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

Advertisements

Last Day at Ann’s

Ann took this photo of me trying to get a shot of a wasp's nest!

Ann took this photo of me trying to get a shot of a wasp’s nest!

Today is our last day here at Ann and Cecil’s place.

This is the picture I was shooting in the header photo.  Ann came out with a can of wasp spray as soon as I told her about it!

This is the picture I was shooting in the header photo. Ann followed soon after with a can of wasp spray!

Cecil drove a friend to a doctor’s appointment in Gainesville.  Ann was exhausted from spending too much time in the kitchen lately.  Ron went to town and wandered around there for a while.  So I took the opportunity to hunt down photo subjects.

We also did our own dinners tonight.  I grilled seasoned zucchini squash and sauteed chicken tenders, onions, peppers and garlic for an easy one-dish meal.

A fuzzy photo of a male chameleon courting the ladies.

A fuzzy photo of a male chameleon courting the ladies.

Since I don’t have any exciting adventures to share today, I’ll just post photos again.  🙂

This lady wasn't impressed!

This lady wasn’t impressed!

Cecil wasn't sure whether this was Fred or Joe.  :D

Cecil wasn’t sure whether this was Fred or Joe. 😀

Cecil has gopher tortoises on his property, and I thought this was one of their holes.  But Cecil said it was probably an armadillo hole.

Cecil has gopher tortoises on his property, and I thought this was one of their holes. But Cecil said it was probably an armadillo hole.

Tender, tasty baby bullbrier leaves

Tender, tasty baby bullbrier leaves

Florida is for bugs.  :(

Florida is for bugs. 😦

Cool tree skeleton

Cool tree skeleton

Discrimination.  :)

Discrimination. 🙂

Evidence the raccoons are eating the apple snails.

Evidence the raccoons are eating the apple snails.

Field of oxalis

Field of oxalis

Baby wild muscadine grape leaves

Baby wild muscadine grape leaves

Greenbriers will keep putting on tender, tasty shoots until midsummer

Greenbriers will keep putting on tender, tasty shoots until midsummer

Leatherleaf florist's ferns

Leatherleaf florist’s ferns

Closeup of the beautiful shamrock-like oxalis

Closeup of the beautiful shamrock-like oxalis

Maturing poke salad.  At this point it is dangerously poisonous.

Maturing poke salad. At this point it is dangerously poisonous.

The requisite Sheba-in-the-pond photo.  :)

The requisite Sheba-in-the-pond photo. 🙂

Turtles in the pond

Turtles in the pond

A carpet of Virginia creeper

A carpet of Virginia creeper

Wild Edibles, an Owl, Gorgeous Flowers & Dog in the Pond

At the edge of the pond

At the edge of the pond. No alligators here, but a juvenile raccoon raids the apple snails (escargot) every night.

Today was a visit and do chores and laundry day.  So I’ll just share pictures of our beautiful free campground here at Ann and Cecil’s.  Driveway camping at its best!

Blackberries are budding

Wild blackberries are budding

Cecil's greenhouse, built on skids so he can move it with his tractor for optimal sun exposure as the seasons change.

Cecil’s greenhouse, built on skids so he can move it with his tractor for optimal sun exposure as the seasons change.

Cookie and Sheba.  Sheba has calmed down enough that Cookie enjoys her company now!

Cookie and Sheba. Sheba has calmed down enough that Cookie enjoys her company now!

Cookie, Sunny and Sheba

Cookie, Sunny and Sheba

Evening primrose.  They bloom after the sun goes down and all parts are edible.  Cecil has a field of them!

Evening primrose. They bloom after the sun goes down and all parts are edible. Cecil has a field of them!

Look closely and you can see fish in the pond.  They must have forgotten my attempts to catch them last visit!  :)

Look closely and you can see fish in the pond. They must have forgotten my attempts to catch them last visit! 🙂

More fish in the pond

More fish in the pond

This owl perched in the tree near our Casita.  He's a bit fuzzy due to my camera being at maximum zoom.

This owl perched in the tree near our Casita. He’s a bit fuzzy due to my camera being at maximum zoom.

Red honeysuckle blooms

Red honeysuckle blooms

A rose is a rose....

A rose is a rose….

Sunny and Sheba

Sunny and Sheba

Wild onion.  Cecil calls these Egyptian Walking Onions

Wild onion. Cecil calls these Egyptian Walking Onions

Closeup of wild onion tops which will form new plants.

Closeup of wild onion tops which will form new plants.

I just missed the prime bloom season for the wisteria.  These are all that is left now.

I just missed the prime bloom season for the wisteria. These are all that is left now.

Woods, Mushrooms, a Flower & Wild Edibles

Our woods

Our woods

Today Ron took Sunny and Sheba to the groomer, so I had several hours to myself.  I decided to check out the woods to see what discoveries awaited me.

Some of these photos were taken in the woods.  Some were in the transition area between the woods and our yard.  And some of them are from our yard…. which has plenty of weeds growing in the lawn!  I like it that way!  🙂

Just beautiful!  I think it's a moss of some kind.

Just beautiful! I think it’s a moss of some kind.

Little brown mushrooms.

Little brown mushrooms.

More lbms (little brown mushrooms)

More lbms (little brown mushrooms)

Little white mushrooms.  Not edible.

Little white mushrooms. Not edible.

Berries the birds missed

Berries the birds missed

Greenbrier thorns.  Not fun to walk through!

Greenbrier thorns. Not fun to walk through!

Small greenbrier

Small greenbrier

Lichen

Lichen

Moss on fallen log

Moss on fallen log

A russula, I think

A russula, I think

A periwinkle -- perennial vinca.  One lone bloom was all I found.

A periwinkle — perennial vinca. One lone bloom was all I found.

Bracken.  Last years dead leaves show where edible fiddleheads will come up in spring

Bracken. Last years dead leaves show where edible fiddleheads will come up in spring

Tender, tasty chickweed

Tender, tasty chickweed

Two more edibles --field garlic and henbit

Two more edibles –field garlic and henbit

Wild strawberry leaves make a nutritious tea

Wild strawberry leaves make a nutritious tea

Edible suillus.  Before cooking, peel off the slimy cuticle to avoid digestive upset.  The white flesh is a decent edible.

Edible suillus. Before cooking, peel off the slimy cuticle to avoid digestive upset. The white flesh is a decent edible.

The pore surface of the suillus

The pore surface of the suillus

Just a pretty picture

Just a pretty picture