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Old 8th Jan 2005, 13:04   #1
RC
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Default Lovely names for things in the woods and fields

This is turning into one of our more potent winters, already the snow-banks alongside the driveway are as high as they get by the end of the season in some years. Temperatures are fluctuating between extreme cold and unseasonable mildness, which makes the streets and sidewalks very slippery until city workers get around to sanding. I hate being stuck in the house, but it's not worth risking a bone-crunching fall. Let's look for a little distraction.
Although there are some very noteworthy ones, I don't want to hear any of those ugly names which certain plants and animals have justly or unjustly received. If you want to deal in those, start yer own thread. Here we're having only music and poetry, to evoke the yet distant sweet days of spring.

So, as a starter - PEARLY EVERLASTING. This is a small white flower, rounded in shape, with a long stem. As it matures it develops an ever- larger yellow center. If you prefer the 'pearly' look you can pick them before that. They are called everlasting because they don't wither. If you hang them upside down the stems will dry straight, then you can turn them right way up again and stick them in jars and they give off a nice fresh smell for quite a while, a little like chamomile.
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Old 8th Jan 2005, 13:42   #2
Maggie
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MoonFlower

This is one of my favorite summer flowers. It is a bush like plant that is indigenous to our southwestern desert areas. It can, however, be planted, in the northern climes, in spring. The height and amount of blooms are dependant on the summer weather. They like hot, sunny days and warm nights. My plants have sometimes grown almost to my shoulders, other years they hardly reach my knees. They bloom after dark, hence the name. The flower, when open, is six or seven inches in diameter. It is so white as to almost glow in the dark. But, the best and most wonderful thing about the flower is the scent. I plant them close to my house, I have a long driveway, one can smell them on a summer evening when turning into my drive.
They are pollentated by moths, hence the whiteness and the scent .

The seed pods, when soaked and boiled, make a strong hallucinogenic which was used by southwestern Natives in certain ceremonies (it is now illegal)
This I have never tried :wink:
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Old 8th Jan 2005, 14:56   #3
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Meadowlark

Mourning Dove

Skylark

Starling

The call of the Mourning Dove is singular, almost unbearably plaintive, Oh, woe-woe-woe and they are exquisite in appearance, predominantly soft grey-brown, small round heads, a gracious serene expression. They remind me of gentle nuns.
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Old 8th Jan 2005, 17:55   #4
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:) RC,

I have a bird feeder on my deck railing. I can sit in my dining area and watch the birds. Every morning the Morningdoves are lined up on the railing. At least 15 or 20 or them. They DO look like little round nuns. They don't stay long after it is light. They chat a bit and leave for the day. Then it is the little Downy Woodpecker's turn. He comes for the suet. He is a busy little guy.

Indigo Bunting

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Scarlet Tanager
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Old 8th Jan 2005, 18:38   #5
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Valerian

Sorrel

Angelica
- wards off evil spirits, also worn during the great plague in the 17th century to prevent infection
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Old 8th Jan 2005, 18:51   #6
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Pied wagtails - fantastic little critters - or as I call them 'walking birds' (less poetic, I know)

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Old 8th Jan 2005, 21:18   #7
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Creeping Jenny ...
This grows all around our pond, and flowers continuously (bright yellow bells) from May to the end of October. The fish adore it, too. They tug off sprays of it, and that which they don't eat, sails across to other marginal edges of the pond where it roots and grows. Watching from a distance, you know when the fish are nibbling by the frantic nodding of those glorious little bells!

Love-Lies-A-Bleeding ...
Racemes of dusky red flowers hanging from thickly clustered stems. The appearance is just what it says on the tin. Though not one of my favourites to look at, I love the name.

Nuthatch ...
Very rare birds in our garden, but just occasionally we get a visiting pair of these. They have the most wonderful 'Cleopatra' sweep of black eyeliner to each bright eye and a plush sunset coloured breast - quite a dandy little number, the nuthatch!
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Old 8th Jan 2005, 22:41   #8
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Red breasted robin--The classic herald of milder days.

Ruby throated hummingbird--Amazingly, a migratory species. It makes an annual round trip across the Gulf of Mexico.

Orange blossom
--In Florida, you know Spring is here to stay when their heavenly scent is wafting from the neighboring orchards.
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Old 8th Jan 2005, 23:05   #9
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Lady slippers ---- a wild flower found in our area

Queen Ann's Lace --- another wild flower (though it is more of a weed as
as I see it )

Jack-in-the-pulpit --- again, a wild flower



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Old 8th Jan 2005, 23:28   #10
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I like Queen Anne's Lace. It's invasive I guess, but very pretty, and I like the name.

Rick, some of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds make it all the way up to Canada in their annual migration, such a distance for such a tiny bit of fluff - 3 grams they weigh. Of course crossing the Gulf of Mexico is a particular challenge as they can't pause for rest. Ever see a nest? -- too precious.
They are quite curious too. Once I was sitting on a deck in Pennsylvania when one flew up and hovered about two feet from my face for a long minute, tipping it's head from side to side as if to say, My, you're an odd one. Then it took an instant's glance at my companion and whirred away. I was quite flattered.

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Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of all animals, a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heartbeat can reach 500 beats per minute! They also typically consume more than their own weight in food each day, and to do that, they have to visit hundreds of flowers every day. But at any given moment, they're hours away from starving. Fortunately, they are capable of slowing down their metabolism at night, or any other time food is not readily availible. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor. During torpor, the heartrate and rate of breathing are both slowed dramatically, reducing their need for food.
Regarding this 'torpor' - I read in a book that when they sleep they wrap their little feet around a branch in a death-grip and really pass out completely. There was an anecdote about somebody finding one in that state (which is unusual, obviously they would find some very secure hiding-place to sleep in) and not knowing the bird was sleeping, he broke off the twig it was fastened to, and took it away. Later it woke up.
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