Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lake Katherine at Reynolda Gardens


Constructed in the 1900s, and named for Katherine Smith Reynolds (Mrs. R.J. Reynolds), this 14-acre lake provided family and friends with fishing, boating and swimming. Silt from building and natural process began filling in the lake and by the 1990s, it was almost completely filled in. It is now a natural habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The dam upstream prevents this from returning to its natural state and it will continue as an artificial wetland.

On Easter Sunday afternoon, after strolling around Reynolda Gardens soaking up some natural Vitamin D, we paused to take in the beauty of this wetland. We sat on an old, weathered bench and watched birds flitting from branch to branch, sometimes clinging to the bark of a tree leaning toward the water. As we were walking away, we heard a splash and turned to see two ducks had just landed. 

While I have been to Reynolda Gardens and the surrounding village several times in recent years, I did not know there had been a lake there. There is always something to be discovered, sometimes practically in one's own back yard.

What discoveries have you made recently in your neck of the woods?



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Friday, March 13, 2015

Golden Fungi

Not being a connoisseur of mushrooms and rarely cooking with anything more elaborate than the grocery store white buttons, I had no idea what had sprouted in my yard. I was taking the garbage to the street when they caught my eye, almost golden in the late afternoon sun. I grabbed my camera to photograph yet another fungal find. To identify them, I searched on gold mushrooms on logs. As best as I could determine from the pictures and descriptions, my golden fungi were oyster mushrooms.

Most mushrooms seem to have a short life and are withered and gone within a few days or a week.
January 20, 2015
These, although past their prime, are still hanging on nearly a month later.
February 17, 2015

Having survived through a vicious winter cold spell with snow, ice and single-digit temperatures, this is what is left nearly two months after I first spotted them.
March 11, 2015
These mushrooms, being edible goodies, bring people out in the Fall to forage for them. While they can be found at any time, they are most prevalent in the Fall, growing on dead hardwood trees or logs in temperate areas all around the world, with the exception of the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. 

The Oyster Mushroom is often used in Asian cooking, and sometimes made into a sauce similar to oyster sauce. They have a soft, chewy texture with somewhat of a seafood taste, making them perfect for seafood dishes and stock. They are best harvested when young because as they age they become tough and unpleasant tasting.  

Oyster mushroom trivia:
  • Now cultivated around the world, they were first cultivated in Germany during WWI as subsistence food.
  • They are one of the few carnivorous mushrooms; they actually devour the nematodes residing on the host log. They hit them with a toxin then suck out their juices.  
  • Oyster refers to the shape of the cap which is similar to that of an oyster shell.




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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Fungi

A while back, I told hubby that I was doing another post on the interesting fungi I found in the back yard, and he said "Oh really, is that a bunch of fun guys having a party?"

So without further ado, here are the 'fun guys' I found hanging around my back yard.






I scanned hundreds of photos in an attempt to ID these fungal visitors.  Alas, I was unable to determine what they are.   So who's having a party in your yard this Fall?


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Friday, June 27, 2014

Fungus Among Us

This was such a bright splash of color among the green and brown of it's surroundings. It almost looks like a tomato on a stem.  After a lot of Googling and comparing pictures, I determined that this is likely an Amanita Jacksonii.

This beautiful mushroom is found in North America from Quebec to Mexico, and resembles the Amanita Caesarea, which is found mainly in Southern Europe and North Africa.

It is said to be edible, but it is not recommended because other members of this family are poisonous.  Here it is shown in it's just-emerged, immature stage.



Here is a pretty white, cone-shaped mushroom that sprang up on an old stump.  As you can see he has a unidentified friend nearby.  Until I started searching for what these might be, I never realized how many fantastic fungi there are in every shape and color imaginable.


I saw this one a few days later on another stump, and at that time it looked similar to the one above.  The picture below was taken today and you can see how it has changed.  As it matured, it opened up, flattened out some and developed brown spots.  These may both be Parasol mushrooms.  True Parasol mushrooms are said to have exceptional flavor, but again, not something you want to eat unless you really know what you're doing since they can be confused with toxic varieties.  



What is sprouting up in your area?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When Hell Freezes Over

It is day 4 of the Third Second Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese and today's prompt is When Hell Freezes Over.  Now skate on over to Nicky's place for more frozen treats.


