30 August 2012


While driving to our cabin this morning we spotted a flock of turkeys walking on the access road to the pipeline valves. After stopping at the cabin, we then drove along the access road toward the pipeline valves and found the turkeys in the field enjoying the beautiful day.

28 August 2012


As we were driving to the barn this morning we found these hen turkeys and poults standing in Joyce Road.

As we watched, a neighborhood bobtail cat approached the turkeys. The turkeys didn't seem too alarmed by the cat.

Maybe the cat and turkeys are friends since this is the second time I've seen them meet and both times the turkeys walked toward the cat.

After a short visit with the cat, the turkeys continued across Joyce Road and up Harley and Barb Kay's driveway.

27 August 2012

Wildflower - Japanese Knotweed

The Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) along Joyce Road is in bloom. As its name implies, Japanese knotweed is native to eastern Asia. It was imported to England in the mid 1800s as an ornamental. In the late 1800s, it was brought to the United States and was planted in gardens and used for erosion control along roadways and embankments.

In the U.S. and Europe, Japanese knotweed is widely considered an invasive species or weed. It is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species.

A close-up view of the very small (1/8 inch wide) flowers of the Japanese Knotweed.

Japanese knotweed is a member of the Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae) and the flowers are valued by some beekeepers as an important source of nectar for honeybees. Japanese knotweed yields a monofloral honey, like a mild-flavored version of buckwheat honey.

25 August 2012

Wildflower - Daisy Fleabane

Large clumps of Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) are in bloom alone the driveway to our cabin.

This native wildflower is a member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) and has flowers that are 1/2 inch wide.

24 August 2012

Wildflower - Willow-Herb

I found this Willow-Herb (Epilobium coloratum) blooming near the wetland area at our cabin.

You may have to look very close to see the tiny, 1/8 inch, flowers. Close-up of the Willow-Herb flower.

23 August 2012

Wildflower - New England Aster

The New England Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) are starting to bloom at our cabin.

This native wildflower can be found in damp thickets and meadows.

22 August 2012

Wildflower - St. John's wort

I found this St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) growning next to our barn. There are several species of St John's wort, but the dark dots on the edges of the petals distinguish this plant as common St John's worts from related species.

The flowers have been used as a reddish dye. (If you rub a petal between your fingers, it will leave a dark red-purple stain.) St. John's wort has a history of being used as a medicine dating back to ancient Greece and many people use it today as a supplement. St. John's wort can cause many serious interactions with prescription drugs, herbs, or supplements. Therefore, people using any medications should consult their healthcare providers including their pharmacist prior to starting therapy.

19 August 2012

More Turkeys

After checking the water level in the pond at our cabin, I found these two hen turkeys near the food plot.

They walked along the cabin driveway toward our cabin and then slipped into the overgrown field.

I left the cabin and drove to the pipeline valve site and found 8 "Tom" turkeys picking through the straw that had been placed on the newly regraded area near the valves. I watched the turkeys from the top of the hill and after about 20 minutes they laid down in the pipeline right-of-way for an afternoon rest.

In the evening, we drove back to the pipeline valve site and found two hens with several poults (young turkeys) feeding along the access road.

Wildflower - Pale Touch-me-not

I found a patch of Pale Touch-me-not (Impatiens pallida), also known as Pale/Yellow Jewelweed, in bloom.

The ripe seedpods of this plant pop open at a gentle touch, hence the name touch-me-not.

Earlier this summer I posted photos of Jewelweed ("Spotted Touch-me-not") which is orange and another native species of touch-me-not.

18 August 2012


I drove up to the pipeline valve site to check on some regrading that was done yesterday. As soon as I arrived at the valve site a flock of turkeys walked out of the woods and into the pipeline right-of-way.

As I sat in my truck and watched, the turkeys worked their way around the valves as they feed.

After a half hour of feeding the turkeys wandered off, into the brush.

