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Author Topic: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta  (Read 11668 times)

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2020, 05:18:27 PM »
This begins a set  from a walk on the farm on August 30-- the kind of walk where you don't go all that fast, spending a lot of time looking around, soaking in the wonders-- from a late flower to a bold dragonfly to fattening birds to clouds of dancing insects.. Naturally I took piles of photos, and later wrote a poem ;)
more images as usual on the blog, IG and Twitter (soon)-- I try to use different photos for each platform, and even a bit of a different tone with the editing.... here there will be more focus on the plants etc than just on the 'feeling' ;)
1-just outside the acreage, the breeze rustling the aspens tucked among the spruce, there is a not yet posted video..



2- Crossing one of the wetter sections-- in peak times the water flows (barely perceptibly) through here, so there is a bit of a stretch like a peaty stream bed (no standing water now, but still soggy and I had to choose my footing)..

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3- Perhaps a sign of a wetter than usual year, I have rarely if ever seen snails in this spot (more so around areas that always have standing water); this person was very tiny, accompanied by an even tinier fly, which I did not even see until I enlarged the image on the computer.

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4-Here's something I've never seen before-- out of season Caltha palustris flowering!  The plants are very numerous and widespread here, but this time of year I expect to see only large, fading plants.. I saw several small fresh plants in this spot-- not sure if they were all seedlings or re-sprouts? In any case, I guess they liked the wet summer too.

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cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2020, 05:34:54 PM »
Oops-- forgot the poem, here it is --

A Slow Walk Into Magick

I took a slow walk,
out of the yard,
through the trees
that border the acreage,
into the woods
on the farm beyond,
picking my way slowly
across wet peat,
through grass tall or grazed low,
wandering between trees,
down cut lines
across clearings...
looking, watching and listening
to all the beings busy with life
hurrying to finish the season
while Saule still warms.
Forest and meadow were full
with ancient life-magicks
everywhere, not quite hidden.

In a silent glade,
Faeries danced courtly in a Sunbeam,
masked as Crane Flies,
daring a stray human to join the dance,
while Trees watched, laughing softly.
I tipped my head and walked on, slowly.
Not far away an old field hosted
the witches of Bird Goddess:
a Coven of Robins,
casting spells with ears cocked to Earth,
fattening for journeys to come and
wary of intruding eyes.
Farther back, at the far edge of the field, warier still,
a Congregation of Magpies slipped away,
their mystic conversations no business
of passing wanderers.
Unseen, Ravens called, speaking to farflung cohorts
 in the ancient tongue of the Goddess.

I walked on, admiring the confidence of late flowers,
the industry of insects,
passing through deep pockets of shade
realm of Earth Mother Mara and
soaking in Saule's warmth in
the meadows where she still holds sway.

I returned home content to have
brushed against the hem of their Mysteries,
feeling their ancient magick
humming in the dark warmth of my blood,
flickering golden at the edge of vision,
feeding my soul the rich energy that
flows from the play of Dark and Light.

Now, there is work to do in the yard,
 as Autumn is coming.

Back to photos!
1,2- Still crossing that wet area, a less common thing than the Caltha, but not rare around wet places-- I haven't sorted out names for these tiny Ranunculus species, we may have several. This is also something I wouldn't expect to see flowering at summer's end, but I'm less familiar with their habits. Two crappy shots :(

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3- Parts of the wetland have been cleared ( a few years ago, now) to reduce the woodies that overgrow it and open up for grazing. There are only cattle in here over the summer, these days, and not in huge number, so their favourite areas are grazed low, much else is just passed through lightly. These cleared areas allow wetland species that like more sun to flourish, but also allow for weeds and grasses (presumably a mix of native and non).

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4,5- Non-native Sonchus-- we have a couple of species, I think annual and perennial, they aren't too often really problematic, and don't generally form exclusive stands-- certainly this one was not doing too much to compete with natives, so I have a bit of a soft spot for them...

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cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #47 on: September 13, 2020, 05:43:19 PM »
1- We have a lot of Ribes around here, and I won't swear I have them pegged right (esp the small leaf gooseberry types, haven't got those sorted at all!) but I think this is R triste, which has longish clusters of pinky-green flowers early in spring, then long clusters of bright red tasty tart berries later, and lovely leaves, and times confusable with Viburnum edule.

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2- It's been a big year for Dragonflies, but less so as far as I have noticed, for Damselflies... this is not one of the fancy blues, but still lovely, I think it is Lestes congener, one of the Spreadwing Damselflies.