Adverb*

  1. (idiomatic) never; not in this lifetime; not a chance.

    "Will you go out with him?"
    "When Hell freezes over!"

    *Source: wikionary
    Image Source: wstera2










Care to rethink that remark?

In reality, she probably doesn't have to worry about it.  Hell, as described in many religions, lies far beneath the surface of the earth. For the sake of argument, we will assume hell to be located at the center of the earth, way down at it's fiery core.

Obviously no one has taken it's temperature, but it is estimated at between 9,000 and 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  The earth's core is a solid iron ball about one-third the size of the moon, which would easily be melted at these temperatures if not for the weight of the planet pressing down on it.

It is pretty certain this isn't freezing any time soon!

Image Source:  Wikipedia





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What is a Myrtle?

The Boardwalk at Myrtle Beach
Having just been to Myrtle Beach for a long-awaited getaway, we pondered this question as we strolled the new boardwalk which opened in May 2010.  Just what is a Myrtle, my hubby asked?  I thought maybe it was named after a woman.  If you ask people how Myrtle Beach got its name, you get a variety of answers from the Indians to someone's daughter.  All are good guesses.  The area has had many names over its history.  When the Waccamaw Indians inhabited the land, it was known as Long Bay.  You may recognize the name Waccamaw from the river and pottery named for it.  It was later known as Withers for a family who had had property there since the 1700s.  There was even a post office named for them.

In 1881 the Burroughs and Collins Company of Conway purchased much of the land long held by the Withers family and Withers was now called New Town.  As you can see there have been many changes and many names as is often the case with developing lands.

Getting to the story behind the current name, in 1900 a contest was held to choose an official name for their town.*   Credit is given to Addie Burroughs who suggested the name Myrtle Beach, named for the abundant growth of the Wax Myrtle bushes.  

Image Attribution: Mary Keim
The Wax Myrtle is a North American native, and is a small tree or large shrub depending on it's environment.  It is often found in landscaping, especially around the beaches but is also used in candle making, as well as having medicinal uses.

And that is how Myrtle Beach got it's name.
 
*Myrtle Beach officially became a town in 1938, then a city in 1957.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beneath the Poplar Tree


I planted this tree a little more than 20 years ago as a seedling that I dug up from the woods next to our house.  It started out in a large soft drink cup and when it outgrew the cup and looked like it was going to make it, I planted it.  My guess is that it's nearly 2 feet in diameter and at least 50 feet tall.  Although the tree did all the work, I am very proud of having grown it from a mere sprout. 

So many people around here now are cutting down perfectly good trees and leaving their yards looking sad and naked.  It just breaks my heart when I see those lovely, healthy trees destroyed, leaving only ground out stumps and piles of sawdust.  I guess it is the fear of what might happen one day.

We are having a tree taken down, too, but for safety reasons only.  If it were healthy, that old maple, with all it's interesting character, would remain there shading the house for many years to come.  Fortunately, it is on the north side of the house and the neighbors have a large elm nearby so there will still be some shade. 



This is why it has to go.  It is so hollowed out it's a wonder it's still standing, but to look at the top of the tree, you'd never know it.  We (mostly me) have been putting this off for a long time but each year the hollow gets bigger and bigger and sooner or later, something will set up housekeeping in there, or it will go over in a big puff of wind...not a pleasant thought.  So Friday down it comes [sniff].

For now, cheers from beneath the poplar!



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Freaky Fungi


I found these interesting looking critters under the dogwood tree this morning.  They are called Mutinus Elegans, more commonly known as Elegant Stinkhorn, and while they are found up and down the East Coast, I've never seen one before.  However, with the aid of Google I was able to identify these unusual fungi.

They are reported to have a foul odor but considering how close I got to take the pictures, I didn't smell anything.  The brown coloring is actually a slime which flies and other insects feed on which disperses the spores.  Yuck!  Because of their odor, they are not considered edible for humans.

Interestingly, in a study of a variety of mushrooms, the stinkhorn showed antibiotic activity against all six of the human bacteria tested including E.coli and Salmonella.


