The Meeting Of Friends

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “The Meeting Of Friends 92320″and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Where the sun smiles brightly on shallow waters and life seems to spring from everywhere the humble field thistle stretches it’s spiny leaves skyward. The sweet aroma of nectar draws all who seek the taste of nature’s ambrosia. The small bumblebee lands softly on the downy tuft above the thorns. From below, a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle’s armor pushes aside the thorns as it climbs towards it’s treasured prize. I watched trough my lens as the two insects meticulously sorted through the purple strands.  They nearly collided several times and when the finally did face each other what ensued was a short game of patty cake played with antenna.  I had to giggle slightly at first and then I wondered if this was some insect form of a secret handshake.  The latter is most likely the truth. An insects antenna is a highly acute sensor array capable of receiving complex information.  in an instant massive amounts of information was exchanged and rechecked. Both creatures are solitary beings who don’t normally share a space.  I’ve actually observed sparing matches between bumblebees for control of the same territory. But here are two insects with the only thing in common is the flower their feeding on. Knowing that insects are living chemical factories and that beetles especially are masters of chemical signals I wonder if the little soldier beetle was able to somehow camouflage it’s scent? Regardless of the reason how these two decided to share they did in fact go back to feeding together in peace. Is the soldier beetle a Jedi master able to trick the bee into ignoring him? Or was it as simple as a conversation between bugs?
“Hi, I’m a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle but everyone just calls me Leatherwing.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m a bumblebee but everyone thinks I’m a small carpenter bee. “
“Cool, let’s do lunch.”
“Okay,”
Either way, it would be great if we could take a lesson from these insects and just get along.

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Forage Friday #74 Thistle

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled Thistle In Full Bloom 90120″ and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Please remember that Forage Friday is only intended to be a conversation starter and all of the information is presented as trivia.

The first time I read about Thistle as a wild edible was in one of Tom Brown Jr.’s books about wilderness survival. He describes how it was hot and thirsty and his mentor peeled the stem of a Thistle and bit into it. When he did it was so full of water that it sprayed out from the bite. The story goes on to describe how juicy and refreshing raw Thistle can be. My own experience was a little less satisfactory. First of all the Thistle that I tried was bitter and stringy. In those days there was no smartphones and the fledgling internet had little information. Blogging hadn’t really caught on and most websites were nothing more than an online business card with an address and a phone number. Fortunately for me the public library was the best place to access the internet and so it was just as convenient and quick to go to the card catalog and look up a book on the subject. That’s how I learned that not all Thistles are equal. All Thistles are technically edible but they differ in quality. What I had was what is seen in tonight’s feature image. Bull Thistle. Also, part of the problem was that I had waited until they were fully mature and that certainly changes the experience. What was needed was a young plant and not bull Thistle but Milk Thistle. From what I understand Bull Thistle has every benefit of Milk Thistle it’s just not as pleasant flavored.

If you do your foraging in a local supermarket you’ll find Thistle in the form of a commercial standardized extract. In 2018 890 tons Milk Thistle extract was sold into the supplement market and that’s not counting the seeds that are sold as fodder for songbirds. Most people who use any type of Thistle are doing so as an aide to liver function and even the Native Americans used it to support healthy digestion as well as a treatment for arthritis due to it’s anti-inflammatory affect.

Image Titled “Among The Prickles 90820BW” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Of course if we foraging anywhere other than than the local supermarket we’re going to need to deal with the thorns. If you’re very careful all you really need is a good pocket knife. However, I recommend you also have a good set of gloves and maybe even welding gloves that cover the arm as well as the hand. The thorns are fierce enough to cause permanent eye damage so a decent set of safety glasses might be in order as well.

Those mean thorns are really the only part of the Thistle that is not edible. Then entire plant from the roots to the seeds may be consumed. The roots are said to taste like Jerusalem artichoke or Burdock roots. The stem and midrib of the leaves can be eaten raw but are better as a sautee as is the the flowerhead. Be certain to remove all the thorns!

The seeds are collected when the down appears. To remove the down simply rub the seeds between your hands and winnow them in same manner as separating wheat from chaff. It’s suggested by multiple sources to use an electric coffee grinder to coarsely grind the seeds and sprinkle them on other foods.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Thistle sprouts might be another option if you have enough bulk seed to make it worth the effort. I would recommend sprouting them like any other herb. It can be as simple as placing the seeds between damp paper towels and leaving them in a warm spot where they can germinate.

Why go to all that trouble? Well, wild plants can be richer in nutrition than even garden veggies. Thistle is high in fiber, protein, calcium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. All of this depends on what’s available in the soil of course but presuming the ground is suitable for gardening the Thistle is better able to accumulate these minerals.

