Things Are Just Ducky #4

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Nice Day For A Swim ” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

George waddled up to the edge of the river and took a deep breath. He paused for a moment and caressed the cool grass with his webbed toes. The sun was shining and he didn’t seem to have a care in the world. He enjoyed the soft breeze as it ruffled his feathers slightly and looked out at world around him. Then he hopped into the river with a plop. For a moment he bobbed like a cork which was always something that made him giggle. He plunged his face into the water and shook his head vigorously to clean his bill just like his mother taught him.

The smooth water flowed around him as he paddled across the surface in no particular pattern. He went where he pleased as his curiosity inspired him. The odd swirl moving against the current meant an insect that he could chase.

George allowed the current to carry him to the edge of the falls. He could hear the water crashing into the rocks below and just as he went over the edge a quick flap of his wings he was airborne. He circled around and landed on the water at the base of Kanawha Falls where the minnows are stunned by going over the edge. George ate his fill before finding some quiet cove where he could nap in peace. Just before his eyelids became too heavy to hold open he looked skyward and thanked God for making him a duck.

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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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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-winged Blackbird & A Childhood Goal Achieved

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Red-winged Blackbird On Cattail 6119” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

I was on Muddelty Creek the other day in the marsh and heard an unmistakable sound. The trilling call of a red-winged blackbird. And then another, and another. The marsh was suddenly alive with them. Well, their calls at least. They didn’t really seem to want a portrait on this particular day. I would catch one setting still for a moment but as soon as I raised my lens they would take to the sky and disappear into the greenery.

A red-winged blackbird darting across Muddelty Creek

I remembered the iconic pictures from wildlife books I had as kid. The red-winged blackbirds were always pictured as being perched on a reed or cattail stem and I really wanted to reproduce that childhood memory.

I discovered that even when perched these hyper little guys are never really still. They seemed to be more jittery than I had remembered. Finally the one that’s pictured in mid flight moved a little closer and gave me the shot that I had been waiting for.

I definitely want to go back to this spot for more shots. I know there’s a female in the area but she’s much better camouflaged and will be harder to spot. I also want to catch the male in full display during his call and I’ve downloaded the call to help pull one in a little closer. For now I’ll have something that I have wanted to capture ever since I was a little boy leafing through an encyclopedia at Mt. Lookout Elementary School in the 70s.

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!❤

Things Are Just Ducky #3 ( A Duck On The Run)

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

The rest of the flock looked on as George zipped by as fast as his webbed toes would carry him. The rest of the flock all looked into the bushes but there was no fox. They strained their ears but there was no yipping of a coyote. They glanced skyward but there was no hawks.

Again the unmistakable sounds of flat feet slapping wet sand approached the flock and sure enough here came George in a blur of feathers. Back and forth George ran in no particular pattern. And he was quacking like crazy!

Finally, his best friend Ralph jumped out into George’s path and spread out his wings in an effort to stop the frantic George. Ralph winced slightly expecting to be knocked down by George. “What are you running from?” Ralph asked. “Not running from, running to.” George replied as he huffed to catch his breath. Ralph knowing that his friend was prone to unconventional thought processes adjusted the question. “Okay then, what are running to?” “To get finished of course, now let me through!” George insisted with a panicked quack. Ralph, still obstructing George’s progress, continued to press the issue. Finally, George broke down and quacked off a long list of goals that had to be done. “Are you actually accomplishing anything by darting around in a panic?” Ralph queried. “A little bit.” George replied as he continued to try and find a way around Ralph. As Ralph interrogated George it came out that George had the bright idea to start several projects at once in an effort to accomplish more in a shorter time span. But all of his tasks were on opposite sides of the lake. He was running back and forth trying to maintain what he started with little impact on the overall goal and calling it “multitasking”.

Multitasking is a bit of a buzzword in the modern world. As individuals have more and more demands placed on their ever diminishing time the expectations are to split the focus and accomplish more. But it’s an illusion. Multitasking is a poor attempt at function stacking. Think of multitasking as trying to run a load of laundry and dishwasher at the same time while taking a shower. Most of our homes simply don’t have enough of a hot water supply to handle it all at the same time and none of the tasks are accomplished effectively. Where as function stacking is more like carrying out the the trash and coming back with the mail. The two tasks are parallel but don’t require the same resource simultaneously. It’s a more effective use of resources.

So, whatever happened to George? Well, Ralph being the awesome friend that he is not only helped George to get organized but he and a few more from the flock pitched in and took over some of the things that George had started.

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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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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Things Are Just Ducky #2

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “George &Ralph In The Sun” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article. All of the photos are my original work and are available for purchase.

George and Ralph waddled up out of the puddle to warm themselves in the sun a bit. They noticed that their neighbors, the geese, had just gotten home from a foraging excursion out in the forest.

Papa Goose is very tall!

George happens to notice how tall Papa Goose is. “Y’know Ralph, Papa Goose is very tall.” George comments. “So.” Was Ralph’s only reply. “Well, he’s also pretty successful and people say it’s easier to be successful if you’re tall.” George continued as he held out his short duck leg for emphasis. Ralph snickers a bit and says, “Well, it’s pretty obvious that a duck will never be as tall as a Goose.” George thought for a few minutes and stretched himself out as tall as he could make himself while emulating Papa Goose as best as could. “Maybe not. But I can be as tall as I am.”

George stands as tall as he can.