Has anyone else seen these or have them in your yard?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

In Plain Sight

Betcha can't see me now.
Do you see the spider...hidden in plain sight?  Some of the best camouflages are found in nature.  I think this one is a Wolf Spider, and he recently participated in a capture and release program.  He was captured in the basement and released into a natural area outside.

Here is his release photo.  The capture equipment consisted of a flat piece of metal and something to contain him during transport.  As you can see he has been accessorizing with items found in the basement.

Freedom!
He quickly departed the table for the safety of the ground below.  They are fast!

Oh what a tangled web...wait, that's not mine!
He did allow us to remove some of his new-found accessories so he could hasten his escape.  Hopefully he found suitable quarters elsewhere.

I'm planning a change in my blogging schedule, but at this time I'm not sure what days I will be posting - other than Monday's Quote of the Week.  Thanks for reading Roses to Rainbows, and I hope you'll stick around while I sort this out.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Running Behind?

It would seem Mother Nature is running a bit behind everywhere this year.  In many areas it is still snowing.


It appears to be a late Spring here too.  While it was a relatively mild winter with only a dusting of snow and a couple 5-minute snow showers, we had a cool March - or so I thought.  The first picture was taken today, and the dogwoods have been out for a few days.

As you can see by the second picture, they were in full bloom by the end of March last year, so that makes them about 3 weeks later this year.  

However, March 2012 was warmer than usual, with temperatures overall about 20 degrees above average.  In retrospect, that makes this year about average.

How is your Spring compared to last year?  
Average, warmer, colder, snowy?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Day in Lake City

As I alluded to in a previous post, there was more to my Lake City detour than just a waterfall.  The main purpose was to meet up with my friend Sara Healy, whom I met through the wonderful world of blogging.

We met through her site, "a sharing connection" about three years ago when I first participated in one of her story photo challenges.  I don't think I've missed a post since.  A sharing connection is funny, thoughtful and thought provoking.  Sara puts herself into each photo story challenge, offers words of wisdom and delights us with her fictional stories.  She has also been a great inspiration to me as I explore the world of writing.

So after a number of emails and Google searches for a place to meet, we finally settled on a date and time, each coming from a different direction.  We spent the night in Brunswick, GA and they drove in from Tallahassee, each about two hours. 

I had been looking forward to this for a long time, and I will tell you that Sara is just as delightful in person as she is online.  We had a wonderful double date with her and her boyfriend.  The long-awaited lunch took place at Mike's Cafe & Grille.  

I was worried about being late, so we ended up at the restaurant about a half hour early.  We walked in and when the hostess asked "two for lunch?" we told her we were having lunch with another couple that we hadn't met so we chose a table where we could see the door and keep an eye out for them.  Even though we'd never met in person, it was instant recognition, like greeting old friends after a long absence.

We chatted non-stop for two hours trying to cram as much in as possible.  We talked about food, wine, traded cat stories, and talked about their home renovation project (I hope that has been completed now), and of course, blogging.

Sadly, lunch was over way too soon - I felt like we had barely gotten started and could have gone on talking for hours.  We hugged, took pictures, and they headed home while we set out to see what Lake City had to offer.

Alligator Lake Park
First up was Alligator Lake Park.  Although we saw no alligators at the park, we did see a long-legged white bird hunting for its dinner, squirrels and dragonflies.  There was a playground for kids, and a wonderful screened in picnic shelter overlooking the lake.

Spanish Moss on a Live Oak
Then there was this old bearded tree.  At least all the Spanish Moss hanging from its limbs made it look bearded.  While I always thought that Spanish Moss was hazardous to trees, I find that is not true.  It is actually not even related to moss, and derives its nutrition from the air and rainfall.

Pretty Berries
I have no idea what these berries are.  I found these at Falling Creek Falls on a bush growing beneath a large tree.  They almost look like miniature grape clusters.  If anyone knows what they are, please share in the comment section.

Falling Creek Falls
Falls were not something I expected to find in Florida, the land of the flat, so I had to check this out.  While it doesn't have great height, only about 10 feet or so, it is still pretty and peaceful.  I posted the video of this recently.

