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Fred's photos from Wheaton Labs  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I experienced the page not wrapping when I was experimenting switching between the new format and the old format It worked fine in the new format.
 
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Looks great, Burra! Thank you.
 
gardener
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Today's photos are all of the Rat-tailed maggot/Drone fly (most commonly Eristalis tenax). These showed up in a garbage can of cow pies that has been soaking in water to soften for cob making. If you see these in a natural body of water, it means there is a serious pollution issue. They are only attracted to stagnant water with an abundance of organic matter (usually manure). If these weren't in a plastic garbage can, then pretty foul stuff would be leaching into the ground water. They use their tail as an extendable breathing tube so they can live and feed underwater. The pupae usually are found somewhere drier and have some little horns sticking out. The adults mimic honey bees, but have only one pair of wings and will usually have a more darting and hovering flight pattern. The adults feed on nectar and act as beneficial pollinators. This adult has just emerged from the pupal case and its wings and exoskeleton aren't quite stiff yet and the coloring is dull (sorry the focus is a bit off).
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Rat-tailed maggot/Drone fly larvae (Eristalis tenax)
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Rat-tailed maggot/Drone fly pupa (Eristalis tenax)
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Rat-tailed maggot/Drone fly adult (Eristalis tenax)
 
pollinator
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I find these maggots particularly disgusting but didn't know anything about the other stages, or even the name. So, thanks and it's good to know they are beneficial. I'll try to look on them in a different light from now on. There are lots in my bins of soaking seaweed.
 
Fred Tyler
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It makes sense that the rat-tailed maggots would be in your seaweed water, Sue, as i read about people getting them in their comfrey tea. We have obviously made that water pretty foul and they are trying to help clean up.

Today i've got something nicer to look at: growies!

The first is a watermelon growing at the teepee. Will it make it in time? I hope so, though it did get a bit of a late start.

The second and third are a squash that is growing by Allerton Abbey. It has been putting on tons of lush growth. I'm sure no sunlight is reaching the ground beneath it. It has layers of leaves over layers of leaves (not to mention several inches of mulch). It finally got a few female flowers, so we might get some food out of it after all.
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squash plant
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female squash blossom
 
Gary Huntress
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That is a beautiful looking squash plant! None of mine look like that.
 
Fred Tyler
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The first photo is of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) or lucerne if you are not in the US. This is a great perennial nitrogen fixer. Most of the time it will live between four and eight years. This drought resistant plant has an incredibly deep root system. Usually the taproots are 6 to 12 feet deep, but under ideal conditions they can easily grow to 30 ft and sometimes more than 60! There is a plant at a Nevada mine tunnel that was found to have 130 ft deep roots! They are an insectary plant and attract many beneficial insects. The seeds can be easily sprouted and eaten, though they are small and might not be worth the trouble of collecting and cleaning.

The second and third photos are of Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium). The seeds are spread by wind and can last in the soil for many years. When a site is disturbed (by humans, or fire) fireweed is one of the first pioneers to show up. After trees and shrubs get established fireweed doesn't compete well and will die off. The young shoots are edible but become tough and bitter as they get older. A fiber from the stems can be used to make cordage. Fireweed is used by many species of wildlife.
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Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
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Fireweed flower(Chamerion angustifolium)
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Fireweed seed pod(Chamerion angustifolium)
 
Fred Tyler
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Sorry i haven't been posting much. Everything has been shrouded in smoke from fires in the region and i haven't taken that many photos. We got a little rain the last couple of days, and now the air is clear.

The first photo is of one of the berms at basecamp. Usually, behind the berm you can see mountains behind mountains, behind mountains. It was so smokey we could hardly see the closest mountain!

The second photo is some bulbils from Egyptian walking onions that my friend sent me from Minnesota. Thanks Mike! Now we can multiply the numbers of this great onion faster. Some of these were already getting little roots - they can't wait to grow!

