Forage Friday #6 Wild Mustard.

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When most people in the United States think about mustard the image of a spicy yellow or brown condiment comes to mind. Especially in the urban areas. However, in the rural areas wild mustard is either a salad or a cooked green.

A little research shows that there’s almost as many mustards as there are opinions in the world. For the purpose of Forage Friday we’re going to lump them all together under the umbrella of “wild mustard”. Even Peterson’s Field Guide uses the generic “Brassica Spp”.

The seeds can be used to make a spice just like the domestic varieties but as with any wild edible plant the flavor might not be what we’re used to.

The young seed pods can be pickled or tossed fresh into a salad.

The leaves can be a little bitter but can be eaten raw and that is my current experience since I have mostly focused on salad greens. I recently learned that the flower heads can be eaten like broccoli. That shouldn’t have surprised me because they are the family of plants. ( Which also includes cabbage BTW.)

The bright yellow flowers are always a welcomed sight in the spring when I spot them standing proudly near the roads. You might think that the mustard that you buy for your hot dogs is yellow because the mustard seed itself is yellow but it’s not so. Yellow mustard is yellow because it contains turmeric powder. Natural mustard seeds are grayish. It’s complicated process and it’s unlikely that you find them in a high enough quantity to make it worth the effort but a rich edible oil can be processed from the mustard seed. The process is said to leave behind a high protein powder which is also edible.

With all of the good things that comes from this humble little plant it makes me wonder why it’s classified as a weed? The only negative thing I can find online is that when dairy cows eat it the flavor of the milk is somewhat off making the milk unprofitable.

As I try write my closing line tonight I can’t help think about all the efforts that go into feeding the hungry people of the world. We pour money into government programs and charitable organizations that are intended to be resource for families who are struggling. And yet every day chemicals are sprayed to prevent the growth of food producing plants that thrive worldwide, like the mustard plant. It’s even been found growing near the earth’s magnetic pole. Could it be that the reason why people go hungry is because we’ve taken the wrong approach with food production? Perhaps instead of suppressing vigorous plants like mustard we should find ways to support them and turn our world back into a garden.

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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.

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Daydreaming In Color

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “The Dancing Depths” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

When I was a kid my favorite color was aquamarine. I’m not really sure why but it wad probably because I wanted to be unique. As I got older my tastes shifted more towards the green tones. As I gaze into the greens and blues and the in between tones of the river I become lost in the depths of water. The variations in the light as it transitions reminds me of a gemstone. Is it any wonder why ancient people imagined that there was another world full of mythic civilizations just beyond that translucent vale? Even in modern times it wouldn’t hard to imagine the merfolk swimming by and looking up with the same wonderment of our world. Would their eyes get lost in marbled blue sky? As I watch the light shimmer on the surface and dance beneath the ripples I lose track of the schedule that demands so much of our life’s energy. For a little while I’m a child again looking for the signs of an underwater castle deep behind the blues and greens of the river.

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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Every Frog Has His Day

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

Rainy days and Mondays are not to be desired or so it’s been said. Admittedly, I would have rather spent the day sitting in the sunshine and enjoying the birds singing while watching the ferry diddles play in the trees. But even the rainy day has it’s own joy if you look hard enough. Just beyond the trees and down the hill a piece is a ditch where the water pools. This is the frogs gather and sing for a mate in wet weather. It occurs to me that for a frog rainy days are one of life’s true joys. If it’s a warm sunny day a frog has to stay close to water and in the shadows to keep from drying out. But if it’s a warm rain a frog gets to come out and play. He spends his whole day making up songs that express his appreciation of the clouds. I can picture the scene in my mind. Mr Frog jumps out of the water and gazes skyward. A frog’s smile might be hard to detect but promise you that it’s there. He wiggles his webbed toes in the fresh mud. Then he takes a breath so deep that he blows up like a green balloon. Then he lets out a song like no song has ever been sung before. For a frog it’s the best Monday ever! One for the books! As the rain continues to fall gently the birds gather in the thick evergreen trees and the ferry diddles go to their dens. Everyone sits quietly waiting for rain to stop as they listen to frogs make beautiful music. Eventually I move from the window to the awning on the back of building and listen myself. Suddenly the gray sky doesn’t seem so bad. Monday isn’t so tough when your world is full of music.

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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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Casting Off

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Anchor Point 1” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The river never stops. Even when it’s cold enough to freeze the ice slides forward on a thin layer of liquid water beneath. There are times when it rages and sweeps away everything in its path and times when it laps gently at the shore delivering life to the landscape. But it never stops.

