Thursday, May 27, 2010

LADYBUGS: Facts and Lore





FACTS


1. Ladybugs are great for our veggies and plants, they eat aphids which are harmful to our plants.

2. a ladybug will flap its wings approximately 500 times a minute

3. A ladybug produces a chemical to protect themselves from predators which smells and tastes terrible.

4. A ladybug's spots fade as they get older

5. Females are usely larger than males

6. They can eat up to 5,000 aphids in 3-6 weeks.

7. They have a life span of one to two years.






LORE


In Norway, if a man and a woman spot a Ladybug at the same time,
there will be a romance between them.

In the Spring, if numerous Ladybugs are seen flying around,
British farmers say it forecasts many bountiful crops.

Folklore suggests if you catch a Ladybug in your home, count the number
of spots and that's how many dollars you'll soon find.

In the 1800's, some doctors used Ladybugs to treat measles! They
also believed that if you mashed ladybugs and put them
into a cavity, the insects would stop a toothache!

If the spots on the wings of a Ladybug are more than seven,
it's a sign of coming famine. If less than seven, it means
you will have a good harvest.

Nearly ALL cultures believe that a Ladybug is lucky.
Killing one is said to bring sadness and misfortune.

If you find a ladybug in your house during the winter, you
will have good luck.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Queen Anne's Lace

This morning as I went for a little walk, I noticed all the Queen Anne's Lace blooming. I remember as a child I used to love picking the flowers and putting them in bottles of water with added food coloring and watching the flowers turn colors.

As I got closer to the flowers, I noticed a colony of bugs feeding off the nectar in each little bloom.
Some of these bugs were so tiny, while others were just a fraction bigger. I don't really know what kind of bugs they were, but they were cool to photograph. A sweet lady bug also allowed me to photograph her for awhile.

The Queen Anne's Lace grows wild around here, as I guess it does in the majority of the States. It's one of my favorite wild flowers, but it wasn't till recently that I learned some of the benefits from the plant.

Some people take a teaspoon of seeds with a glass of water immediately after having sex to keep from getting pregnant.

The Queen Anne's Lace is really a wild herb and is a diuretic. It is also known as a cleansing herb because it supports the liver, stimulates urine flow, and removes waste by the kidneys. The root of this herb is used to delay menustration. Making an infusion of warm water and flower heads has been said to treat diabetes. Some take the root of a young plant and crush the root to make a tea to prevent and eliminate kidney stones. It has also been said that tea will remove worms and parasites in the human body. The thick sap can also be used for cough and congestion.

The Queens Anne's Lace contains flavonoids, essential oils, vitamins B and C, pectin, lecithin, and glutamine. The root of the herb when crushed smells just like carrot and why the Queen Anne's Lace is also called Wild Carrot. It belongs to the same family as parsley and is an ancestor to Carrots. Some have taken the flower heads of the plant and battered and fried them, claiming they taste like fried carrots. I have never tried this nor ever tried any of the tea!

There are several different fables how the Queens Anne's Lace got its name.
If you look closely in the center of the flower head, you will see one small purple flower. It is said that Queen Anne of England pricked her finger while sewing lace and the single purple flower in the center of the white cluster of flowers, signifies one single drop of her blood.
An English botanist suggests that the name did not come from Queen Anne but from Saint Anne the mother of the Virgin Mary who was a lace maker.

Some religions have used the Queens Anne's Lace in rituals and spells.

As I have said, I have never used any of the teas, nor cooked the flower heads, Ive just always enjoyed seeing the beautiful flowers. I suggest if you decide to try any of the teas, to research a little more before doing so.

NOTE: I have read that the leaves can be toxic on this plant, only the flower heads and root are edible. Please do not get the Queen Anne's Lace mixed up with the POISON HEMLOCK. As with all herbs and wild plants please research before ingesting.

Here are a few photos I took this morning. I love all the little insects on the flowers.








Monday, May 24, 2010

Rejuvenated by Nature

I have been so busy the last couple of weeks that I have neglected my walks through the woods. I have neglected my walks and talks with Nature. My mind set on helping my Mother get ready for her move 400 miles away. My body tired, achy, and worn out. My mind only focused on helping her and getting my house organized from the furniture and odds and ends she is giving me. With each ache and pain, I kept forcing myself to do more and more, telling myself my Mother is 63 years and hasn't complained one bit. I kept pushing and pushing myself ignoring the fact that all I needed was just a few minutes a day with Nature to rejuvenate myself.

Saturday afternoon, drenched in sweat from southern heat and humidity, I was unloading my car, when I heard the sound of something tapping on the pecan tree beside me. I stood still, motionless, and quite so I could see what tapping on the tree. My eyes scanned the tree up and down and for the life of me I couldn't find it.
Suddenly, there it was, just a little above eye level, some sort of woodpecker. I damned myself for not having my camera on me. I took my chances and ran inside for my camera. When I returned, he was still in the tree but had moved a little further up. He stayed long enough for me to snap one photo and he flew away.

With the tail gate still opened to my car, still loaded, I walked off, and walked down into the woods. The pines stood tall and erect. They swayed just a bit as if they were welcoming me. Birds began to sing, all around me. I sat just for a moment and listened. I looked around me. All the trees were full now, big huge star shaped leaves on the Sweet Gums, Pines looking more bright green than before, the Oak leaves now full size, wild daisies blooming among the brown pine needles on the ground....it all looked so much different since the last time I visited. For 2 weeks I neglected my walks and talks with Nature, when I returned, nothing looked the same. I left a little offering before I left, and made a promise I wouldn't stay gone so long again.

Last night just before midnight we had a small storm. I stood in the back yard, watching the lightening, feeling the wind and rain against my skin, and smelling the freshness of the near summers rain. I reached down and picked up a few pea size hail off the grass and tasted it. I listened to thunder rumble after each lightening bolt, and suddenly my body was no longer exhausted, my mind no longer clouded. I slept like a rock last night and woke this morning feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Using all 5 senses last night, I stood and let Nature envelope me and cleanse me. Today I feel energetic, alive and whole. My body ready to tackle the week ahead, my mind free and clear.

Below is the photograph of the Woodpecker. Im not exactly sure what kind it is. I looked him up in my bird book. Only thing it resembles is the Red-cockaded but the book says they are declining and endangered.

Ive also included a few photographs I took Saturday in the woods.








Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Tortoise and Mosquito

The last two weeks have been extremely hectic for me with so much going on. However, I finally received my new camera and have been having a blast taking as many nature photos as I can. The other day I neglected my house work and thought I would go outside and just enjoy the weather, take a little walk, and take some photos. I didn't even make it to the woods, when I saw a tortoiseshell turtle slowly making his way down the hill. He was kind enough to stop a while and let me photograph him.

The mosquitoes were horrible, and I should have sprayed myself down with some Rosemary and Lemon Balm to protect me from their bites. When one landed on my hand as I was photographing the turtle, I thought I would try out my super macro function on my camera. I was really impressed with the way the photos turned out.








Sometimes, when a bird cries out, or the wind sweeps through a tree, or a dog howls in a far off farm, I hold still and listen a long time.
We live in all things, and all things live in us.