Friday, July 10, 2015


Several times during the day, the campers and their leaders gather at the amphitheater for events.

 While the attention of most of the people is focused on proceedings and announcements…

Our camp mascot, Poe the Raven, has other things in mind.

This evening he found an open Dutch oven filled with foil-covered baked potatoes.

 He knows that shiny stuff means chow.  He wasted no time separating the food from the foil.

 He’s a big, big bird and these spuds were just beak size.

 Over a period of ten or fifteen minutes he appropriated several potatoes…

 ...and stashed them for later.

 As the evening progressed all the groups had skits to perform.

 On the other side of camp, Poe found a table with several loaves of fresh bread, also wrapped in foil.

 These campers had been late getting their meal prepared and had left it to be eaten after they attended the evening campfire.

 Poe knew he’d hit the jackpot.

 He proceeded to rip and fling foil as fast as he could.

 Warm garlic bread is on the evening menu for the raven family.

 He flew off with as much as he could carry.

 And came back a few more times…

 For extra helpings.

 When the campers came back to finish their meal they found this.

 Ravens are much smarter than Goldilocks.  They don’t fall asleep in the bears’ bed.  They grab and go.

 The next morning while DH and I were cleaning the pool we saw the ravens were back with their youngsters.

All the campers had gathered for breakfast.

 While the girls were feasting on pancakes, eggs and watermelon,..

 …and the robins were eating worms…

Poe was teaching his family how to raid camp sites.

 The kids were paying close attention.

 Another generation of ravens was learning survival skills.

 “Someday, Son, this will all be yours.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Summer weather has brought a different crop of wildflowers to the forests and meadows around the camp.

 One that is often overlooked is Red Clover.  Bees seek it for making sweet honey.  Grazing animals enjoy feeding where Red Clover grows.  It is considered to be a rich source of chemicals that act like estrogens so herbalists recommend it for reducing hot flashes and for breast enhancement.  If you’ve ever seen a dairy cow that eats clover you may guess why.

 Red Clover is also a source of many valuable nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.

 While investigating another new purple flower in our neighborhood, I saw a familiar face.  Hamish came out of the shadows to pose with the Daisy Fleabane.  Its name comes from the belief that the dried plants repel fleas.

 There are about 200 different species of this flower. They grow in most temperate climates.  Some are cultivated for ornamental and rock gardens but they do just fine in the wild.

 I like the way leaves and petals glow when they are backlit by the sun.  These flowers were all looking to catch the first rays of morning light and they will follow the sun on its trip across the sky.  Of course they are wild members of the Sunflower family.

 This white flower with feathery leaves and a bitter smell is one of the varieties of Yarrow.
In early times Yarrow was used to slow the flow of blood from wounds.

Other common names are nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, and soldier's woundwort.

 This gigantic white flower grows abundantly along the creek that borders the camp.  Early in the spring its leaves look a bit like rhubarb.  Then the huge flowers grow up around five feet tall.  One of its names is Cow Parsnip but it is also called Heracleum from “Hercules” because of its huge size.  It’s related to the carrot believe it or not.

 I took extra care to pose Hamish with this one since the sap from Cow Parsnip contains a photosensitive chemical that can cause a skin rash and blisters especially when skin is exposed to sun.  It’s a good thing Hamish has long sleeves and prefers darkness.

 Even more dangerous is this smaller white plant which also grows in boggy places.  This is most likely the poisonous Water Hemlock.   

According to Wikipedia, Cicutoxin is the toxin that is produced by the Water Hemlock, making it the most poisonous plant in North America.[4] Cicutoxin is a yellowish liquid that is prevalent in the roots. It is an unsaturated alcohol that has a major impact on the central nervous system of animals.  Very small amounts of green materials of W. water hemlock, about .1% of a person’s body weight can even lead to death.[5] In addition to being extremely dangerous to humans, this plant has an enormous impact on animals.   

Hamish said gnomes are immune to such toxins but was glad to point it out so we could watch for it and work to remove it from areas near camp.