Adventure in the Woods

Pink Ladyslippers

Pink Ladyslippers

I was outside when the sun was too high, so I hope you enjoy the subjects of the photos. The pictures themselves aren’t great.

This was the first ladyslipper I found.

This was the first ladyslipper I found.

I suppose first I’ll tell you the adventure part, as the photos are pretty self-explanatory. I set out toward the back of our property, heading toward the area that is the best mushroom habitat around, by a little steep-banked creek. I never made it that far. There were many blowdowns, thick underbrush, hills and a steep ravine. I didn’t make it back that far, either!

Another double ladyslipper.  In this shot you can see a little of the flower's interior.

Another double ladyslipper. In this shot you can see a little of the flower’s interior.

I did make it a few hundred steeply sloped feet. I found several varieties of LBM’s (little brown mushrooms) that the experts have difficulty identifying. I also found a couple of medium tan-colored mushrooms that I intended to try to identify when I got back to the house. And several tiny orange mushrooms that looked a little chanterellish, but it’s way too early for them. They went in my bag to identify, too.

(But — pink ladyslippers are blooming! They were my consolation prize.)

Anyway, I got very tired and out of breath, so decided I’d better head (uphill) home. I climbed one little ridge, and that was it. I sat down on a thick cushion of forest duff and hyperventilated for a while.

Yu can see how soft and downy the young bull thistle flower stalks are at this stage.  (Pardon the dirty fingernails... it happens when I grub around outside!  :)

You can see how soft and downy the young bull thistle flower stalks are at this stage. (Pardon the dirty fingernails… it happens when I grub around outside! 🙂

I was going to stay there until I recuperated, but then I heard some of the dogs that run free around here sounding like they were fighting. That REALLY scared me, so I bushwacked over blowdowns, greenbrier, blackberry bushes, sapling trees… until I couldn’t go any farther.

This time I found a nice log to sit on. I beat on it with my hiking pole and prodded around to make sure there were no nasty critters under it, sat down, and the log cracked and sent me tumbling.

The bull thistle flower stalks after scraping.

The bull thistle flower stalks after scraping.

So I phoned Ron and told him where I was and asked him to bring me my inhaler. After using that, I felt better. And after resting a while, we made it home.

Exhausted, I threw the mushrooms I had planned to identify in the trash, too tired to mess with them, and crashed for a long nap.

So, apparently the COPD is getting worse… which means stick to easy trails and always carry my inhaler.

Before I headed into the woods I saw a couple of bull thistles with flower stalks and unopened flowers. At this stage the prickly flower stalks are downy and can be easily held with bare fingers.

Wild strawberries are blooming.

Wild strawberries are blooming.

I had them in my mushroom basket, so did put them into the refrigerator before I crashed.

When I got up, it was an easy job to scrape the down off the flower stalks and pop them in the pan with my chicken stew. At this young stage they have a very mild celery flavor, and they didn’t add anything to the dish I was cooking except fun.

When the stalks get older, they get prickly and hollow. I hold them with a pair of needle-nose pliers and peel off the prickles with a pocket knife. They have an intense celery flavor and are much better for cooking.  They get tough at that stage though, so need to be sliced thinly then.

So today was a good news-bad news day.

Tasteless, invasive Indian strawberries are crowding out the sweet wild strawberries.

Tasteless, invasive Indian strawberries are crowding out the sweet wild strawberries.

Oh, I almost forgot! I saw the plastic surgeon this morning who will be tightening up my droopy eyelids which is supposed to improve my vision significantly. I hope it does. But I’m secretly thrilled that my eyes will look better, too!

Little orange mushrooms

Little orange mushrooms

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15 Comments

  1. Sharon, be sure to take a “before” and “after” photo. Can’t wait to see the results, even though I realize from past experience it will be a few months before you’ll experience the full glory of your new eyes. 🙂

    • Will do! He said I’d be black and blue for 3 weeks or so. And I see what you meant about boredom prevention. He said not to even bend over for the first 3 days and gave me instructions to be a lazy slug for a while! 😀

  2. Sorry you couldn’t finish your walk down the hill. Yes do bring your inhaler with you always. good thing you had your phone.

    • The nice thing about taking photos with a phone is that you always have it with you! 🙂

      • Forgot to mention how much I love the Ladyslipper flowers I have never seen them but on your blog. And yes using your phone will make sure it is always with you.

        • Apparently yellow ladyslippers are more common, but I have never seen them!

          They are members of the orchid family. I always feel like I’ve struck gold when I see one! Glad you enjoyed the pictures!

  3. Oh my what an adventure!! I want my eyelids done- the only thing about my failing elderly body that I’d like fixed- how vain we can sometime be!! But seriously thou I didn’t know it would help ur eyesight- that’s important. Be careful-easy trails can be very good!! And ALWAYS inhaler!! Happy trails!! I can’t wait to see the lady slippers here!!

    • I’d love to get my whole drooping face lifted! But the eyes are the most important to me, too.

      There are lots of easy trails most of the places we camp. So I am really looking forward to when we can get out again.

      Hope your ladyslippers arrive soon. They are such elegant plants!

  4. Sorry that you had to find out the hard way that you need your inhaler with a you when hiking. Happy that Ron was within reach.

    Great trick about beating the log with a stick before sitting down to dislodge inhabitants. I’m going to remember that, although I’d probably my have a heart attack if something came scurrying (or worse yet, slithering) out.

    Hope your blog will still be as much fun to read when it’s written by the New Glamorous Sharon. Good luck with your surgery – has Ron had his cataract surgery yet?

    • Adapting to aging is just one of the things we do in return for staying around here to soak in all the beauty we can in our remaining time. Just like with Sunny. 🙂

      I’d have had a heart attack if a snake had slithered out, too!

      I’m really looking forward to my surgery — or rather the results!

      Ron’s first cataract surgery is done and he is stunned at how much better he can see! He is having the other eye done next Wednesday.

      Then I plan on having mine done this fall. The doctor assured me that with the corrective implants that I will see 20/20 again. What a delight that will be!

  5. Never have seen a “ladyslipper” Makes for a terrific photo….Glad that Ron’s procedure went well….good luck on the next one…and on your upcoming surgery…take care, Horst sends

    • Wish I could have gotten better photos, but at least you can see that they are a very different, very beautiful flower.

      Thanks for the good wishes!

  6. What??!! So glad Ron was close by…and you got home safe!! Know how excited you are to have those lids fixed up and especially to have your sight point on. You’ll always be beautiful to me, inside and out!!!!

  7. Love the pink lady slipper photos! I have seen quite a few pink ones around this general area but only a very few yellow ones.
    Glad to hear everything is moving nicely toward your goals.

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