Overnight at Cabot Lodge
Calling an end to our Lake City adventure, we looked for a place to bed down for the night before continuing on to St. Pete.  Thank goodness for smart phones, and Trip Advisor.  We found this small chain hotel only a few miles away.  Can you guess what was a big drawing point at the end of the day?  That's right!  They have a nightly social hour from 5:30 until 7:30 where they serve beer, wine and snacks.  There was a TV in the lobby and baseball fans were gathered around routing for their favorite team.

This was a lovely day, and our visit with my friend, Sara was definitely the highlight.

Friday, November 2, 2012

No Alligators?

Lacking in anything creative today, I thought I'd give you a glimpse into Alligator Lake Park.

Beautiful clouds.
I have dubbed this the year of the clouds.  Everywhere I've been, including my own home town, I've seen the most amazing clouds, and pictures rarely do them justice.

Where are the alligators?
Yes, I had actually thought to see alligators. 

Explaining the importance of this area.
This is a major player in Florida's drinking water.
This is just one of the places we visited on our recent vacation.  Stay tuned next week for "A Day in Lake City" where I reveal the main reason for our little detour.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Falling Creek Falls

Who knew you could find waterfalls in Florida.  I think of beaches, swamps, beautiful sunsets and lots of seafood.  We usually spend a week or so in Florida every fall, and almost always discover something new.  This year we detoured to Lake City on our way to St. Pete (more about that in another post). 

While picking Google's cyber brain for things to do in the area, I found this lovely little side trip only minutes from the interstate.  It is an easy walk from the parking lot to see the rapids that culminate in a drop of about 10 feet, forming a caramel-colored waterfall.


This may not have the grandeur of Niagara, but it has a quaint charm all its own.  Falling Creek Falls was also the site of the first settlement in the area.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Above My Head


I'm jumping in on day 3 of the 30 days of photographs hosted by Ziva and MikeWJ, however my participation in this challenge will be sketchy.  For today I did find this squirrely thing that was definitely "above my head", which is completely different from being "over my head".

Go here for some more upward looking photos.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Web Wonder

There was a lot of fog yesterday morning which served to highlight the busy night had by the spiders in our yard.  Here are just a few.

 All of these are different webs.


Some in the trees.


Some in the middle of the yard.


Some in mid air tied to the ground with long lines. 


It looked like we were surrounded.

I wonder if I can break free?

A lot of work went into building all these webs.  
See up close how they do it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Beginnings


In response to The One Minute Writer prompt Era, our life is in the Era of New Beginnings.  Times are changing and we are charting a new course, taking up new interests and renewing some that have fallen by the way.  Our world has expanded significantly, and I see good things on the horizon as we sail toward all that life has to offer. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Frogs at Salem Lake

This was filmed at Salem Lake a couple of years ago when we were serenaded by a bunch of frogs.  Not the peepers of Spring, but big bullfrogs.  At least I think they were bullfrogs - we didn't actually see them.


I am in the process of learning how to edit my videos.  This was done using Windows Live Movie Maker to edit out the dead spots and other conversations.  Any tips for the beginner?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Ant and the Lion

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is The Short Hairs.  This is the 14th mind-numbing day of this challenge.  Check out the Linky at WWFC for more entertainment.

frank.itlab.us
There are a lot of these in my yard.

Image source:  Wikipedia
Fortunately there are a lot of these too.

Antlions, or rather antlion larva, as I learned from my research.  Otherwise known to me in my childhood as doodlebugs. They are called doodlebugs because the twisty winding trails they leave in the sand while looking for the right place to make their traps look like someone doodled in the sand.

They hang out in inverted cone-shaped dwellings in loose sandy soil, and feed on ants. It is interesting to watch them "build" their traps.


When complete, they lie in wait for the unsuspecting ant to drop in for dinner...not knowing he's the meal, thus having the ant by the short hairs.

Image source:  Wikipedia
This is what they become.  

Does this meet the criteria for today's topic?  If you were the ant, what would you think?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beauty in the Sky

Some sights just demand you run and get your camera, or in this case my phone.  This doesn't do justice to the beauty I saw in the sky that afternoon.


This was taken a few days earlier, after a rain shower.  The sun has to but cast his rays upon the earth to make us smile with wonder. 


The camera doesn't lie, but it doesn't always pick up the subtleties we see with our eyes.  Still, we have the pictures to remind us of what our eyes saw.

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