Saturday, January 31, 2015
Friday, January 30, 2015
ILDE or by email from firstname.lastname@example.org after April 23. You will treasure this and the older catalogs, some of which are still available.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
Sunday, January 25, 2015
In the early days of medicine, two kinds of hellebore were recognized: black hellebore, which included various species of Helleborus, and white hellebore (now known as Veratrum album or "false hellebore", which belongs to a different plant family, the Melanthiaceae). "Black hellebore" was used by the ancients to treat paralysis, gout and particularly insanity, among other diseases. "Black hellebore" is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, a feeling of suffocation, swelling of the tongue and throat, emesis and catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the pulse), and finally collapse and death from cardiac arrest. Research in the 1970s, however, showed that the roots of H. niger do not contain the cardiotoxic compounds helleborin, hellebrin, and helleborein that are responsible for the lethal reputation of "black hellebore". It seems that earlier studies may have used a commercial preparation containing a mixture of material from other species such as Helleborus viridis, green hellebore.
I just checked out a site about colors in plants. As you would expect, plants that are pollinated by insects and birds and butterflies are brightly colored and have sweet nectar. Those that are pollinated by air and wind have dull, non-descript flowers and bitter tasting nectar. The purple colors in hellebores are anthocyanins, which are a kind of flavanoid. So I suppose those early-bloomers such as maple flowers and hellebores are trying to attract some early-circulating insect, something that moves around in winter and earliest spring. Stink bugs? Lady bugs?
Friday, January 23, 2015
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
We visited the rock cairns we built last month along the river trail. A few stones had fallen, so we replaced them. All in all, things look good at the cairn site. Then when we got to the end of the river trail and were meandering through the woods up above the trail, we built a new cairn by the side of the road. We think it looks like a fox or some other animal. The mica in the bottom rock sparkled in the sun.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Saturday, January 17, 2015
We gave up as it got dark. Then after dinner we went out in the complete dark to the high meadow behind our house. There J got some good night sky shots, one of which you can see here along with one of the white barn and sunset and S. J is very excited tonight as he just found out he's going to be in Switzerland for his junior year of high school!
We researched Switzerland for a while; then I drew another charlotte, this time in the hyacinth and daffodil pot that arrived last week.
Friday, January 16, 2015
The walking onion is a kind of green onion that my friend H originally got in New Hampshire, and she said it grows well here, needs no protection in winter, reseeds itself in a new location by bending over and dropping its seeds from its flower; hence the name. I went home and planted them in the partially frozen square foot garden and also just outside the garden. Fun to be planting in January! Look for more information about these onions on their website here.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
On the right are some sketches of corn leavings that I found while walking next to a former corn field that the cows had been browsing in a few weeks ago. After the corn is cut down and only stubble is left, the cows are turned loose to forage for whatever they can find to eat. There was very little left in the field except for some still-intact ears. The corn kernels were completely stripped away, but the papery husks were still attached to the stems surrounding the cobs. I cannot imagine a cow, with her great rubbery lips and teeth like piano keys, managing to eat the corn without completely destroying cob, husk, stem. And yet scattered all around the field (which now has sprouts of some cover crop coming up) were these intact ears of kernel-less corn.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Then tonight I looked up wild turkeys in winter and learned that they head for the forests in winter where they can still find mast crop-- acorns and other nuts and seeds, especially around oak trees. They roost in trees at night to get away from predators. I think this flock had given up on scratching around for food in the rain and were taking a safe break even though it was morning.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Along parts of the trail we saw a number of those strange dry-looking green and white striped leaves that I used to think were some kind of early lady slipper. Now I know they're little orchid plants called Aplectrum hymale or putty root. The odd thing about these plants is that their chlorophyll is present and active in the winter, even in weather like this week when the temperature hovers near and well below freezing. The single leaf comes out of the ground at its point of attachment to its corm, from which it gets its common name of putty root. The corm is made of very sticky gooey material that the early Cherokee and Pisgah people around here used for mending pottery and other adhesive-needing jobs. The underside of the leaf is either green or, in the case of many that we saw today, purple. In late spring the leaf disappears and a single stalk bearing a raceme of small flowers rises from the point of attachment of the leaf to the corm. Unusual for members of the orchidaceae family, these flowers often produce seeds that can be germinated fairly easily.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
(see his blog) (for January 3), and so today he and I went out to Black Mountain to find what is left of Gustavino's estate in the United States. We found the remains of a collapsed brick and tile kiln that Guastavino had built plus the elegant and perfectly- built chimney that was used with the kiln.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Then early this morning I got to see what 7 degrees looks like on a ridge top with the sun getting ready to rise behind it. Ice crystals covered the trees up there and they sparkled and shimmered in the approaching sunlight against the blue sky and the shadowy west face of the mountain. Astonishing!
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
I decided to grab whatever caught my eye and bring it home to draw in warmth. The first thing that grabbed me were some pieces of wood from a disintegrating tree trunk-- the woodworm patterns looked like Morse code or early computer punch cards. Then I found a branch without bark that had channels dug, again by woodworms, and they were definitely patterned.
So I got onto the theme of the mystery of seeds and also patterns in nature and then onto the definitely humbling but certainly comforting idea that nature (or the universe or a god or intelligence-- the generator of all those patterns and processes) knows infinitely more than our little brains, even enhanced by computers, can ever possibly know. And how good it is to watch a clunky little acorn send down a tail/rootlet at the precise time and in the perfect direction to bore into the soil before the ground freezes, with no sign of a stem-- just the root and a package of food, anchoring the baby plant to a patch of ground where it can wait out the winter, slowly creeping its root tip further and further in the direction of water. And meanwhile the shell is disintegrating as the food supply diminishes, going back to the ground and recycling itself with the help of the tannin that also gives it its bitter taste that wards off creatures that might eat the seed/little root/plant. (I think the wind is affecting my mind-- But really, think about it!)
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
At bottom left is my old friend, Jones Mountain, the source of the fierce winds that howl down our street on nights like tonight. This view is from our front door window at a little after sunset. Since we live halfway up the mountain, it doesn't look like much more than a big hill, a nice feng shui cushion. The label should say SOUTH, not north. We live on the north face.
On the right at the top is the north view (not the south, as the label says), out our kitchen window, at sunset when the mountains to the north are reflecting the apricot glow from the sunset. Below is my favorite, the east view, where the moon and the sun both rise. Tonight's almost full moon floats up like a big fat balloon. We can just barely see this view from my studio window. For a better view we walk down to the fence in our backyard.
his blog to learn more about this photo and especially to see more of his work.