I took advantage of Paul and Jocelyn's kitchen vacancy during their trip to Seattle and made a big batch of strawberry jam. These strawberries had such an intense flavor, the jam is perfect.
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murky mountains
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bubils from a friend
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strawberry jam
 
Fred Tyler
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All of today's photos are of some orb weaver spiders living around the house at basecamp. They are the Cat-Faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides). These spiders hide out during the day. Like most orb weavers, they seem to build a new web each night (after eating the old one). They have a pattern on their back that with two protruding bumps resembles a cat face. The female will lay a big egg sac in the fall with hundreds of eggs inside. In the spring the eggs will hatch and the spiders will let our a line of silk to go ballooning to a new location.

If you look close at the underside view, you can see the spinnerets.
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Cat-Faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides)
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Cat-Faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides)
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Cat-Faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides)
 
Fred Tyler
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The first two photos are two more unidentified spiders from basecamp. The first had a lot of debris from previous meals decorating its web. All of the ones like this were pretty small. The second one was rather large and is missing one leg and was slowly climbing the wall.

The third photo is some kimchi that i made using daikon and garlic from basecamp. Yum, spicy ferments!
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mystery spider
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mystery spider
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kimchi
 
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Fred Tyler wrote:The third photo is some kimchi that i made using daikon and garlic from basecamp. Yum, spicy ferments!


Fred,
Could you share your recipe? I'm always looking for more ways to make kimchi.
One time I made it with ingredients that included apple and peeled orange, along with the usual suspects.

 
pollinator
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Thanks Fred for all the photos. More photos from the lab, please! More and more! Of the recent ones, I love the squash plant, the cat faced spider, and the berm. The pictures of stuff people have made, like your kimchi yesterday are super cool. Of course, my favorites are ones with people in.

Thanks again. I love it!
 
Fred Tyler
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Thanks Kerry!

Cam, i just used the recipe from Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation. It is a great book that tells you how to ferment lots of different things.

First is a photo of a flower i found growing by the back gate at basecamp. Not sure how it got there. Looks like it might be Wild Petunia (Petunia integrifolia). The flowers are so vibrant!

The second is another daikon radish (Raphanus sativus) ready to harvest. I might have to try making pickled daikon. Veggie sushi, here we come. If only i could find an avocado tree around here.

The last photo is the flower from garlic chives (Allium tuberosum). I brought several clumps of these with me from Minnesota. I thought they mostly didn't make it. But, now i'm seeing their blooms around the berms at basecamp. These are a very hardy perennial allium. They will divide and the clumps will grow, but they will also spread easily by seed. I hope we get some seeds off these to spread them around the Lab. They are one of first green things in the spring and they are deliciously edible. I would often grab some and throw it into a sandwich or salad. In Minnesota, they always seemed to have lush growth no matter how much we harvested, or how little it rained.
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Wild Petunia (Petunia integrifolia)
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Daikon radish (Raphanus sativus)
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Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum)
 
Fred Tyler
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I finally remembered to bring down the Scat and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains to compare it to some tracks i had seen earlier. It's a good book but the tracks are so variable i'm still not sure on the ID's for these tracks. Any ideas?

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steward
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That first one bears a lot of resemblance to a bear track (get it?). What is the dimension on those? Probably a 1 or 2 year old juvenile black bear.

The middle one appears to be a bird (magpie/raven/heron) and a raccoon.

The bottom one looks to be a fox or coyote track.
 
Fred Tyler
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Bill, that first track was only an inch or two, so maybe something like a skunk or something weasel-y? I think the second one was too small for a raccoon and more like the size of a chipmunk or squirrel. The third one i added the tape measure because i thought it might help differentiate between a fox and coyote. Thanks for the input!

Today's photos are all of some ladybugs (in different stages) that were on some lamb's quarters. As a larva, a ladybug can consume as many as 700 aphids. As an adult, they can eat 5000 aphids. There weren't too many aphids on the lamb's quarters (and quite a few ladybugs), so they must have had quite a meal.
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Ladybug larva
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Ladybug pupa
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Ladybug
 
Gary Huntress
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Great photos!
 
