Forage Friday #118 Avens

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Avens 73021a” and is 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.

Also, a social media comment on an unrelated post concerning the ethics and legality of foraging has led me to remind the readers that I presume you are either foraging your own land, have permission of a landowner or are experiencing a food emergency in a survival situation. Furthermore, make sure you have the right ID on any plant that you intend to eat. While I strive to provide accurate information mistakes happen so never rely on a single source and always double check.

As a youth one the first guide books I ever consulted was a Reader’s Digest guide to North American Wildlife. The book was full of hand drawn or painted images of common flora and fauna of our wonderful landscape. One that stuck out to me was “Purple Avens” and the description made it sound like wild chocolate. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I actually encountered a form of Avens in person. But, I’d missed the flowers in bloom somehow even though I must have nearly stepped on them several times. They were growing on the edge of the highland delta at Muddlety Creek. What’s more, the first photo I took of them captured them by accident. And so began several sessions of internet Image searches confirm the identity and I’m still not settled on which type of Avens I have here.

Image Titled “Avens 73021b”. Google lens identified it as Yellow Avens.

I’d spent countless hours memorizing the small rendering of Purple Avens (AKA Water Avens) in that Reader’s Digest guide however that image shows only the mature plant in bloom. It doesn’t have an image of the spiked fruit and it doesn’t really mention that there are other varieties of Avens. The same goes for the Peterson’s Field Guides. It finally occurred to me that paper was the limiting factor in how much information could be stored in a shelf full of books. The publisher and editors had to make choices about what to leave out in order to keep everything in one volume. Fortunately for us the internet isn’t restricted that way.

My current understanding is that there’s really only minor differences between the types of Avens. All types seem to be edible. The young leaves are said to be useful as a potherb and not to be very strong flavored. The roots however are where the flavor is.

Multiple sources indicate that the Avens species do tend to hybridize and that this can effect the flavor. Purple Avens is supposed to have a flavor that’s like chocolate but not quite chocolate whereas the other Avens species are described as tasting like cloves or cinnamon. Peterson’s recommended that adding milk and sugar in a tea made from the fine roots was the best way to enjoy them. Obviously the roots could be dried, ground to a powder and sprinkled like a spice.

A few sources say that avens has even been used to flavor and preserve liquor.

The clove/cinnamon flavor of certain avens seems to come from a compound inside the roots that converts into eugenol. Which makes me think that it may be able to sooth a toothache in the same way cloves do. Traditionally some Avens have been used as an anti-inflammatory, to relieve sore throat, treating digestive problems and as a wash to treat skin infections as well as hemorrhoids. The variety most mentioned in traditional medicine is Herb Bennett.

Lastly, there is a somewhat dangerous lookalike in Thimbleweed ( Next Image) so it’s pretty important to be sure what you’re collecting should you choose to do so.

All parts of Tall Thimbleweed are considered toxic.
Avens 73021c.. compare to thimbleweed above.

The biggest difference that jumped out for me was that Thimbleweed has a more oval shaped fruit where the Avens is more round. The Avens has a fuzzy stem but the stem of thimbleweed is smooth. Bare in mind that the 2 photos are taken in different stages of development for each plant and the presence of pedals could make the difference in how easy it to tell them apart. Avens can be harvested year round but it’s recommended as a winter harvest because that’s when all the life is stored in the root.

As always, my intention for Forage Friday is to provide you with something that’s interesting to read and inspire you to do further research while showing you my latest photos. And that’s going to wrap up Forage Friday #118. 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

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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 #117 Virginia Pepperweed

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image was taken specifically for Forage Friday. 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.  Tonight’s Post includes an additional warning!  ⚠️ Pepperweeds are dynamic accumulators of heavy metals.  As such, you must know the history of the land that you forage them from. Industrial landscapes and the landscape around mines are likely to be contaminated and so this plant will not only be contaminated itself but also concentrate things like mercury. If you’re in an area where there’s a mercury warning for the fish then presume that the Pepperweed is also contaminated.

Virginia Pepperweed is native to my Appalachian Mountains and was cherished by the indigenous people. When European settlers arrived this humble little weed was a Godsend. The pepper that we use on our tables is native to Southern Asia and in the early days was both expensive and hard to acquire. As a side note here, Peppercorn was more likely to be found among a pirate’s treasures than gold. So for the settlers having a good substitute represented a bit of security in a unstable world. In a situation where one has to forage the main complaint is how dull and boring many of our wild edibles can be. Having access to spices can make a difference in the quality of life. The flavor of Pepperweed is often compared to radishes with the seeds being more peppery than pods and leaves. The leaves are quite small but loaded with vitamin C. They do have a “hot flavor” and the plants in general provide a store of minerals. As noted in the warning above Pepperweed is adapt at accumulating minerals and it’s my understanding that a lot of the vitamins we gain from other wild foods work best in the presence of minerals. So it makes sense to prepare the two together. One interesting suggestion that I came across was to blend Pepperweed into a pesto to add to things like Nettle and violet leaves or dandelion leaves for a well rounded dish.

