing camps that dot the banks of New River. I have been through parts of the canyon in a boat that takes you from Hawk’s Nest Dam to the New River Gorge Bridge but I always felt like I was just passing through the Gorge instead of exploring it. In some ways I’m envious of my ancestors who could load up a boat and take their time as they paddled along the banks. I imagine a young Daniel Boone or Rene La Salle as he and his party surveyed the wilderness making sketches and taking notes in the margins.

The train’s air horn wakes me up from my daydream and recalls me to the modern world. The clock on the dashboard of the big blue truck says 8:05. The time for mentally exploring lands unknown has come to end once more. I take a moment and raise my lens to capture the moment preserve my imaginary journey for another 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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Recently, I’ve been made aware that many of my posts on Facebook are being buried in the feed. So, if you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of theWelcome Page

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Winter Reflections” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click on the the bell below)

(Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.