Roses and Red Foxes: Wildlife in Howard County

Wildlife spottings all around Howard County:

Hawk, heron, groundhog, and rabbit spottings are in abundance now. Deer and chipmunk spottings are increasing.

Dayton, MD:

I saw a red fox at my grandpa’s house.

Centennial Lake:

Lots of rabbits, a deer, a groundhog, a great blue heron, and a chipmunk were spotted on Monday the 10th. I also saw a baby turtle but it swam into a murky spot before I could get a picture.

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WILD FLOWER SPOTTINGS:

Centennial Lake
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Roses: Pics From Grandpa’s House

The following are plants from my grandpa’s house from mid May.

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His azaleas were past their peak, but still not too bad looking.

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I missed the peak days for his poppies too but he had one or two still hanging in there strong

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Looks at these beauties! Are they big and beautiful! They were growing on the stump of a tree my grandpa chopped down.

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I don’t know what kind of flower this is but it’s a sweet little thing. My grandpa cut most of them down unfortunately.

Roses: Backyard Wild Flowers – Year Two

Last year I planted wildflower seeds in my backyard, my first contribution to the “garden”. Stalks sprouted but that was the extent of growth last year. THIS year however has grown much better results. The following pictures are from the last few weeks as that part of the backyard has progressed. Some of the pictures are through the kitchen window because for a little while we had a mud wasp nest next to where the window opened up. Todays picture is from the other side of the window because I didn’t think to take it while I planted ANOTHER section of wildflowers and I was just too hot to feel like going back out again. lol.

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First signs we noticed of wildflowers coming up. Just one white one and a half white, half pink one.

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The next time we looked there were four bunches of flowers: two white, one half white and half pink, and one all pink

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Close up looks of the flowers

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Todays photo with two bunches of pink flowers, two of white, and still only one of the half pink half white ones.

Favorite Local Places: Appalachian Trail Section #3 – Wolfsville Rd to Route 40

On January 12th, I started my attempt to hike the all the Maryland Appalachian Trail Hikes (offered through Howard County Recreation and Parks). The first one offered was Section #3. February 9th is Section #2 and in March will be #1. There are 7 sections I think. Either way, by the end of the year, I hope to finish them all. If I do, in a three year time span, I earn a patch. I earn a 100 mile patch if I accumalate another 60 odd miles on Virginia and Pennsylvania trail sections offered through Howard County Recreations and Parks. I hope to get both, though that won’t be easy if I transfer where I’m planning to transfer (as of last fall – UNLV). It was (is) January so the landscape was drawn in browns, whites, and the pale blue of the sky. It was also incredibly misty/foggy so when we reached a summit to look out over, the distant line of mountains was nearly invisible as was almost half the view. The mountains in the distance, when you could any of it, was merely a dark blue line tracing the horizon, weaving in and out of fog. I highly suggest hiking the section though I’m sure it looks much prettier in the spring, summer, or fall. It’s 8.4 miles and begins with a steep hike up, which was a bit dangerous when I went with the snow on the ground, hiding rocks everywhere. It’s moderately difficult terrain and I suffered some foot injuries so make sure to tie your boots tie, expect stumbling on some rocks if you want to look away from the ground, and don’t go if you can’t or don’t think you’re ready for an 8.4 mile hike. It was tough, even for the four youngest people there (I am included). Most were 40 and above with some late 20 and 30 year olds there. I fell back on the second half or so till I was the last while the 3 other youngest ones were at the front. Like I said, I was at the back and I’m 21, turning 22 on the 29th. Age means little, it’s your health and fitness that make a difference. When I jogged at Centennial Lake, I always got lapped by joggers and runners older than me, some surely into their 60’s and 70’s.

I hope you look check into going on these trail sections. We go in groups and you drive to the park n ride in Long Gate (Ellicott City) where we take a van the rest of the way to the starting point. It’s $17 to $20 and you do have to bring your own snacks and lunch. They start in the morning (8am) and end in the middle of the afternoon (4pm or later depending on traffic and other complications of the sort). Plus, we stop for ice cream at Baskin Robbins on the way back. 🙂

Unfortunately, my pictures are a bit worse than usual. I wasn’t thinking about how hard I had sweat and that it was getting on the camera lens and I had forgot to extra clean the lens before embarking leaving the house. Sorry.