Time flows like a river. Our perception can give us the impression of time flying as when visiting with an old friend or we can slow time to a crawl as when that cup of coffee is knocked off of the table and seems to hover in mid air for a moment. But it never really stops. Time erodes the world. It carries away the opportunities of the moment and changes our personal landscape. One way that this happens is by living in the past. It’s good to have a sense of nostalgia especially if it gives us a sense of peace but if it blinds us to the present it can be a problem. I’m guilty of this. I think it’s human nature to hold onto things that bring us happiness. But if we miss today’s opportunity we’re going to miss tomorrow’s happiness as we watch yesterday’s joy fade away into the past. I chose tonight’s feature image to represent holding onto yesterday because it is an anchor point. It’s purpose is to hold the boat in one place while the river flows by. It’s that stability that gives us the ability to board the boat and navigate through the river but at some point have to cast off. Casting off requires letting go of the anchor point that is weathered and worn. Here then is the paradox, letting go of the anchor exposes us to the hazards of the current but without letting go we may as well not be in the boat in the first place. What will we do in the river of time? Will we go boldly into current and build the future or will we hold onto the anchor point until the river swells and sweeps it away? Certainly there’s a place for nostalgia in our lives. But it should be more of an aid to navigation than a anchor the prevents travel beyond the starting point. It’s place in our lives should be where we can visit and resupply for the next journey but never the place where we are stuck.

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 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! 😊

A Busy Day With The Honeybees

Hello Friends! Tonight’s image is titled “Work Ethics” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Link below.

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The Jewelweed behind my house moves like the wind is blowing but there’s no wind in any other part of my yard. I decided to step outside to see what was going on and the hum could be heard at a distance. I knew at once that it was the swarm. The flowers teeming with thousands of little wings darting to and fro with ” saddlebags” full of pollen. At one point in my life this would have been a terrifying experience but since facing up to my fears and learning more about these little ladies it’s a joy to see them. It was almost miraculous to see such a large number of honeybees because this photo was taken when colony collapse disorder was in all the headlines. You see, almost all life on earth depends on the honeybees to pollinate flowers and grow food. Even the predators depend on the herbivores who depend on the propagation of the plants. Since gaining my confidence around the honeybees I’ve found that they react to my presence differently as well. They no longer dive bomb me in an effort to bluff me into leaving. Instead they either ignore me completely or on some occasions they seem to be trying to figure out who I am. One time last year a honeybee followed me into the house, buzzed around the living room and then waited by the door like a puppy waiting to go outside.

I’ve discovered that standing back a bit with a long lens that photographing bees in flight was a good way to practice action shots. They only slow down when they land and they never really stop. Instead of causing anxiety it now brings a strange sense of peace to watch them working.

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How We Made Post Updates Back In Day

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Public Post” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website or by messaging me Facebook. Links to each are provided below.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 teaches us that “there is no new thing under the sun.” One might think that a status update via public post is a new idea but that’s not quite true. There was a time when you could find out what was going on in town by reading it on a public post. It wasn’t always an actual wooden fence post like the one in the feature image but there was “status updates” and even fake news. ( Trust me, I called 867-5309 and they have no idea who Jenny is! 😉) Even in old days we had trolling. Often the inflammatory remarks were scrawled on side of a bus stop or in a phone booth. (Similar to T.A.R.D.I.S. from Dr.Who only the same size inside and out.) The toughest part was changing your status. That would require a can of spray paint or sandpaper and in the most extreme cases an angle grinder might be needed. It wasn’t really uncommon to walk into a school gym locker room and see the coach supervising a young man as he scrubbed away at the inside of a locker. Several years ago I acquired an antique school principal’s desk. It was in decent shape and I still own it today but when I pulled out the drawers to clean it up I found a treasure trove of “statuses” under some of the drawers. ( a few that aren’t appropriate for public display). It seems that we are hardwired to leave our marks behind. At first I thought that I should clean up graffiti from under the desk drawers but then I thought about the discovery I was robbing from some future archaeologist as they try to decipher the codes. I also have an interest in petroglyphs. Those mysterious drawings carved into stone from the forgotten past. The real anthropologists say that all of them are “shamanic visions” and “hunting magic” but I have to wonder. If we could really read them fluently how many petroglyphs would read like a Facebook feed? Is that cave painting really just “caveman Bob” letting us know that the wife made the most awesome woolly mammoth BBQ last night? Remember that there’s no new thing under the sun.

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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