Sunday, August 6, 2017

Preserve visit, and bromeliad foliage ready for a new career

Today was cooler, and after an ambitious little while, cutting down the remaining daylily foliage and carting it away to the woods, and pruning the sage and various things which were getting all carried away, and the explosion of oregano, it seemed like a good idea to go to the Preserve.  Nice walking weather.  But first, after tidying up outside the fence, I found the bundle of bromeliad foliage, and realized instead of tossing it, I could make paper from it.  

So now it's drying in the studio.  And in the course of spreading out the foliage, found this little snail, hanging on to a wild cherry leaf. 

 So he'd been carried up two flights and then back down again, probably a globetrotting adventure for a snail, when you think about it.  He's outside again, with bragging rights for his friends.

This bromeliad was one of those I give up, Liz do something, plants from next door.  It was totally rotted, and I assured G it was not his doing.  He tends to get bargains at the nursery, and I saw that this one was not potted up right.  They're supposed to be vertical, so that you water just into the cup of the foliage, never around the roots.  This one was horizontal, very misshapen, and was really not up to much. You couldn't help getting the soil wet. So I dumped out the soil, gave back the pot, and tossed the leaves. Until now.

The only drawback to the Preserve plan, next on the agenda,  was that I'm tired from yesterday's digging and hauling, and then this morning's stint, but I didn't want to give up.  So I decided on a nice amble instead of a hike.  Resting on benches here and there. Worked out fine.

The tree swallows were darting all over the place, soon they'll be on their way south.  And there was an egret on the far side of the lake, too far for pix -- it would appear like a speck in a pic!  in fact I have several nonpix to show for the amble.  

Several tiny blue skipper butterflies were dancing around for ages in front of me, and there was no chance they'd show up in a pic. They're about half an inch across fully extended.  And a spectacular giant dragonfly, but she kept darting away when I focused on her. There were also darners around today -- this is a great region for a wide variety of dragonflies and related insects. 

And a comma butterfly, which you don't see often, fast mover, gone before I was ready...however, there were obliging flowers big enough to pic.   Here's Queen Anne's Lace, which cascades all over the roadsides around here at the moment

and chicory, my favorite of all wild flowers. 

 Again, masses of them by the roads. But our roads are narrow, busy, have no shoulders, and there's no way to stop and pic.  Or walk back safely.  So these are just ambassadors for their species.  They both flower together, wonderful natural bouquets.

And here's a vertiginous little trail, heading straight down to the water.  Great for butterflies here, and one of my favorite tiny areas in the Preserve. Also a great hunting ground for the swallows.

In the fenced area, intended for safe breeding and feeding for birds and other wildlife, can't get accidentally trodden on by eager hikers, are a lot of native plants, including this echinacea.

And for a glimpse into the backbreaking life of a colonial lady, see these bayberries.  

They're fruiting very well this year.  However, in order to transform them into candles, there are many processes. They're waxy, so they make a natural material.  Once you've gathered thousands of them, you do all sorts of labor intensive and time-consuming things before you ever get to form them into candles.  It takes a lot of berries to make even one candle.  As well as spinning, and weaving and growing food and giving birth all the time and so on...makes you tired to think about it.  But I take off my sunbonnet to them.

The honesty seeds are sprouting nicely, and the succulents have been promoted to getting actual water! they're huge, gosh must be as much as a quarter inch across..oh, and I was wondering why my Montauk daisies were flourishing, tons of foliage, no flowers, then found that's right. They're fall flowering, all the better to extend the season.  I'd forgotten that bit.

Lovely afternoon.  In fact a pretty nice day, and it's not even dinnertime yet.

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