We’ve recently seen how fragile the normal supply chain can be. If you’re a person who has been buying supplements in the store then it makes sense to identify alternative resources just in case. All the better if you have a small space to allow some wild plants to flourish. And if nothing else Thistles will attract butterflies and others pollenators with its flowers and songbirds with its seed.

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.

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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! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse 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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Sweet Rewards

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Butterfly & Thistle 90120” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The high ridge top breaks into open fields as I travel a back road that I’ve not set etes upon in decades. The winding single lane road hasn’t changed much since I was less than ten years old and riding in a early 1970s Jeep Comanche pickup truck. Sometimes my grandfather took the long way to get to where we were going just to spend time together. We could have gotten there in ten minutes but instead we spent at least an hour on the back road.

The mountain tops of West Virginia has some of the most beautiful farmlands! As my big blue truck topped a blind hill I was thrilled to the Thistle growing on the edge of the road. I’ve always associated Thistle with the edges of pastures and barbed wire fences held up by posts cut from Black Locust. I drove on for a few more minutes until I found a place where I could turn the long wheelbase of the big blue truck around. I would find the Thistle being visited by a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail. It struck me that one of the most delicate creatures in nature was feeding on one of the most hostile flowers. All it would take would be a single wrong move and the thorns would shred the beautiful wings. But I suppose that in this life one has to be able to take risks in order to win a sweet reward.

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.

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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.

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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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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! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse 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 Tiny Explorer

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Tiny Spider On Thistle”. All of the photos are my original work and are available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Sometimes I wonder if God gave thistle it’s spines because He knew that we’d have black and white photography. I have become intrigued by the way the texture of thistle is brought out in monochrome. On this particular day I did a lot of from the hip photos. Something would catch my eye and I would quickly snap several photos and move on to the next opportunity.

As I was doing the bulk selections of which thistle images to keep and which ones to delete I noticed a speck on the bulb. Anything that breaks the pattern gets my attention. I zoomed in to find a teeny tiny spider hiding in the spines

With spiders the males are typically much smaller than the females. So I’m guessing that this is a little guy.

I regret not paying close enough attention to the thistle while I was on site or I might have switched to a macro lens and picked up more detail of the spider himself. But, as it is I began to zoom in and discovered that he’s got the whole lower half of the flower bud wrapped in his web. He is well on his way to conquering his entire world. I began to see the little spider as the soul inhabitant of a flower sized planet and the surrounding buds as his solar system with the two smaller buds as twin moons.

Guessing by the overall body shape I’m thinking that he’s a roving spider. Eventually he’ll move to the other two buds and beyond spreading his web as he goes. One day he’ll decide that it’s time to explore his tiny universe and he’ll literally reach for the stars. Believe it or not, spiders can fly. Especially when they’re this small. Scientists call it ballooning but it’s really more like the flight of a kite. He’ll climb up to the highest place he can find and let his web into the wind. When enough wind catches the web the spider will sail through the air like a dandelion seed. A tiny explorer who goes wherever the wind takes him.

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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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!❤

Bumblebee And Thistle

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Bumblebee And Thistle 81019a” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The last of the morning dew evaporates into mountain air. I have returned to the place of my childhood for a short walk around the fields and forest edge. I opened the gate and drove through a short distance. Even though the cattle are in a different paddock I got out of the truck to latch the gate closed. Just like my grandfather taught me. I had made a promise when I was ten to always close the gate behind me. Even though he passed away in the 80s I have never broken that promise. As I was getting ready to get back into the truck the moment on the thistle caught my eye. The tiny little crawled through purple tuft atop the spiny stalk not wanting to miss a single drop of nectar. She seems so peaceful as she diligently foraged her way across the flower. I remembered seeing that bumblebees were trending on the internet and I decided not to pass on the opportunity. Even though bumblebees are generally docile I elected to use the long lens so that I didn’t pressure her. Her pollen sacks were nearly full in no time. Yet, she didn’t really seem to rush. I remembered the saying by Lao Tzu, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

I started to compare the work being accomplished by the bumblebee in contrast to the expectations of the corporate world. The bee has a relatively short time to gather as much of the pollen as possible. But she isn’t really stressed out about how much there is to do. She doesn’t multitask. She simply sorts through the florets one at a time until the plant stops producing. Then she doesn’t linger in the dry bloom and moves on to the next. She measures her productivity not my volume but by the completeness of the task.

I was able to get several good picture of the Bumblebee And Thistle before the moment was gone. I am particularly happy with the black and white version of tonight’s feature image.

I think that the black and white version brings out more texture.

It wasn’t long before the bumblebee decided that she was finished and returned to wherever the nest was.

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

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

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/

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!