Saturday, June 27, 2015

Outdoors Again, At Last!

Hooray!  I'm back on my feet and feeling good dirt beneath my feet again!  A million thanks to my good pal Sue Pierce, who used up one of her vacation days Friday to come collect me and drive me up to Moreau Lake State Park for my first outdoor adventure since shattering my kneecap on May 31. Sue even lent me her mother's cane, which helped me keep my balance as we strolled the sandy trail under the powerlines that run along the top of Mud Pond.  After an hour or so glorying in the magnificent display of wildflowers along this sandy clearcut, we relaxed on the shore of Moreau Lake to enjoy a picnic lunch.  What an incredible mood-booster this whole day was (including the four-hour nap when I got home)!

At first glance, it looked as if not much was blooming here in the sandy scrub that only three years ago had been blasted with herbicides by the power company.

But just a few steps later we began to see the profusion of gorgeous Wood Lilies this stretch of clearcut has always been known for.  The first year following the poisoning of this land, we feared we would never see these magnificent native lilies here again, but every year we rejoice in further evidence of their comeback.

It's hard to believe that such a spectacular bloom could be that of a native wildflower.  It certainly rivals any horticultural species for showiness and beauty.

Another favorite plant that thrives in this sandy stretch is New Jersey Tea, a shrub that's not only a favorite of ours, but also of the zillions of buzzing beetles and bees and other bugs that were feasting among the starburst blooms today.

Rivaling the Wood Lilies for glorious color was this beautiful clump of Butterflyweed, one of our species of native milkweeds that's also a favorite of many pollinators.

Another milkweed that thrives in this hot sandy landscape is Blunt-leaved Milkweed, which today was releasing its exquisite fragrance from beautiful deep-rose flower clusters.

Clumps of Frostweed still held onto their cheerful yellow blooms to delight us today.

Sun-warmed patches of Sweet Fern released their intoxicating fragrance, intermixed with tall stalks of  sunny-yellow Hawkweed, bobbing in the breeze.

Previously, Sue had scouted out a patch of Green Pyrola on another stretch of powerline, and then led me right to them after she drove us a bit down the road.  This species of Pyrola is a bit less common than the white-flowered species called Shinleaf, so I was delighted to be able to greet it again this year.

Close by this Green Pyrola, we found a patch of the tiny-flowered Racemed Milkwort beautifully in bloom.

I was so excited to have a chance to greet my dear wildflower friends, especially since I had feared that I would not be seeing them this year.  And I was equally delighted to greet a few of the animal species that share the same habitat.  This beautiful green grasshopper looked so green and tender, I wonder if it was a juvenile instar, just recently molted.

Lots of baby toads were hopping about in the sand, so small they could have been mistaken for crickets.

Great Spangled Fritillaries were fluttering about the lilies and milkweeds.

Many different dragonflies were zooming about the sunny landscape, but none would land long enough for me to capture a photo.  This photo of a male Calico Pennant I took from my archives, just because I want to document that we saw these splendid creatures today, both the bright-red males and the equally bright-yellow females.

This lovely moth, however, gave us lots of time to capture its delicate beauty, since it was clinging to the windshield of Sue's car and was apparently reluctant to leave.  As was I, of course, having delighted in walking among the gorgeous wildflowers on a truly spectacular summer day.  But the knee was telling me it was time to rest, and so I went home to take my pain meds and a nap, encouraged to know that further outdoor adventures are well within my reach.  With a little help from my friends, of course.  Thanks, Sue.  This outing was the best medicine I could have had to speed my knee's healing.

Update:  Thanks, Catherine Klatt, for identifying this lovely moth as a Large Lace-Border (Scopula limboundata).  What an apt name for a moth with such a pretty, lacy border to its wings!


Uta said...

So glad you could enjoy such a beautiful day and hope you will have many more. The pictures are lovely. Glad you are back.

The Furry Gnome said...

Great collection of pictures! You always seem to find such unusual flowers (to me). And so glad your knees has healed this fast!

threecollie said...

I am so delighted for you! I too love the fragrance of the milkweed. There is a big patch right by the porch. Love your photos...I learn so much here.

Barbara said...

Wow! What a happy surprise to see that you are already out and about again. You are one tough cookie! Yet another reason that you are a hero of mine.

suep said...

Oh now I know you would do the same for me - we certainly did have a nice day & I look forward to many more jaunts with you in the future-!

Catherine Klatt said...

I'm so glad you're able to get out again!

Your moth is a Large Lace-Border, Scopula limboundata. Such a lovely moth, and one of my favorites. I had my first of the year just last night - the first brood is probably emerging from their cocoons right now.

Steve Young said...

It is great to see you back on your feet. Being out in nature will surely speed the healing.

Jens said...

What good news that you are already back on the trail!--- being able to walk on uneven ground (albeit with a cane) is a real advance in the healing.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being out and about! I could sense your soul soaring as I read your post!

catharus said...

Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! Your joy is shared!