It looks like a deer has been sampling this Pepperweed. Antlers are one of fastest growing tissues known and requires plenty of minerals for a good strong set.

Almost every edible plant has a tradition of medicinal values and Pepperweed is no exception. In spite of the warnings about how it accumulates toxins from industrial landscapes in a pre industrial world Pepperweed was said to help detoxify the body. It was also used to expell intestinal worms and of course the high vitamin C was able to treat scurvy. Pepperweed is in the mustard family and like a lot of mustards was thought to relieve arthritis pain. And being a hot flavored plant it has been used to help relieve congestion. A poultice of the roots was used to draw out blisters and to treat bronchitis while a poultice of the leaves was used for the croup. I suspect that this has to do with increasing blood vessel dilation and inducing a coughs but that’s just a layman’s guess.

Before closing I do want to mention that because of Pepperweed’s ability to accumulate toxins from contaminated soil that from a permaculture perspective it’s a good plant to use for soil remediation. This is something that would need to be monitored with testing of course but here in Appalachia we do have a lot of mines and even though we’ve made great strides in preventing contaminated runoff from poisoning the ground accidents happen and there’s still a lot of older sites that operated before such things were considered. So if you’re looking at spot where you can’t have a garden because of toxic runoff you might consider bringing in the Pepperweed to remove the heavy metals and make the land productive again.

That’s it for tonight’s Forage Friday. 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

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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 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 #116 Asiatic Dayflower

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Asiatic Dayflower 82019a” and is 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.

Before I begin let’s talk about Invasive vs Native species. Tonight’s plant is considered an invasive species. By definition it’s not not Native to the Appalachian Mountains and like many of our invasive species it came from Asia. I haven’t actually looked it up but I presume it was brought here as an ornamental and escaped. The problem is that invasive species out compete Native plants and many of our native pollinators are dependent on specific plants as hosts. When an invasive species is established it prevents the pollinators from being able to produce the next generation. Do we need all of our pollinators? If one species of butterfly is lost does it really matter? For practical purposes the loss in probably not going to be felt in the overall environment. Nature is designed with redundancy and if a single piece is lost the others fill the niche. But if we start losing multiple species then we could have trouble. Then there’s the disease issue. Sometimes we get a non Native species that hosts a disease that can devastat the Native population. Such was the case with Dutch Elm Disease. Now I’ve said that in order to lead to the explanation that when I write about the potential uses of an invasive species I’m not necessarily advocating for the spread or propagation of invasive species but simply pointing out that the plant has attributes that are advantageous as well. Just because an organism is alien isn’t to say we shouldn’t take advantage of its usefulness. Honeybees are not native to North America and yet when they disappear the world panicks.

Being an Asian species most of the uses of the Asiatic Dayflower are rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. There it is used for an anti-inflammatory, to reduce fever and treat colds and flu. Some herbalists claim it’s effective against H1N1 however I’m not able to confirm that at the moment. ( And because it’s a hot topic, I don’t mean to infer that it might help with the SARS2. I’m not a qualified expert and this is only trivia. )

As an edible, the shoots are said to taste like green beans and can be eaten raw or cooked. The beautiful blue flowers last only for one day but are also edible. This is a plant that I’ve only recently confirmed to be edible and the photos are from my archives. So I’ve not had the opportunity to actually try them yet. They are in bloom from mid summer to early fall and the plants produce new flowers throughout. We should consider that like green beans this plant is listed as having oxalate and over consumption might be bad especially for some people so use caution until you know that it’s not something that effects you strongly.

Image Titled “Asiatic Dayflowers 30220”

Another caution is that these plants closely resemble the Virginia Dayflower which is also edible and has oxalate that is thought to cause a contact rash in some people. The easiest way to tell the difference is in the number of blue pedals. Virginia Dayflower has 3 blue pedals white Asiatic Dayflower has only 2 blue pedals. The two plants closely resemble each other but are not related. Given the choice as to which one to harvest I’d recommend that you harvest the Asiatic Dayflower simply because it’s the one whose numbers should be reduced and at this time I haven’t found any herbalism uses for Virginia Dayflower. So Virginia Dayflower is best left to grow and reproduce.

That’s it for tonight’s Forage Friday. 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 #115 Wild Yam

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Wild Yam 61621” and was taken specifically for Forage Friday. 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. Furthermore, tonight’s Image is of Dioscorea villas which is bitter, acrid and sometimes toxic therefore isn’t recommended as having food value.

As a child of the 80s and an outdoor enthusiast Crocodile Dundee was one of my favorites and aside from running out to buy the biggest Bowie knife I could find and repeating dialog in the worst fake Australian accent ever I really became determined to be able to find food everywhere. The scene where he introduced the reporter to wild yams intrigued me because I was familiar with the dish traditionally served alongside my Thanksgiving turkey. However, wild yams are not sweet potatoes and vice versa. In fact some wild yams are only valued for their medicinal uses and such is the case with West Virginia’s native yams.