Ralph hid his face in embarrassment at his friend’s antics. “We’re ducks and we have our place on the lake and it’s not for us to be tall.” He said. But George didn’t listen. He continued to reach for his goal and while he never got as tall as Papa Goose he was in fact the most successful duck on the lake. But it wasn’t because he was tall. It was because he was dedicated to his goal and he didn’t give up when Ralph thought it was impossible.

Tonight’s story was inspired in part when the duck that I’ve named George really did look straight at the Goose pictured and tried to emulate the Goose.

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 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!❤

The Water Falcon

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

The early morning sun breaks over Gauley Mountain to wake up the three rivers area. As my big blue truck rolls by I noticed something odd perched on a piece of driftwood out in the middle of the Kanawha River. I had to rub my eyes and blink a few times. We had always joked and called that partially submerged log “The Gauley River Monster” because of it’s resemblance to the famous Scottish cryptid. But this morning it actually seemed to move it’s head. I pulled into the parking lot of the Glen Ferris Inn and in typical redneck fashion wheeled into a 180 back up the road. I keep a small set of binoculars in the console. I knew that there was no way possible that the log had grown a living head overnight and just needed to see what it was. It’s neck was long like a goose but it’s beak was pointed like a heron. Except that it seemed to have a hook on the end like a bird of prey. The legs were short like a duck and it even had webbed toes. Skin around the face seemed to have bumps and scales like a buzzard. I found myself asking God if he had parts left over from other birds when he built this one. Then it spread out it’s wings began to dry them in the sun. This day I only had my cellphone as a camera and the digital zoom just didn’t bring the bird in with enough clarity to make me happy. But it did access Google and I found a match. It’s a cormorant! I have been around lakes and rivers my whole life but had never seen this odd dinosaur looking critter before.

The bird is considered to be pest by modern day fisherman. However, in Asia they use the cormorant as an aquatic falcon. The bird is given a collar to prevent large fish from being swallowed and then it’s released into the water to dive down. It’s been found that a cormorant can dive as deep as one hundred and fifty feet! The birds return to the raft and wait for the fishermen to remove the stuck fish. They don’t seem to be harmed by this and it actually looks like they bond with the owner.

The ones here are pretty standoffish though. Even my 400 mm lens can barely bring them in for a photo.

A local cormorant standing on the “Gauley River Monster” which is fully submerged in this photo.

I have stopping in these spots on a fairly regular basis and trying to catch them doing something other than standard out on that log. Then finally one morning I caught the feature image. The cormorant took off from its perch and flew in circles slapping the water with his wings. I’m not sure if it was trying to flush out prey or just playing and enjoying being a bird but it was a spectacular show. I have watched a few days and this seems to be something that they do often.

I also thought that because of its reputation as a pest in North America that it was a non native species but they are found all over the world.

The literature on these birds is quite extensive, especially in the cultural references. I could write pages and pages just covering all the little threads on Wikipedia alone but as life would have it time is the limiting factor in everything. And it’s time to metaphorically turn my big blue truck back onto the highway and look for the next subject to photograph.

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/

Click here to visithttps://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!❤

Forage Friday #9 Wild Grapes ( just the vine for now )

Last weekend we missed Forage Friday due to a weather event so this Friday we’re going to pick up where we left off.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Wild Grapes and Snake Tongue “. The image was taken specifically for tonight’s post. All of the photos on my blog are available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

We’re all familiar with Grapes. The fruit of the vine permeates our culture world wide. Everything from fine wine to to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich uses the grape berries. I have recently learned that the leaf is a huge Mediterranean delicacy. A quick internet search revealed that other parts of the world use the leaves in a lot dishes. However, the leaf is not the focus of tonight’s post. It’s the tendrils that I’m interested in on this foraging excursion.

As a kid we called them snake tongues. And it was probably while doing a silly snake impersonation and using the forked tendrils for a prop that I discovered the flavor.

The tendrils of wild grape resembling the forked tongue of a snake.

The taste of local wild grape tendrils reminds me a little of sweet tarts candy. I normally only grab a few while walking around the mountains. The candy like flavor helps me with dry mouth and it’s a little pick-me-up. Although that later trait is probably due my association with childhood.

I have been curious to chop a few up and toss them into a salad but so far I’ve just used it as a trail nibble like most of the wild edible plants that I’m familiar with.

I believe that the particular variety of grape in the feature image are Porcelain Berry. The reason why I think that is because the property where I took the photos is thick with Porcelain Berry.

Porcelain Berry looks nothing like the grapes in the grocery store.

The Porcelain Berry is a really interesting grape visually. The cluster often contains a variety of blues and reds in multiple tones. They are edible raw or cooked but I’m told that the flavor of the fruit is somewhat disappointing so I have never bothered to try it.

One last thing about the actual leaf. Specifically on Porcelain Berry. Because I have just discovered that grape leaves are edible I did a little digging around the internet and Porcelain Berry leaves are said to only be edible when cooked. Porcelain Berry is not a true grape even though we commonly call them wild grapes. True grapes are in the genre vitis. True grapes leaves can be eaten raw while Porcelain Berry (genus Ampelopsis ) leaves cannot be. I also need to warn you of a toxic look-alike to any kind of wild grape is Canadian Moonseed which contains a substance similar to curare. For more information about Moonseed here’s an old video from my YouTube days.

As always please do independent research and keep in mind that Forage Friday is only intended to be used as a starting point and a conversation starter.

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 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!❤