Fred Tyler
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First is an owl that i saw hanging out just outside Allerton Abbey. Evan tried to move in closer for a better picture and it took off. My good camera was down in basecamp, so all i have is this pretty blurry photo. Maybe it will be back, as there are plenty of small rodents in the area.

The second photo is of a Short-tailed Weasel (Mustela erminea), also know as a stoat. I found it near one of the berms at basecamp. Not sure what got it. I'm guessing it moved into the area because of the abundance of chipmunks and rabbits, both of which are prey for this mid-sized weasel. In the winter its coat will change to white (except the dark tip of the tail). It will hunt under the snow and specializes in hunting voles. It will nest in rock piles, brush piles, rotting stumps, and in the burrows of rodents it has killed. It will line its nest cavity with fur from prey.

The third photo is a little broccoli that is growing on the berms at basecamp.
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owl
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Short-tailed Weasel (Mustela erminea)
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broccoli
 
steward
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I hope somebody eats that!
 
Bill Erickson
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Fred, looks like you found the maker of those little footprints. I had a long post all built up to answer you the other day when you pointed out the size of them. It basically pointed to critters like the stoat or a skunk.
I also went, "Doh!" at the squirrel tracks.
 
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Maddie was recently at Wheaton Labs and tooks a bunch of great pictures. You can see them all here. But here are a few good ones of fred!.





 
Lab Ant
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Who says a 12 ft tall hugelkultur bed is too tall to harvest? Not Fred, that's for sure.
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Fred and his victory squash
 
Fred Tyler
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Julia, i hope you were talking about the broccoli. I'm sure Jocelyn will make something yummy out of it.

Cassie, thanks for cross posting those photos. Thanks to Madison for taking them!

Evan thanks for catching me on top of the berm!

Today i have two photos of a mystery weed. It grows pretty low along the ground on the sides of some of the roads at basecamp. Its fuzziness is great for catching seeds from prickly lettuce, salsify, stork's bill, fireweed, spreading dog's bane, and whatever else might blow in. It has squarish stems, so maybe something in the mint family?

The third photo is wild mint (Mentha arvensis). Fresh or dried it makes a nice tea. Fresh they can be added to salads or drinks.

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?
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?
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Wild mint (Mentha arvensis)
 
Julia Winter
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Yes, please don't eat stoats.

Or owls.
 
Fred Tyler
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We had an amazing dinner at Paul and Jocelyn's the other night. I got a couple pictures of the guys helping to cook.

Chris is cutting apples and pears for the fruit crisp. It was grain free and amazingly delicious.

Kai is toasting up the squash seeds from all the stuffed squash that was being made.

The third photo is a massive radish that i found growing on a berm at basecamp. I'm pretty sure i didn't plant any radishes where it was, so i think it's a volunteer.

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Chris
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Kai
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Radish!
 
Fred Tyler
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The first photo is a bunch of ferments that just finished. The two jars on the left are pickled daikon radish i harvested from the berms at basecamp. I still hope to make some veggie sushi out of these. The middle jar is pickled red radishes. I love the color these turned the brine. The two jars on the right are pickled broccoli stalks (one with a little brine from pickled beets). This was the first time i've tried any of these pickles. While they all came out good, the broccoli stalks were amazing! Pretty sure this is the best use of those stems. I made all of these using only a simple brine (like this).

The back gate on the big dump trailer here was torn off recently while someone was moving dirt for some berms. I used a plasma cutter to cut some new (stonger) parts and welded them on the the back of the trailer. I forgot to take pictures during the repair, but here is the finished pivot point before the gate was re-installed.

The third photo is of a sunflower i planted at basecamp with some long droopy petals.
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pickles
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welding job
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sunflower
 
master steward
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I remember looking at the broken trailer gate and thinking "this is going to take some work." I then spelled out how I think the repair should be done.

When I saw the final repair, I have to confess that the final design is about ten times better than my design! Way to go Fred! Two apples for you!
 
