Thursday, December 28, 2006

No Snow

I made it outside for about 30 minutes today. We still have no snow but I do have a nasty virus. 'nuff said.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December Sunrise

We had about five minutes of sunshine just as the sun came over the horizon this morning. This young walnut tree caught some of the first light.

I have been wanting to capture the beauty of the Wild Raspberry canes all fall. This is my best so far and still I am not quite satisfied as they are so striking to the eye everytime one passes by.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December Flowers cont.

I still found about a dozen species in bloom this weekend in the Hamilton/Burlington area. Here is a photo of the Purple Dead Nettle.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holiday Question about False Mermaids

Just in case you holiday time was in jeopardy because you did not know where False Mermaids go when they die, I am coming to the rescue. OK, maybe it was not the first question you had in your head this morning; however, I still have an answer. Almost all of them dry up, fall down, decompose, and turn back into soil like most of us will, one way or another. However; some go on a different journey. Some False Mermaids . . . oh, just in case you don't know any False Mermaids, they are small, wild plants with the Latin name Floerkea proserpinacoides. Any way, some False Mermaid are collected from the field and put into a drying press, usually along with various other plants. The plants will stay in the press until they are quite dry and then be put onto acid free paper with a label and glue carefully applied. Back into another press they go until the glue dries. When they come out of that press, they stop by a computer to have their name and address, etc. put into a data base and finally they will come to me, if they happen to go through this process at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington/Hamilton, Ontario. I add a number to the label from an organizational book that has numbers for almost every plant genus. That number determines where in the files the plants will go.

The RBG (Royal Botanical Gardens) has 33 large file cabinets with about 80 000 plant files so one has to take some care in placing the False Mermaid in the correct place so it can be found again.

The files are colour coded. There is a colour for RBG property plants, for Hamilton/Burlington plants not on RBG property, for Ontario plants not in Hamilton/Burlington, for wild plants in other parts of the world, for garden plants planted at the RBG, and for garden plants planted in other gardens around the world.

Of the 80 000 specimens that are at the RBG Herbarium, some are more than 200 years old and some were put on the shelves yesterday. Some are special plants that were first found and identified at the herbarium. Some are duplicates that are destined to move to other herbariums. Most stay in their files for study by students and others concerned with plant identification, changes in plants, and changes in plant populations in various environments

It has been my privilege, since retiring as an elementary school teacher, to volunteer one half day a week for the last several years in this herbarium where I have learned much more than I ever knew about plants and been of some help to the herbarium and RBG in the process.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday Walk

I took photos for a Flickr project this morning on the dog walk. The first item to catch my attention were backlit Goldenrod leaves.

Just a few metres on down the trail, I found this Wild Cucumber pod hanging from a tree.

Then, looking out over the field, I saw the sun catching the seeds of old Aster plants. A telephoto with wide f-stop shot made the surroundings blurry but beautiful.

Blogger pushed me into using its Beta version. We'll see if that was a mistake in a few minutes.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Snowy December Flowers

It was snowing today and COLD for a difference. (OK, it was only -5 C with a wind chill of -12 but it felt cold.) In spite of the snow and cold, the Common Chickweed was blooming.

The Common Tansy was still hanging on.

But I was having difficulty by the time I got to this rose. My fingers and thumbs were going numb with cold and the wind was blowing so this rosebud does not look very sharp but I wanted to show it anyway as this rose still want to bloom if it gets some sun and warmer weather.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

First Snow Cover

Finally, on December 5,we had our first snow cover. It was not much and it's gone today, December 6, but at least we know that winter is on its way. Below is the first sunrise over snow.

The sun caught some colour on the Fir trees just outside our library room window.

From the barn, the frost on the window makes neat patterns.