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Roses: Squash Plant Clippings

So, there is thing garden plot outside my front door that used to be maintained by a woman a few doors down. She planted flowers and other plants (not vegetables or food plants) in there for years, ever since I can remember. It was last year or the year before that the people who run the neighborhood had the people who cut the grass and other stuff dig everything up out of the garden plot and dig up the plants in some people’s yards. We don’t know and there really isn’t any reasonable explanation for why they did it. They put in a few common and cheap flowers in there but mostly mulch.

This year though, this vine like plant with huge leaves came up (early in the spring). It grew fast and soon we noticed these orange flowers after awhile. My mom called them squash blossoms and sure enough, somehow, it was a squash plant. No one in the neighborhood grew it, heck, you’d be lucky if half the people in my neighborhood recognized a zucchini if they saw one. It grew and grew and grew and at one point, the mailman was scared of it, having the idea that maybe one day when he went to put the mail in the mailbox that it would grab him, pull him into the thickest part, and eat him. We kept seeing flowers, but no squash. No bees on the flowers either. One day, my mom had the idea to fertilize the flowers with each other so my dad brought a couple of the flowers together, shaking the pollen into each other. Voila, not a whole lot later, maybe a couple weeks, we noticed that squashes had started to grow! So, I decided to snap a few pieces of the vine and me and my dad put them in containers of water so they would sprout and we could have our own squash plant. My parents think it’s pumpkin but I’m going more for acorn squash. Anyway, it must have been a bird that started this all (having eaten a seed and pooped it or dropped it in the garden plot). My aunt says a tomato plant mysteriously started growing one year in her backyard thinking it was most likely a bird too. Yay for birds!

Food: The Power of Purple

It’s a scientifically-proven fact that the darker the food, the higher the antioxidant level. Antioxidants are to the body, the way rust-proof works on a car – they have the ability to mop up free radicals and keep you looking younger, longer. Thus, dark foods with a purple pigment, such as purple onions, concord grapes, purple cabbage, black mission figs, prunes and blackberries, are known for having amazing healing powers.

The purple pigment in all of these fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, including resveratrol, which can help decrease blood pressure. Resveratrol helps relax the arterial walls, decreases the pressure in the arteries and allows better circulation. Produce with purple hues contain a variety of polyphenols that can reduce the inflammatory response in the body. In my book Meals That Heal Inflammation, I outline how inflammation is at the root of all major diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and immune dysfunction.

Let’s take a deeper look into these dark nutritional superheroes. Here are five reasons to eat more purple foods:

1. Purple foods kill cancer
The resveratrol found in purple grapes, cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, and, of course, red wine and grape juice can inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer in animal studies. Other promising studies also show that resveratrol can induce cancer cell death in cases of prostate, breast, skin, liver, lung and blood cancers. The curcumin in turmeric seems to boost its anti-cancer activity so have a glass of pinot noir (the type of wine highest in resveratrol) next time you have curry.

2. Purple foods are ulcer-fighters
A 2011 study found that anthocyanins from blackberries reduced stomach ulcer formation in rats. Researchers believe this is because the antioxidants in blackberries prevent oxidation and boost the activity of other important antioxidants, such as glutathione, that are naturally present in the body.

3. Purple foods are good for your liver
Black rice, which has more anthocyanins per gram than blueberries, is a delicious antioxidant grain that has been found to reduce damage to the liver incurred by excessive alcohol intake.

4. Purple foods are good for the heart
Black currants can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 13 percent while raising “good” HDL cholesterol. Black currants and bilberries have more anthocyanins than blueberries. Wild raw berries have higher antioxidant content than fresh raw berries or frozen varieties.

5. Purple foods prevent urinary tract infections
Vegetables such as purple cauliflower, purple carrots and purple cabbage contain the same plant pigment, anthocyanin, that is responsible for the UTI-fighting power of cranberries. Lab studies show that anthocyanin compounds fight H. pylori, the bacteria that promotes stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.