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3,4,5 -Parnassia palustris flowers in wettish areas in late summer; at first I wasn't finding any in an area I used to see lots, and thought that maybe changing grazing/weed patterns had ousted them ( also thought I might be late, but wasn't finding them in seed either) but eventually I still found some that had avoided being overgrown/trampled/eaten (if they are) in various stages-- note differences in the centre suggesting some fertilised and well on the way to seed, others fresher.

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ashley

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #48 on: September 13, 2020, 05:49:57 PM »
Your photos are very evocative Cohan, especially the tree tops & sky 8)
The boggy area looks interesting.  Is it permanently wet & what sedges or other plants grow there besides the lovely Caltha?
Ashley Allshire, Cork, Ireland

Hoy

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #49 on: September 13, 2020, 07:17:25 PM »
Trond-- I suppose I can guess at those sorts of gardens that are not good for insects or even cats :( frilly large-flowered hybrids with few sexy parts? maybe some green shrubs?....


Not a bad guess, Cohan.

It is a couple gardens like that. One is so "nice" that it could be made of plastic. But most are just lawn and a few odd plants.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Hoy

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #50 on: September 13, 2020, 07:31:12 PM »

.............

4,5- Non-native Sonchus-- we have a couple of species, I think annual and perennial, they aren't too often really problematic, and don't generally form exclusive stands-- certainly this one was not doing too much to compete with natives, so I have a bit of a soft spot for them...



Looks a little like S. arvensis. Then it can cover a few sq. m in no time but the flowers are nice! It is not long lived though.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2020, 06:38:53 AM »
Your photos are very evocative Cohan, especially the tree tops & sky 8)
The boggy area looks interesting.  Is it permanently wet & what sedges or other plants grow there besides the lovely Caltha?

Thanks :) the wetlands are quite extensive around here, both open grassy areas ( but they will generally grow over in woodies unless grazed, hayed or cleared periodically, except areas with standing water most of the time, then that is a different ecology)... that exact spot is not super diverse, since it is more or less a pathway for cattle coming and going, but in the broader wetlands on the farm, from grassy to partly wooded to shaded places ranging from generally damp to seasonally standing water in spring and often in parts of summer after heavy rain; many of the areas can be dry enough to walk with shoes at times, though not every year, and never dry below the surface; the range of moisture options are expanded by the hummocks which form around the bases of shrubs and between places where cattle  step-- so the raised areas would never be in the water, but still have moisture; then drier still around the bases of Spruce and Tamarack (Larix) and places where past clearing has mounded brush/trees/ sod (brush piles). These raised areas can hold common woodland species if they have larger trees, or meadow species.

There are all sorts of things from Platantheras (non-flashy greenish ones) to Comarum to asters ( a couple or more), Erigeron, Pedicularis, Menyanthes, Rubus arcticus, Triglochin, numerous sedges including some very pretty ones, Geum rivale and aleppicum, Scutellaria, Mentha, Petasites of course, Rumex, Maianthemum trifolium, Cicutum, Lysimachia thyrsiflora, Viola nephrophylla, Utricularia, some tiny Galiums and Epilobium, a particular Stellaria or adjacent, Valerian, Amerorchis (not often), Packera paupercula and probably many I'm forgetting at the moment. woodies include a number of Salix, a couple of Betula (dwarf and paper, at least) several Ribes, Picea glauca and mariana, Larix laricina, Populus on higher ground.....

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #52 on: September 14, 2020, 06:41:31 AM »
Looks a little like S. arvensis. Then it can cover a few sq. m in no time but the flowers are nice! It is not long lived though.

I've never seen any Sonchus make serious inroads in spots like that with closed soil. but sometimes they do at roadsides or field edges... I have an annual species around the gardens, and a perennial species by some old plantings of mom's- in old boxes that used to hold cucumbers, but also starting in the 'lawn' beside-- they have nice glaucous leaves and get very tall... probably some would be horrified that I leave them there...lol I have photos, but none that really shows the 'patch'...lol

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #53 on: September 14, 2020, 06:45:47 AM »
Not a bad guess, Cohan.

It is a couple gardens like that. One is so "nice" that it could be made of plastic. But most are just lawn and a few odd plants.

Not uncommon here, either... occasional funny things---rock piles with no particular plantings, tiny flower beds a few feet across surrounded by large mowed areas (some have really vast mowed areas, even out to the highway ditch and down some distance); weirder yet are a couple I see that have extensive areas with trees and shrubs (not right next to the house, a bit farther out, but close to the road) and they keep the soil permanently tilled and bare around the trees! no grass, nothing... that's some serious control issues...lol

Ian Y

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #54 on: September 14, 2020, 11:21:29 AM »
Thanks for the Alberta experience Cohan.
I enjoy all the pictures and reading your poem makes me feel as if I am walking with you.
Ian Young, Aberdeen North East Scotland   - 
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cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #55 on: September 14, 2020, 05:59:02 PM »
Thanks for the Alberta experience Cohan.
I enjoy all the pictures and reading your poem makes me feel as if I am walking with you.

