Last Day of Vacation - Morning in the Park

It is almost the last day of my vacation... the little guy and I have gone for a walk and ended up in the park.

I believe that this is Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).

This yellow-jacket wasp is having some nectar.

James is sleeping after we drove all over the park investigating trees and plants.

The clouds are looking mighty interesting.

The willow tree is awfully high - high enough to reach the clouds.

Interesting clouds.

Someone left their bike on the hill.

This yellow flower is bright.

This fungus is one I don't recognize.

I have opened the casing somewhat and there is a gooey material surrounding it. I am leaving it alone. I am afraid it might attack me.

Last night's rain has made many of the fruiting bodies somewhat mushy.

Little mushrooms.

Little edible looking mushrooms.

I could nibble these.

This Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris) is growing low in the grass.

Wikipedia says the following:
"Heal-all is both edible and medicinal. It can be used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb. It has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, and for just about every ailment, Heal-All is something of a panacea, it does seem to have some medicinal uses that are constant. The plant's most useful constituents are betulinic acid, D-camphor, delphinidin, hyperoside, manganese, oleanolic acid, rosmarinic acid, rutin, ursolic acid, and tannins. The whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart. Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies."
Sounds a bit too good to be true. But I'm chewing on a few flower heads right now.

This is a Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae).

I've read that these - along with other fuzzy types of caterpillars - have poisonous spines. Antihistiminic drugs (like Benadryl) etc... don't work. The spines get under your skin and can create breathing problems, and major irritation on the sting site. It is best to leave these things alone when you see them.

This is a baby named James.

His eyes are changing from bright blue to a grey/brown/hazel colour.

His eyes can smile.



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Sunday Morning Walk

It is early on Sunday morning, and we're out for a walk in the cool air. James is flanked by his cuddle toys, and I'm working up a sweat pushing the stroller quickly along the road. I'm headed to buy a coffee at the Tim Hortons in the gas station at the corner of the main road.

I'm in the gas station, paying for the coffee and for a donut. I turn to the man and say '1 large coffee, 1 donut, and 1 medium-sized baby.' He is charging me for the coffee only, and winks at me, saying the donut is a gift for the baby.

Happy, I stroll along the roads back on my way into the park. A loud float plane is buzzing over head. It is on its way to float somewhere. I wish I was in it, with my camping gear and a fishing rod.

From the corner of my eye, I spy an Annual Cicada (Tibicen linnei) sitting in a cold corner of the sidewalk. I put it on a stick and take a few photos, before returning it to a more shelter and safe place. Birds like to eat cicadas.

They sit patiently underground for 13 years, and emerge to moult from their carapaces. They fly about a little, mate and then become a meal for something larger.

Their honey-coloured menacing carapaces remain affixed to bark.

A slit down the back tells us that something emerged earlier.

An American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) sits at the top of a spruce tree in the park (thanks Saxaphonium).

Whistling, tweeting, this American Goldfinch is small and pretty.

James can't see it from his stroller, but is furiously giggling at me because I'm making funny faces.

I am good at making funny faces.

A dog is running around and people are beginning to enter the park. It is time to go home and feed James a little before heading out again for another stroll. I'll have a read of my book too: Call of the Wild: My Escape to Alaska by Guy Grieves:
"Trapped in a job he hated and up to his neck in debt, Guy Grieve's life was going nowhere. But, with a stroke of luck, his dream of escaping it all to live in remote Alaska suddenly came true. Miles from the nearest human being and armed with only the most basic equipment, Guy built a log cabin from scratch and began carving a life for himself through fishing, hunting, and diligently avoiding bears. Packed with adventure, humor, and insight, this is the gripping story of an ordinary man learning the ways of the wild."


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Common chicory (Cichorium intybus)

While wandering the park the other morning, I came across some Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).

I also came across this fellow, who it turns out is Jamie, my little boy. He was in his stroller.

As I sat down on the ground to take some photographs of plants, an 8 week old Boston Terrier appeared from nowhere, her leash dragging behind her, and jumped onto my lap. She gave me a lick hello and then lay down for a sleep. A minute or two later, her exasperated owner appeared. James was very interested in this puppy.

This was all before the park was mowed. So the Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus) was still abundant.

The roots can be baked and ground to be used as a coffee substitute or additive - this is done around the world.

Some beer makers even add this to their stout beers.

Here are the tap-roots. They taste sweet, when raw. I've never roasted them up, but might give it a try sometime.

The Clover (Trifolium) is edible - the flowers and seed-heads. When the flowers turn brown though, they become bitter (so I have found).

Clover is a legume - a plant that performs valuable nitrogen fixation.
"They contain symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobia within nodules in their root systems, producing nitrogen compounds that help the plant to grow and compete with other plants. When the plant dies, the fixed nitrogen is released, making it available to other plants and this helps to fertilize the soil."
Pull up a clover by its roots and you'll see little root nodules. Each of these contain the Rhizobia bacteria colonies. Neato.

Hope you've had a good day!


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Photos from a Walk in the Neighbourhood

Early on Sunday mornings is a great time to have a walk about the neighbourhood. Few people are about, except for the nice family who runs the gas station on the corner - they sell coffee and doughnuts.

I pick up a coffee and a doughnut and head through the side streets.

It's been a wet night, and the flowers and grass are covered with water drops.

Baby's eyes are open and we are walking around the neighbourhood watching birds and squirrels and seeing how people landscape their front lawns and tend their gardens in hope that good ideas are retained after the walk.

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