Source: http://www.chatelaine.com/en/article/36218–five-health-benefits-of-purple-foods

^ found this site through Natural Living Forum on Facebook

Picture Source: http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/805508/the-nutritional-power-of-purple-foods

^ funny, I didn’t know I was getting the image from an article on the exact same thing until I went to get the URL for sourcing it.

DIY: Natural Dyes

I found this on the internet while searching for natural dyes to dye yarn. For my upcoming ritual I want rope and yarn made of 100% natural product but I haven’t found it in the colors I like so I decided to dye the ones I could find.Hope this helps!

THE FOLLOWING IS COPY AND PASTED FROM PIONEER THINKING. HERE IS THE WEB ADDRESS: http://www.pioneerthinking.com/crafts/crafts-basics/naturaldyes.html

“Gathering plant material for dyeing: Blossoms should be in full bloom, berries ripe and nuts mature. Remember, never gather more than 2/3 of a stand of anything in the wild when gathering plant stuff for dying.

To make the dye solution: Chop plant material into small pieces and place in a pot. Double the amount of water to plant material. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Strain. Now you can add your fabric to be dyed. For a stronger shade, allow material to soak in the dye overnight.

Getting the fabric ready for the dye bath: You will have to soak the fabric in a color fixative before the dye process. This will make the color set in the fabric.

Color Fixatives:

Salt Fixative (for berry dyes) 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups cold water

Plant Fixatives (for plant dyes) 4 parts cold water to 1 part vinegar

Add fabric to the fixative and simmer for an hour. Rinse the material and squeeze out excess. Rinse in cool water until water runs clear.

Dye Bath: Place wet fabric in dye bath. Simmer together until desired color is obtained. The color of the fabric will be lighter when its dry. Also note that all dyed fabric should be laundered in cold water and separately.

Muslin, silk, cotton and wool work best for natural dyes and the lighter the fabric in color, the better. White or pastel colors work the best.

NOTE: It’s best to use an old large pot as your dye vessel. Wear rubber gloves to handle the fabric that has been dyed, the dye can stain your hands. It’s also important to note, some plant dyes may be toxic, check with the Poison Control Center if unsure.

 A Listing Of Plant Material Available For Dyes

Shades Of Orange

Shades Of  Brown
Alder Bark – (orange)

Bloodroot will give a good orange to reddish orange color.

Sassafras (leaves)

Onion (skin) orange

Lichen (gold)

– Carrot – (roots) orange

– Lilac (twigs) – yellow/orange

Barberry (mahonia sp.) yellow orange (with alum) very strong & permanent. Any part of the plant will work.

Giant Coreopsis (Coreopsis gigantea) Yields bright permanent orange with alum.

Turmeric dyed cloth will turn orange or red if it is dipped in lye.

Pomagrante – with alum anywhere from orange to khaki green.

– Butternut – (seed husks) – orange

Eucaluptus – (leaves and bark) beautiful shades of tan, orange and brown.

Wild plum root will give a reddish or rusty brown.

Oak bark will give a tan or oak color.

Sumac (leaves) – tan

– Dandelion (roots) brown

– Broom –(bark) – yellow/brown

Walnut (hulls) – deep brown (wear gloves)

Walnut (husks) – deep brown – black

Tea Bags – light brown, tan

– White Birch – (inner bark) – brown

Juniper Berries

– Fennel – (flowers, leaves) – yellow/brown

Coffee Grinds

Acorns (boiled)

– Hollyhock (petals)

Colorado Fir – (bark) – tan

Yellow dock (shades of brown)

Beetroot -Dark Brown With FeSO4

– Maple Trees (Red Leaf Buds) – red-brown color when dried. Found on branches before new leaves appear only present during early spring and throughout fall.

– Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala) – black, blue, brown from dried leaves.

– Ivy –(twigs) – yellow/brown

Pine Tree Bark – light medium brown. Needs no mordant.