Before going any further I need to point out that Dioscorea villas is considered to be an “At Risk” plant and could be placed on a protected species list. So if you’re inclined to harvest this plant please obtain them from a reputable source propagate them first in order to help the population. Also keep in mind that Forage Friday is intended to be a conversation starter and that I don’t normally cover a lot of the skills and such that goes into preparing the plants for use. Wild Yam is one such plant that requires some processing in order to yield the best results. Nearly every reference available through Google cites that Wild Yam is used as an extract and further chemically processed into medicine. Nevertheless, here’s the scoop…

As I cited earlier wild yam and “sweet potatoes” are not the same. Sweet potatoes are believed to have come here from Africa and while they have some good benefits of their own they are not the subject of tonight’s post. There are some wild yams that are true yams which are edible but they are not native yams. The native yam is the humble little plant in tonight’s Feature Image. The rhizomes are the the part that contains the benefits.

Traditionally uses seem to be based in the phytoestrogen stored in the root called diosgenin and is chemically converted into progesterone. The first birth control pills in the 60s were sourced from the native wild yam. The online sources also point out that while all the precursors for progesterone are found in the yam that this conversion doesn’t seem to happen inside the human body. Nevertheless, early Americans used the wild yam to treat menstrual cramps and issues that arise in childbirth as well as other things related to feminine health and low estrogen levels. Where those herbalists preforming the chemical conversion in some low tech way? The articles don’t say. I suppose it’s possible that they used compounds that contained a catalyst but that information appears to be closely guarded. It’s also said that the root extract was given to colicky babies but the danger is that this may have based on the effects it has on the female reproductive system. As I understand it colic can arise from multiple causes and even if some forms of colic can be treated with hormone replacement that doesn’t mean it works on all types of colic.

Science does acknowledge that wild yams may be useful for yeast infections and fungal infections. Uses that Science doesn’t seem to have explored far enough to either confirm or deny is as an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. I presume that those are done as a topically applied ointment.

Some studies have shown that maybe wild yam could be part of a treatment for brest cancer.

Well friends, that’s it for tonight’s very brief overview of wild yam. My instincts are that there probably is a lot that could be learned if one was able to dig deeper but such research isn’t really within the grasp of a layperson without a full lab and a team of biochemists.

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!♥️

Forage Friday #114 Elderberry

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Elderberry 62321a” and is 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.

There are few plants in the world that carry the reputation of the Elderberry bush. They are associated with sweet treats, powerful medicine, deadly poison and even music. As a child while walking the fences with my grandfather we noticed an elderberry bush growing up through the fence and being the inquisitive youngster that I was I asked him about berries. He grinned widely and began to recount how growing up in the Great Depression he had elderberry for breakfast. On those occasions when they had breakfast cereal and the elderberry was available he along with his brothers and sisters would sprinkle a few elderberries in their breakfast. He reached out and shook one of the berry clusters into his hand to obtain a small sample for me to try. And they were delicious!

Now I should probably point out that there are different varieties of elderberries. Red varieties of elderberry have to be cooked to rid them of toxins and all varieties carry a toxin in the stems, roots and bark that induces cyanide poisoning. Fortunately the fruit of native elderberries that are black or purple is edible straight from the bush and it’s those varieties that I’m focusing on in this post.

Elderberries as an edible are extremely versatile. They can be eaten as described above. Juiced and enjoyed as a drink Elderberries provide a powerhouse of antioxidants. A cup of the raw berries provide large amounts of vitamins A and C as well as iron, calcium, Potassium and folate. That same cup of little black berries will also give you about a third of the recommend fiber.

A shot of the Elderberry flower and leaves. Notice that the leaves are compound leaves and grow in the opposite pattern.

Traditionally the flowers are also edible as fritters. A simple egg and flower batter with a little salt and pepper to taste and fried in butter is a great addition for most meals. No need to worry too much about the toxins since they are cooked out but don’t include too much stem. This video has little bit more of a fancy recipe than the basic one I described but it looks awesome.

Going back to the berries a few good ideas I’ve encountered have been various sauces and jams. One in particular that was mentioned was an elderberry sauce that was served hot over vanilla ice cream.

And if you have a simple syrup you can add it to carbonated water for a unique soft drink.

Elderberry is also made into a medicinal syrup. It’s my understanding that doing this with low heat is important to preserve the phenols that are responsible for the medicinal values. According to PubMed a randomized study of elderberry extract shows that people using the elderberry recover four days sooner from the flu than those who got the placebo.

Early in my interest in the medicinal values of plants I came across a compound that called for one part mint, one part yarrow and one part elderberry flowers. ( the dried flowers lose their toxins just like when they’re cooked. ) over using yarrow can lead to sun sensitivity so please do further research before attempting this compound.

Propagation of elderberry is fairly simple. Take a cutting about eighteen inches long. The cut should be on a forty five degree angle and about two inches below the buds. Jam it into fertil moist soil and let it grow.

Friends that’s it for tonight. 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

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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!♥️