Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

Summertime for me is not the time of year I generally spend in the woods. The dense underbrush makes for poor sight lines, the bounty of the spring flowers is past, and there's usually about a bazillion mosquitoes in a cloud around my head. I prefer to be near or on the water this time of year. However, Lori and I were on a search for gooseberries, a yummy but particularly pokey fruit that requires great patience and very thick skin to harvest.

Sorry about the image quality--hand-holding a camera in the woods in the low, filtered light of summer is not recommended!

As we walked the trail we were both surprised at the number of flowering plants there were. There's not room to post them all, but here's a sampling:

Pointed-leaved tick-trefoil, a delicate flower in the pea/bean family

Poke milkweed. This one threw me, but I finally found it in Newcomb's wildflower guide (a great book if you're looking to actually identify plants rather than look at pretty pictures).

Michigan lily, a plant I'd never seen before, was growing very near a small swamp, set neatly within a whole bunch of nettles, which kept me in my short-pants from getting a very good closeup. Need to bring a longer lens next time!

Hazelnuts. When you're out walking, you have to really keep your eyes open and try to look for the unexpected. Lori spotted these and thought at first they were some kind of leaf gall, then realized upon closer examination that they are really nuts. I would probably have walked right by this little tree but it caught the attention of her ever-alert eye.

We made it out of the woods with about 1 1/2 cups of gooseberries and several dozen mosquito bites--they have quite the knack for finding that one spot that you missed with the bug spray. Lori made gooseberry/blueberry muffins, after rubbing all the pokey bits off, of course. And you know, I just realized I haven't even eaten one yet!

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