White Maple (bark) – Light brown/ buff – Alum to set

– Birch (bark) – Light brown/ buff – Alum to set

St John’s Wort (blossom) – brown

Broom Sedge – golden yellow and brown

Coneflower (flowers) – brownish green ; leaves and stems – gold

Goldenrod (shoots ) – deep brown

Shades Of Pink
Strawberries

Cherries

Raspberries (red)

Roses and Lavender, with a little mint and some lemon juice to activate the alkaloids can make both a brilliant pink dye and a very tasty pink lemonade.

Lichens – A pink, brown, or wine colored dye can be produced from a lichen known as British soldiers.

– Camilla –It’s a nice pink-magenta. With lemon and salt.

– Grand Fir -(bark) pink

Shades Of Blue – Purple Shades Of  Red
Dogwood (bark) – blue

Red cabbage

Woad(first year leaves). Woad gives a pale to mid blue colour depending on the type of fabric and the amount of woad used.

Mulberries (royal purple)

Elderberries (lavender)

– Saffron –(petals) blue/green

Grapes (purple)

Blueberries

– Cornflower – (petals) blue dye with alum, water

Cherry (roots)

Blackberry (fruit) strong purple

– Hyacinth – (flowers) – blue

Japanese indigo (deep blue)

Indigo (leaves) – blue

Red Cedar Root (purple)

– Raspberry –(fruit) purple/blue

Red Maple Tree (purple)(inner bark)

– Nearly Black Iris – (dark bluish purple) alum mordant

– Dogwood – (fruit) greenish-blue

– Oregon Grape –(fruit) blue/purple

Purple Iris – blue

Sweetgum (bark) – purple / black

– Queen Anne’s Lace –

Elderberry – red

Red leaves will give a reddish brown color I use salt to set the dye.

Sumac (fruit) – light red

Sycamore (bark)- red

Dandelion (root)

Beets – deep red

Bamboo – turkey red

– Crab Apple – (bark) – red/yellow

Rose (hips)

Chokecherries

Madder (root) – red

Hibiscus Flowers (dried)

Kool-aid

– Canadian Hemlock – (bark) reddish brown

– Japanese Yew – (heartwood) – brown dye

Wild ripe Blackberries

– Brazilwood

– St. John’s Wort– (whole plant) soaked in alcohol – red

Bedstraw (root) – red

 

 

 

Shades Of Gray – Black Shades Of Red – Purple
 Iris (roots)

Sumac (leaves) (Black)

Carob pod (boiled) will give a gray to cotton

Oak galls – makes a good black dye.

Sawthorn Oak – (seed cups) – black

Walnut (hull) – black

Rusty nails & vinegar – set with Alum.

Pokeweed (berries)

Hibiscus (flowers, dark red or purple ones) – red-purple.

Daylilies (old blooms)

– Safflower– (flowers, soaked in alcohol) – red

Logwood (is a good purple but you have to watch it as it dyes quick when the pot is fresh. Also it exhausts fast. We use alum to mordant and using iron can give you logwood gray.)

Huckleberry – lavender (can use it for dye and also for ink.)

Portulaca – (flowers, dried and crushed to a powder) use with a vinegar orsalt mordant, can produce strong magentas, reds, scarlets, oranges and
yellows (depending upon the color of the flower)

Beluga Black Lentils – soaked in water overnight .. yield a dark purplish / black water. The color is washfast and lightfast and needs NO MORDANT and it lasts – a beautiful milk chocolate brown (when super thick) … to a lighter medium brown or light brown when watered down.

Dark Hollyhock (petals) – mauve

Basil – purplish grey

Shades Of Green Shades Of Peach/Salmon
Artemisia species provide a range of greens from baby’s breath to nettle green.

– Artichokes

– Tea Tree– (flowers) green/black

Spinach (leaves)

– Sorrel (roots) – dark green

– Foxglove – (flowers) apple green

– Lilac –(flowers) – green

– Camellia –(pink, red petals) – green

– Snapdragon – (flowers) – green

Black-Eyed Susans

Grass (yellow green)

– Pigsweed (entire plant) yellow green

– Red Pine (needles) green

Nettle

– Broom– (stem) green

– Larkspur – green – alum

Plantain Roots

– White Ash – (bark) – yellow

– Purple Milkweed –(flowers & leaves) – green

Lily-of-the-valley (light green) be careful what you do with the spent dye bath. The plant is toxic so try to avoid pouring it down the drain into the water supply.

