I Tweet About Many Things Bushcraft and More

So if you're not familiar with Twitter, you might want to be. To clarify the difference between blogs, search engines and social web services like Twitter:
  • Search engines like Google and Yahoo! collate and catalogue facts and information from a multitude of sites - news sites, blog sites, and other web sites.
  • Blogs present facts, information, feelings and ideas, images and more in lengthy posts. Blog posts reside on specific websites ('blogs') set up by users at specific domains, and are sometimes like diaries, or like subject-specific 'zines.
  • Twitter (and other social web services) allow users to post feelings and ideas in 140 character posts to Twitter.com and under your personal account URL (Twitter.com/mungobah for me). You can search for key words across all 140 character posts (or 'Tweets') that anyone posts. You can reply specifically to an individual (albeit in a public fashion) twitterer. You can search for tweets on specific topics and follow links that the twitterers show.
That being said - here is a nifty 'tag cloud' showing the main key tags I tweet about:



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Fall is Coming to the Park

Fall is coming to the park.

Though colours remain,

the last of the perennials are blooming.

Crabapples are glowing.

Canada geese are headed south.

A blurry hummingbird is having a snack - I wonder if they migrate south too.

The maple leaves are turning red on some of the trees.

Squirrels are active - hoarding acorns and any food they can find.

Blackeyed Susans remain tall.

Coneflowers are Echinecia.

James and me.

James and me.

A big ol' fungus sticking out of the ground.

A big ol' plane flying overhead.

Lines in the air.

An American Goldfinch eating the coneflower seeds.

They're flighty.

Bright colours before everything turns cool and brown.

Another big plane flying overhead.

I'm getting awfully artsy with these shots.

James like to concentrate on things.

He likes the grass.

And the leaves - I carry him past low hanging branches and he grabs for the leaves.

Cicadas have emerged from their carapaces and sung their last songs of the year.

They're still about, in a way.

At one point, a Spitfire flew overhead. Seriously. A Spitfire.

James concentrated on the ground.

The ground caused him to giggle.

He looked about.

He thought long and hard.

He is going to enjoy nature, I hope.



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Big HDR Panorama of the Park

I created a panoramic image of the park where I often sit with the baby and read on the weekends. This park leads into the forested valley about which I often post.

The view is really nice, but hard to capture in a regular photograph, so I decided to play around a little. I took 9 shots in total, and combined them into 1: I tone-mapped 3 sets of bracketed f-stops (+0.7, 0.0, -0.7) for each of the 3 perspectives used to create the panorama. I then cropped it to remove the wonky edges that the combining creates, and voilĂ ! 9 images combined into 1:

(Click on the image to see a large version)



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Harvesting Greater Plantain (Plantago major)

A few weeks ago, the City of Toronto workers were on strike. The weeds were growing very tall in the parks.

No-one was mowing them. I enjoyed watching this bounty appear.

One weed that has intrigued me since childhood when I would pull the stringy leaves apart in the playground is Greater Plantain (Plantago major).

With the plantain growing so tall and big, I decided to harvest some with the goal of having some edible nutlets to eat in pancakes or to cook up within a stew or simply roast up as biscuits.

You can eat the young leaves straight off of the plant, and use the older leaves as 'pot greens', i.e. boil them up a bit like spinach with salt and butter and eat them that way.

I collected big handfuls of both the Greater Plantain and of the Narrowleaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata), also known as English Plantain. I wanted the seeds or nutlets as they are also called.

Plantain leaves are also medicinal. I experienced this directly once recently after being bitten by a tiny little itsy-bitsy red ant. The bit felt like a burning nugget of phosphorus wedged in my leg (well, maybe not that bad), so I crushed up some plantain leaves to get the juice out, and rubbed it on the bite. The bite stopped hurting within 5 seconds and the pain vanished completely.

"All of the plantains contain a high level of tannin and the seeds have a high mucilage content. The astringent property of the leaves due to the tannin makes the leaves useful for all types of sores on the skin, cuts, bites and various inflammations. A tea brewed with the seeds is a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery and for bleeding in the mouth or other mucous membranes."

I gently roasted the seed heads in the oven, and then stripped the seeds off of the stalks. I gathered it all up and took out any remaining stalk pieces and tried to separate some of the seed from the chaff by tossing it and disposing of the empty seed heads.

The kitchen smelled indescribably wonderful - like baking bread, like sweet melons, and molasses... most unuasual, but nice.

I then poured it all into an empty Patak's curry jar, with high hopes of cooking something delicious.

I've not yet done anything with them, but I will...

and I will let you know what I do with them.



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Stinkhorn Mushroom

In my last post, I described an odd looking fungus that I'd come across:

"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."
The next day I went back to see if the fungus had grown at all. It had elongated, but the top and some of the shaft had been nibbled away by some evidently hungry creatures. It was swarming with ants too, apparently feeding on something from the mushroom.

I wondered what the enticing smell would be to draw the ants - something sweet and nectary?

I picked up some of the remaining cap and smelled.

The smell of rotting meat, of a dead mouse, of animal scat. And it was all over my fingers.

In a flash, I knew what this mushroom was - it was a Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus).
"The spore mass typically smells of carrion or dung, and attracts flies and other insects to help disperse the spores. Although there is a great diversity of body structure shape amongst the various genera, all species in the Phallaceae begin their development as oval or round structures known as eggs.

Species in the Phallaceae are gasteroid—having spores that are produced internally. Fruiting bodies originate as a gelatinous, spherical or egg-shaped structure that may be completely or partially buried underground. The peridium, the outer layer of the egg, is white, or purple/red, with 2 or 3 layers. The outer layer is thin, membranous and elastic, while the inner layer is thicker, gelatinous and continuous. At maturity the peridium opens up and remains as a volva at the base of the receptaculum."
Hmm. Stinky stinkhorn.



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