It will be a long time before we see anything green or blooming in the Northeast.

Winter is a good time to look for interesting stalks and seed pods in the snow.

Well, this plant is not native to New York, and I think, it’s more interesting than beautiful.

I’ve seen it, in gardens, roadsides and woods, all my life.

Wikipedia indicates that Lunaria annua is naturalized, but native to the Balkans and SW Asia.

In both Europe and Asia, the common names refer to money:  silver dollar plant, the Pope’s money, coins of Judas, etc.

We’ve always called it “honesty.”

In winter, the stalks resemble an abandoned optician’s shop, vandalized by the winter, with old wire-rimmed spectacles, gone cloudy, or missing lenses.

It’s a tough, almost shrubby plant, that needs no care, and produces nice purple flowers, and self-seeds reliably.

The seed pods are brownish, flat, and oval – -you can see one hanging on in the pictures, darkened by exposure.

But when the outer layers drop off, it’s the inner part of the seed pod that a lot of people like to gather – – almost pearly, like discs of translucent parchment or paper.

In the last shot above, the membrane is shredded by the winter weather.  (Tattered honesty, this is New York, after all)

I think the last shot looks a bit sinister, like a display for “Sweeney Todd, Eye Doctor”

If you gather it in the fall, when it’s good and dry, you can slip off the outer covers, scatter the seeds, and bring in the money.

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Upstate New York, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York. January. Honesty, a bit tattered.

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The fallen tree seems to be a clear message – don’t try walking up the icy stream bed.

Never seen this stream completely frozen before.

Even listening very carefully, I could not hear the faintest burbling sound under the ice.

Even the places that look like water, are just clear pools of ice, on top of the milkier layers.

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York ~ January ~ ~ Finger Lakes Forest ~ ~ 5 °F.

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Clean Waters, Finger Lakes, FLX, Ithaca, Nature, NY, photography, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. December. Taughannock Falls. 7℉

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Boy, what a difference an hour makes.

I was looking at snapshots taken some time ago, on my cellphone.

I think both of these pictures are a bit awkward – –

but I also thought they were interesting, because of the change in atmosphere.

They were taken just a couple of yards from each other, same day, one hour apart.

The first picture looks “seasonal” and almost festive, nice red winterberries (thanks Linda & Steve for identifying!)

Reminds me of cranberries, which I love.

An hour later, the swamp presents quite a different aspect, kinda spooky.

Reminds me of a ham dinner with too much cranberry relish – a portrait of the atmosphere in my stomach.

The dark blobs on the dead trees in the background, just barely visible, are nests in a blue heron rookery heronry.

BTW, a lot of people, none of them birders, have told me that herons kill off the trees they roost in.

I don’t know if herons seek out dead, mostly limbless trees, because they’re somewhat awkward fliers, and can’t navigate through branches, or if it’s true, what the old folks around here say, that by pooping on the trees day after day, they actually kill them off.

I’m not sure how that would be fatal, but it certainly seems like it would be discouraging.

I remember reading about a primitive tribe, that rather than trying to cut down trees, to clear a field for cultivation, would get up very early each morning, and whack the tree with a club, while yelling at it.

The theory was that the pre-dawn shock killed the tree.

I figure the tribespeople were eventually severing the phloem layer, girdling it, and that’s what killed the tree, but who knows.

Doesn’t it seem an awful lot like waking up to talk radio in the USA?

Caveman thinking & poo-flinging in a dismal swamp.

Heron excrement, Stone Age tree-clubbing, or paranoid rabble-rousers — may not be fatal, but it’s surely discouraging.

As one rookery tree said to another — all this crap just has to be taking years off our lives.

On a happier note, from the album “In My Tribe”

Here’s 10,000 Maniacs with Natalie Merchant “Like the Weather”

Obviously not taken in December! But wouldn’t they make nice Xmas tree decorations?  Same location, during the summer – – I think I mentioned some time ago, seeing buttonbush – – this is the area  where I always see it.  Sterling, NY, on the shore of Lake Ontario.

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, NY, Ontario, United States, Upstate New York, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York. December. Sterling Swamp

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You know when you’ve reached the point of post-Thanksgiving saturation.

Walking near a beaver pond, and seeing turkey noodle soup.

And what looks like one stray cranberry.

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, food, hiking, Nature, NY, photography, Thanksgiving, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. Turkey Noodle Soup

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Autumn, Halloween, Nature, photography

Pictures of Upstate New York. The twisted tree.

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“Indian Pipes” or “Ghost Plant”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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red newt.  my friend here, and the fungus photos, taken with an iPhone 5s

 

 

A walk in the woods today, turned out to be a macrofungi field trip.  Still very damp, even mucky in places, after getting eight inches of rain in recent weeks.  All these pictures, with the exception of the second one, were taken within a few hundred feet of each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Ithaca, Nature, NY, photography, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. July. A Rose by any other name

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