Sunday, May 8, 2011

a 5K, two new flowers, and a spider

First up: the incredible athletic prowess around here. Yesterday, we ran in a 5K fundraiser benefitting the non-profit that Best Beloved is the executive director of  executively directs. (Apparently I’ll do anything to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition.)
3rd baby
Third, baby. I came in third in my age group, tenth overall. Actually, I did the same thing two years ago, she said modestly. Well, I was third in my age group then, but 23rd overall – this year was much faster.
But that’s nothing. Guess who came in first in his age group? Sweetpea. He won a prize, and I made him give it to me. A sweet CamelBak hydration system water bottle. C’mon! It was hot pink! That’s clearly mine!
I’m just awful to him.
We had a good time at the race. It was a gorgeous day – just enough clouds to make it interesting, and the apple blossoms are just about to open.
A lot of people worked hard to put it together, and there was a great turnout. The T-shirts are cool, too. Lime green! Love it.  We had fun hanging out at our table o’ brochures. Well, I was naughty and played in the adjacent woods a lot.
There wasn’t a whole lot going on wildflower-wise, but there was this:
shagbark hickory!
On the forest floor, squat-all for flowers, except for what I’m currently thinking is Solomon’s Seal.
CHECK OUT THAT SPIDER! I didn’t see it until I got the shot up on the computer.
…and I learned that baby pinecones look like raspberries.
And now for today’s report. Strap in, it’s a long one.
A violet. There’s that bearded thing going on…
One of these red ferns I’ve been seeing around…
Canada mayflower. (Maianthemum canadense). A queen on her throne.
Bluets! (Houstonia caerulea). It was hard to get a shot that doesn’t include Maggie’s paw, stepping on them.
Foreground: the informant. Background: the lookout. I’m not just making this stuff up, am I?

Back to another batch of bluets. Doesn’t this look like it’s floating in space?
yeah, ditto.
Here’s a flower ID project. I use Newcomb’s Guide. (Got it cheap years ago in grad school; for some reason this edition costs – on Amazon – a ton. Maybe something better’s come along, but some folks are still hanging on to this one. Who knows.) There’s a simple methodology for looking at a flower to figure out what it is.
1. how many petals?
how are the flowers arranged? on a single stalk, arranged in terminal cluster
what about the leaves? two of them – opposite one another – each of them subdivided into three leaflets, each of which is toothed.
we have white toothwort.
You may recall we’ve been waiting for beech buds to open. We’re using our patented time-lapse technique to show the process in slow motion. (Um, the technique is where you just look for a bunch of different buds, occasionally on different trees, at different stages in the process. I tell you, I am made of magic.)
The end sets of bud scales finally can’t hold it in any longer…
A pair of leaves make their escape.
The rest of the scales give up any hope of stopping the explosion.
ta-dah! whew.
Can it be? another flower ID project?
Wow. Um. Never seen that before, up close. Thank you, macro lens! Tiny, bell-shaped? Five petals, each a trippy snowflake.
arranged along a stalk…
two leaves, partway up, opposite, each toothy.
ladies and gentlemen, we have miterwort (Mitella dyphilla).
Another violet. This picture is upside-down, since I held the camera upside down to get it (we’re pretty low to the ground here). I love the blurriness of it. usually blurriness bugs me, but I think this one’s cool. I know it’s just blurry, but I like to think my camera’s capable of capturing auras. Wouldn’t that be something?
happy mother’s day!

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