17 August 2012

Wildflower - Virgin's Bower

While mowing the lawn at our barn I found this Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) growing on some wire fencing. This native perennial plant is a woody vine that is also known as Devil's Darning Needles, Devil's Hair, Love Vine, Traveller's Joy, Virginia Virgin's Bower, Wild Hops , and Woodbine.

16 August 2012

Wildflower - Common Mallow

The Common Mallow (Malva neglecta) is in bloom at our barn. This member of the Mallow family (Malvaceae) is also known as "cheeses", "cheeseplant" and "cheeseweed" because the fruits, which are round and flat, look like a wheel of cheese.

The flowers are 1/2 inch wide and white, pink, or lavender.

15 August 2012

Wildflower - Black Nightshade

I found this Black Nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum) blooming next to our barn. The flower of the black nightshade looks very similar to the horsenettle flower because they are both members of the Nightshade family (Solanaceae). The big difference between the two flowers is size. The horsenettle flower is over an inch wide, whereas the black nightshade flower is much smaller at 1/3 inch wide.

The berries of Black Nightshade are edible to humans, if they are fully ripe and eaten in small quantities. Green berries contain the toxic alkaloid, solanum, like the foliage.

14 August 2012

Wildflower - Horsenettle

The Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) is starting to bloom in some of the hay fields near our barn. Horsenettle is not related to true nettles, but this native plant is a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which includes tomatoes, and potatoes.

Like other members of the nightshade family, the horsenettle flower is star-like with yellow centers. The flowers are 1 inch wide and can have white or pale lavender flowers. It's not uncommon to find both color flowers on the same stem.

While the horsenettle flowers are interesting to look at there are several reasons to be careful with this plant. There are the hard spines along the stems that can penetrate the skin and break off (known from personal experience). Most parts of the plant are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant's natural defenses.

Close-up views of the flower.

13 August 2012


With the hay fields mowed I'm starting to see more turkeys moving in the fields. I spotted this pair of "jakes" across the road from our barn while driving down Joyce Road.

The turkeys ran back and forth across Rose Ellis' lawn before they decided it was safe to cross the road.

The turkeys eventually crossed Joyce Road and ran across the field below our barn. Later in the day I saw the pair resting in a field behind our barn.

12 August 2012

Wildflower - Mountain Mint

The problem with some wildflowers are the size of their flowers, they're too small. The flowers of Narrow-leaved Mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium) bloom in clusters of multiple flowers that are 1/4 of an inch across. From a distance, this plant looks like several other white flowers that bloom this time of year.

A close-up view of the Narrow-leaved Mountain-mint flower shows a lot more color and detail. I found this member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) in an overgrown field behind our house.

10 August 2012

Wildflower - Selfheal

Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) is one of the shorter (2 to 12 inch) members of the Mint family (Lamiaceae), but what it lacks in height it makes up with its flower. The selfheal flower head is made up of many small, less than 1/2 inch flowers which need to be viewed up close to see the detail.

Like most members of the mint family, selfheal is easy to establish and can spread rapidly to take over an area.

Selfheal is also known as "heal all" and gets its names from the use as an antiseptic and antibacterial medicine by native tribes.

A close-up view of the flower.

09 August 2012

Wildflower - Dogbane

In the hay field near Joyce Road and the driveway to our barn is a large patch of Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium).

This native plant has small groups of tiny, pink, bell-shaped flowers, fragrant and striped inside with deeper pink. This relative of the milkweed contains a milky juice in the stems and leaves which is poisonous.

A close-up view of the flower which is 1/4 to 1/2 inch across.

08 August 2012

Wildflower - Catnip

Like other members of the mint family (Lamiaceae), Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is occasionally cultivated but it escapes readily and is more often found in the wild. I found this catnip plant growing between cracks in some concrete at our barn.

Catnip gets its name from the behavioral effects it has on cats. Catnip is used as a recreational substance for pet cats' enjoyment. The common behaviors when cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip are rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some will growl, meow, scratch, or bite the hand holding it.

View of the catnip flower-head.

A close-up view of a catnip flower.

These flowers are small. For reference, here's a catnip flower with an ant in it.