Thanks, Ian-- and best thing about walking along virtually?-- no mosquitoes! ;) (actually they've tapered quite a bit now, finally, though they had a great year with all the rain..)

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #56 on: September 14, 2020, 06:21:41 PM »
Continuing on August 30...
1- We have a handful or more of local Aster species (in several different genera, now), but right on the farm/acreage, by far the most common is Symphyotrichum ciliolatum. Individual plants can bloom for quite a while, but with so many plants, the real effect is several months of flowers from mid summer through moderate frosts (I've seen scattered plants still flowering when we've had -10C or lower) well into fall.

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2-Near where the Parnassias were photographed, a semi open grassy strip between a wet wooded zone and a mesic mixed wood; This photo was late afternoon, the spot should be more or less sunny in mid day.

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3- Looking up, edge of the mesic woods, Populus balsamifera and P temuloides; this was  Aug 30, late summer green before the gold  made serious inroads.. still lots of green now, but more colour ever day..

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4- A cut line (probably one of my uncle's access routes around the property, though there may also be pipleines somewhere..) through a wooded area, opening out to an old field.

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5- A different spot, more poplars, P balsamifera, south edge of a mixed wood, overlooking a cleared area and then wetland again.


cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #57 on: September 14, 2020, 06:37:30 PM »
1- I only learned the term 'Foliose Lichen' a few years ago, though I'd always seen these beautiful organisms, as they are quite common here-- on rotting logs, bases of trees, mixed forest floor vegetation, even some significant patches in the yard in mowed areas. They can be quite changeable-- the just rained fully engorged look is very different from the dried out look! I haven't pegged the species we have, partly because you need to look at the back of the fronds(?) for veining characters, and I hate to pull them, up, and since they often grow in low light areas, my attempts at close-up shots have not always been sufficient for technical purposes! Anyway, I love them :)

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2- I was looking for a colony of ferns-- the first and for long time only ferns I knew of on the farm (I've found a couple of others, different, in more recent years).. I think I had a tentative id at one time, but forget, need to look them up again.. I hadn't looked at them in several years or more, so wanted to look on this walk, wasn't sure if they'd have died back for the year, or -heaven forbid- some changes in the woodland might have killed them off. I know the general area and the look and feel of the spot, but these things change over time as trees fall, wood on the ground rots or is grown over, etc, so I was searching for a bit (final results in the next post). On the search I first found several seedlings of Osmorhiza depauperata, which has a ferny look to the foliage, and had me wondering for  a few minutes-- adult plants would never be confused with this fern, as the structure is different, much larger and this time of year would have fruiting stems, but since I only saw the seedlings, I was unsure at first.

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3- Also nearby, these cute little fungi, which always make me think of Conophytum (South African succulents). With Mitella and Lathyrus.

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4-One of the very earliest woodland wildflowers here, Viola renifolia, with more foliose lichens, Mitella, Mertensia, Lathyrus, leaves of Populus balsamifera, a sedge, etc

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ashley

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #58 on: September 14, 2020, 07:02:53 PM »
... the wetlands are quite extensive around here ... There are all sorts of things ...

Thanks Cohan.  Great photos and thread.
I suppose that many of your sedges would be familiar to us in NW Europe too.  Are there any drosera or pinguicula species?
Ashley Allshire, Cork, Ireland

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #59 on: September 14, 2020, 11:10:23 PM »
Thanks Cohan.  Great photos and thread.
I suppose that many of your sedges would be familiar to us in NW Europe too.  Are there any drosera or pinguicula species?

Thanks again, Ashley. I have to confess that I have not made much progress learning what the sedges are-- having glanced at the list in Flora of Alberta and seeing there are over 100 in the province ( no doubt some could be eliminated by location) and that they may require very detailed examination at various stages of development has left me not very keen on trying to name them...lol.
There are Drosera and Pinguicula in Alberta, but not on the farm that I've ever seen-- I suspect they may prefer more undisturbed areas rather than farmland where there is always some degree of cattle presence; there may be other reasons why they are likelier in the foothills etc-- I believe there are Drosera at Crimson Lake Park-- 40-50 km west/north of here, but I can't recall whether I've seen them myself. We have a large species overlap, but that area is just within the foothills biome (not yet the actual hills) so there are some soil differences etc, besides differences in land use. Pings I've mainly heard about in the actual mountain areas.

 


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