Barberry root (wool was dyed a greenish bronze-gold)

Red onion (skin) (a medium green, lighter than
forest green)

– Yarrow –(flowers) yellow & green shades

– Mulga Acacia –(seed pods) – green

– Peach – (leaves) yellow/green

– Coneflower (flowers) – green

Peppermint – dark kakhi green color

Queen Anne’s Lace – pale green

Black-Eyed Susans – bright olive/apple green

Hydrangea (flowers) – alum mordant, added some copper and it came out a beautiful celery green

Chamomile (leaves) – green

Jewelweed – orange/peach

Broom Flower

Virginia Creeper (all parts); alum mordant; Peach.

Achiote powder (annatto seed

Plum tree (roots) (salmon color on wool with alum)

Weeping Willow (wood & bark) makes a peachy brown (the tannin
acts as a mordant)

– Virgina Creeper – (fruit) – pink

Balm (blossom) – rose pink

 

Shades Of Yellow/Wheat

Bay leaves – yellow

Barberry (bark) – yellow

Crocus – yellow

Fustic – yellow

Saffron (stigmas) – yellow – set with Alum.

Safflower (flowers, soaked in water) – yellow

Sassafras (bark)- yellow

– Syrian Rue (glows under black light)

Red Clover (whole blossom, leaves and stem) alum mordant – gold

Yellow cone flower (whole flower head); chrome mordant; Brass to Greeney-Brass.

– Onion (skins) – set with Alum.

– Alfalfa (seeds) – yellow

Marigold (blossoms) – yellow

Willow (leaves)

Queen Anne’s Lace

– Heather– (plant) – yellow

St. John’s Wort – (flowers & leaves) – gold/yellow

Burdock

Celery (leaves)

Golden Rod (flowers)

Sumac (bark) – The inner pith of Sumac branches can produce a super bright yellow color.

Weld (bright yellow)

Old man’s beard lichen – yellow/brown/orange shades

Oregon-grape roots – yellow

Cameleon plant (golden)

– Mimosa– (flowers) yellow

Dandelion flower

Osage Orange also known as Bois d’arc or hedgeapple (heartwood, inner bark, wood, shavings or sawdust) (pale yellow)

Daffodil flower heads (after they have died); alum mordant

Mullen (leaf and root) pale yellow. *careful, because the little fuzzy hairs can make one itchy!

Hickory leaves (yellow) if plenty of leaves are boiled and salt added.

Tea ( ecru color)

Yellow, Curly, Bitter, or Butter Dock (despite various leaf shapes, all have a bright yellow taproot) gives you a yellow/flesh color.

White mulberry tree (bark) Cream color onto white or off-white wool. Alum mordant.

Paprika -pale yellow – light orange)

Peach (leaves) – yellow

Beetroot (yellow) (alum & K2Cr2O7)

Turmeric (spice) –bright yellow

Oxallis (wood sorrels) (flowers) – the one with the yellow flowers. Use the flower heads, some stem ok. It is nearly fluorescent yellow, and quite colorfast on alum mordanted wool.

If the oxalis flowers are fermented or if a small dash of cloudy ammonia is added to the dyebath (made alkaline) the fluorescent yellow becomes fluorescent orange. Usually I do this as an after-bath, once I have the initial colour. Useful for shifting the dye shade, and some good surprises in store!

Dahlia Flowers (Red, yellow, orange flowers) make a lovely yellow to orange dye for wool.

Mulga Acacia -(flowers) – yellow

– Sunflowers – (flowers) – yellow

Dyer’s Greenwood (shoots) – yellow

Tansy (tops) – yellow

Yarrow – yellow and gold

Just to remind, the source for this information is: http://www.pioneerthinking.com/crafts/crafts-basics/naturaldyes.html