Fred Tyler
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Thanks for the apples Paul!

The first photo is of a couple of antlion sand traps. These were under a tree at the edge of a basecamp berm. The larvae wait at the bottom of their excavations in dry sand. When an ant or other small arthropod falls into the trap, the antlion pelts it with sand to make sure it can't climb out. Once their prey is at the bottom of the trap, they grab it with their relatively large jaws and pull it under. Sometimes the larvae are called doodlebugs because of the tracks they leave as they search for a good trap location. That would explain the picture labeled IMG_1548.JPG in this earlier post.

Kai and i planted a lot of peas recently (especially Kai). They are coming up all over and the second photo is one growing on a berm at basecamp. We inoculated them to make sure they'd fix some nitrogen and grow some good mulch before winter.

The third photo is of a sunchoke flower at basecamp. The are doing really well along the top of the berms. It is drier up there, but they don't usually seem to mind. They have multiplied to form a fairly full wall, extending the height of the berms another 5 or 6 feet. I guess they didn't bloom last year, and only a few clumps are blooming this year.
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Antlion sandtraps
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Pea
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Sunchoke flower
 
Fred Tyler
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The first photo is the Western conifer seed bug (Leptogolossus occidentalis). These are trying to get in all the buildings to find a warm place to overwinter, similar to the massing of Box-elder bugs we had in Minnesota. The adults and nymphs feed on the sap of cone seeds and buds. When disturbed, they will produce an unpleasant defensive smell.

The second photo is of some kind of mustard growing on a berm at basecamp. Any ideas as to species? I'll try to borrow Kai's ID book to figure it out later.

The third photo is Josh with bug-eyes on. He was moving some dirt for the berm shed and it was pretty windy. He grabbed these goggles to keep the sand from his eyes, and i thought he looked pretty awesome.

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Western conifer seed bug (Leptogolossus occidentalis)
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?
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Josh
 
Fred Tyler
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We had a frost the last two nights at basecamp and the lab. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.

The first photo is some pretty frost crystals that were on some saskatoon leaves outside Allerton Abbey.

The second photo is of a sad squash plant out side Allerton Abbey. It looked better before.

The third photo is of some arugula flowers at basecamp. It didn't mind the frost.
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frosty saskatoon
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sad squash
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Arugla
 
Fred Tyler
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The first photo is of a Valencia winter melon that was growing on the compost pile that heats the showers at basecamp. It is supposed to keep up to four months in the winter. I'm excited to try it, so i think we'll probably eat it before then.

The second photo is of a watermelon that didn't get frosted and it still holding on (also on the shower compost heater). Maybe it will ripen a bit more before it's too late.

I've been collecting materials for the upcoming Pyronauts Event. Last time i was in Missoula, i picked up the stuff in the third photo from Home ReSource, which is a cool non-profit that recycles construction materials. Some of them know of Paul and wanted to support alternative energy, so they gave us 50% off!
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Valencia Winter Melon
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Watermelon
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a deal
 
Fred Tyler
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Because of the construction happening at Allerton Abbey, i moved over to wofati 0.8. There are lots of different plants growing there even though it is just a short walk away. Here i have three photos of what looks to be Cutleaf Nightshade (Solanum triflorum) that was growing outside of 0.8. It is growing as a low ground cover in some fairly sandy soil. It doesn't seem to have been bothered by the recent frosts we had. Hopefully the fruit ripens enough to save some seed. The ripe berries are edible raw or cooked. The unripe berries and leaves of this plant are mildly toxic. In the past it was used in times of food shortage, so maybe it doesn't taste that good.
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Cutleaf Nightshade (Solanum triflorum) spreading form
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Cutleaf Nightshade (Solanum triflorum) flowers
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Cutleaf Nightshade (Solanum triflorum) fruit
 
Fred Tyler
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With the Innovators Event over, i can think about photos again.

The first photo is some of the oregano i brought from Minnesota in bloom. They started out as tiny seedlings and ended up doing pretty well growing next to the house. I kept trying to get a better picture of it, without any success. Now it is just about all done for the year. It has tons of tiny seeds which we are spreading around the lab.

The second photo is of some bear tracks on the road sorta between Wofati 0.8 and Ant Village. You can see some of the imprints the fur made in the fine dust on the road.

The third photo is a spider crossing the driveway by the berm shed. It looks like a darker version of the cat faced spider. I wonder if this one blends better with the ponderosa pine bark and the lighter spiders can hide better on the white paint of the house.
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oregano
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bear tracks
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spider
 
Fred Tyler
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I'm far behind in going through my photos. A bit before the Innovators Event, I moved from Allerton Abbey to Wofati 0.8. At the new place i saw a different plant community than over at the first Wofati. I took these about a month ago, so fall has advanced a bit since then.

These photos are all from the same day. The first two of the same aster in different growth stages. Still not sure on its ID.

The third photo is the massive trunk of a lamb's quarters that was growing on the roof of 0.8. It was at least 1.5 inches thick. This plant is pumping huge amounts organic matter into and onto our soil.
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aster going to seed
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aster in bloom
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giant lamb's quarters trunk
 
Fred Tyler
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Fall!

Leaves are mostly all down, but here are some photos from the peak.

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Fred Tyler
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The first photo is a pussytoes from the genus Antennaria, maybe from the species dimorpha or parvifolia. It is a low growing perennial and has been used to treat swelling.

The second photo is an unidentified lichen growing on an old stump.

The third photo is showing the changing fall colors of the Western Larch (Larix occidentalis). It is a deciduous coniferous tree that loses its needles every winter.
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Fred Tyler
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I drove with a friend to the nearby Jerry Johnson Hot Springs.

The first photo is one of the nice views along the road as it follows the West Fork Lolo Creek. Fall is fully underway!

The second photo is of Warm Springs Creek that the hot springs feed into. It has lots of pretty moss covered rocks. If the weather was warmer, i bet this would be a nice creek to walk in.

The third photo is one of the many mushrooms we found growing under the cedar and hemlock canopy. As the fall rains have shown up the mushrooms have started popping up everywhere. These are fairly distinctive, but i still couldn't ID them with google. Anyone know them?
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Fred Tyler
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I went with a friend to do a little hiking at the not too far away Glacier National Park. It was raining and the clouds blocked the full height of the mountains around us, but we still saw some pretty views.

The first photo is of Avalanche Creek where it cut some crazy rock formations on its way down the mountain.

The second photo is of Avalanche Lake, where you can just make out some massive mountains that were surrounding us.

The third photo is of the exposed roots of an old tree that had fallen along the Trail of the Cedars.
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Avalanche Creek - Glacier National Park
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Avalance Lake - Glacier National Park
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Exposed tree roots on the Trail of the Cedars - Glacier National Park
 
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Wow, thanks Fred!! I've been distracted with the Ants, and I've got to catch up on your intimate intros to all the marvels of the Lab, and adjacent lands! Truly enchanting :)
 
Fred Tyler
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Thanks Nancy!!

Here's a few more fungi from the rainy woods.

The first photo is Hemlock Varnish Shelf (Ganoderma tsugae). This one was all old and wrinkled. It is used medicinally for suspected anti-tumor properties.

The second is likely the Gem-studded Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatuma) This little puffball is probably sending out clouds of spores when it gets hit with a raindrop. If you get them while they are white inside, they are edible, but not at this stage.

The third photo is of Orange Jelly Fungus (Dacrymyces chrysospermus). It is a rather flavorless edible fungus. It is usually added to soups for its chewy texture. This one looked like little corn kernels growing out of a log.
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Hemlock Varnish Shelf (Ganoderma tsugae)
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Gem-studded Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatuma)
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Orange Jelly Fungus (Dacrymyces chrysospermus)
 
I carry this gun in case a vending machine doesn't give me my fritos. This gun and this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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