The goldenrod is in bloom and with it, for many, comes the sneezing and sniffling and all that comes with the all too familiar summer/fall allergies. Don't go chopping down that goldenrod just yet, goldenrod has gotten a bad rap due to the silent green flowers that grow nearby on the common & great ragweed plant!
Goldenrod's pollen is too heavy to travel through the air causing allergies, in fact, only about .1% of people are actually allergic to it. Ragweed on the other hand is the late summer allergy villain growing in the same areas as goldenrod, blooming at the same time, but going unnoticed due to the flowers that blend in to the greenery around.
It's been a beautiful week in Wayne County. Big puffy clouds fill the sky blue sky, the breeze catching the grasses - swaying with the rhythm of the Earth.
Out at Funk the water was low enough we could walk all the way down to the swamps - a roseate spoonbill (Florida bird) was spotted in the area, we didn't end up seeing it, but still it's fun to look.
Interesting finds every trip to Barnes Preserve (and I've been working on my newest mini series - those of you who remember my gallery show Out Of The Toy Box know what I'm talking about... details to come).
At the bog things are beginning the journey into golds and crimsons... mind the sumac but take a venture out, you won't be disappointed!
Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area
Brown's Lake Bog
Exploring after a storm the forest glows.
Perseid Meteor Shower
Out to a dark corridor to watch the meteor shower we watched a lovely show including the fog moving across the water, pushing against us, only to clear once more, making way for the shooting stars.
It hardly seems possible but it's true... we have reached the one year mark observing the Barnes Preserve overlook area. This last month brings with it signs of change, the jewelweed is dying back, the Virginia knotweed is standing tall, the fungus is growing strong, the hickory nuts are ripening and the squirrels are having a feast! This is such a special place, enjoy the gif moving through the year right in front of your eyes!
We've all been there, you wake up full of energy, ready to hit the trails, but don't have a hiking partner. Or after a long day of work, you just want to go walk off the stressful day before heading home, but again, not fully sure about going alone.
Solo hiking can be an incredibly rewarding experience, free from distractions you can really see all the plants, trees, animals around, you can feel the breeze, take your time, and set your own pace.
Follow these few tips and head into the woods with confidence.
Before you leave
When on the trail
I hope this post inspires and empowers you to not let fear stand in your way of enjoying the great outdoors! Awareness + preparedness = stress free solo hiking experiences.
The past few days I've noticed
an influx of birds at the feeder.
One bird in particular
oversized, under developed,
gaping with its beak ajar.
The cowbird won again
Ever diligent the sparrow
teaches, feeds, raises,
with an open heart.
The adoptive parent
who never had a clue
but carried on
just the same.
Seeing as how by the end of the month I forget many of the details of each hike, perhaps a weekly recap would be better.
This is an amazing time to be out in the woods, just remember your mosquito spray!
August 6th - Walton Woods
August 7th - The Wilderness Center
Ah, the Wilderness Center - one of the many places I so enjoy being but rarely get to. Noah and I took part of some volunteer opportunities the past couple of weeks, so since Tuesday was so nice we decided to finally take a stroll around. We did a 'sampling' of trails, and even though we walked maybe 3/4mile, we saw so many great things. The prairie was full of blooms, butterflies, and insects. The forest was full of ferns, flowers, and summer scents. The ponds were active with dragonflies, butterflies, and looking into the water a whole other world alive.
This place is so incredibly special, I need to make a point to get there more often!
August 7th - Kenwood Trail WMP
Pardon the poor quality of photos - after a meeting I took a quick stroll at the new
Kenwood section of Wooster Memorial Park - it's a great easy trail for when you want to get outside but don't have a lot of time and don't want to get too dirty or sweaty. Now that it's officially open, I highly recommend checking it out! ADA friendly!
Before we move on, let's take a moment to take a look at what July looks like. Photos from all around the county all through the month.
"August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a matchflame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away."
- Elizabeth Maua Taylor
Have you noticed the shift? Maybe not consciously, maybe it's a longing, a nostalgic impression, that lingers just out of reach - humming from the recesses in back of the mind. The sun has shifted in such a way that the afternoon light is darker, a harvest yellow, on the breeze an occasional sharp chill slides up the spine only to disappear moments later from the warmth of the summer sun. Autumn is not here yet, I'm not wishing the time away, but there is a gear shift into late summer happening. This is one of my favorite times of year. Undefinable by any specific occurrence or event, just a hint of a taste.
Maybe you've noticed I haven't posted for a while, or maybe you haven't. It has been a big month in our world. Weddings (one as photographers, one as guests), family vacation, opening a new trail at Wooster Memorial Park, volunteering here and there, and maintaining the garden at the farm. A good July, just quite big.
Vacation brought up a number of thoughts, concerns, and questions pertaining to parks, the public, management, and stewardship. I haven't settled on a personal stance but I'd love to hear other's opinions about the situation...
Our vacation was to Hocking Hills (yep, you already know where I'm going with this) - amazing hills, caves, formations, waterfalls, plant life - it's a natural paradise right here in Ohio, if you've ever been you know the grandiose of the area. The conundrum is adding the public to the land. For years the sentiment is that Hocking Hills is being loved to death, I almost question if it's loved or just a great background for instagram posts. How many guests to the area sit still to breathe in the scene without use of a phone or camera, how many take the time to notice the delicate orchids along the path, or to watch the millipedes make their journey up the rock face. How many contemplate the lifecycle of the Earth, how the glaciers changed the face of our state, then how the Native Americans made use of these shelters and waterways. Is it loved or is visiting there kicking a corpse (dark but it does upset me)?
Common thoughts on the situation -
Is it because it's free - if admission were charged would people disrespect the space?
If no one knew of the area would anyone care to preserve that which they don't know?
Is it an important space to inspire people to gain an appreciation for nature, potentially moving them to become stewards of nature protecting lands in their own area?
Is it the responsibility of those who love the area to educate and inspire others to be good to the land?
As I prefer being proactive to being a defeatist I'll go with the last two. It is important to go to these areas BUT education and stewardship must be accentuated. Educating people on what they're seeing and how they can make a positive impact on such areas is (at least in my naive mind) more viable than closing off areas to everyone all together (although admission would be a good way to make this happen, and then you get the people who actually care).
Always lots to think about in this great world of ours.
Discover new and interesting things about the world around you.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who spends her time exploring and learning about the unique history and nature in North East Ohio. She lives with her husband and cat in Wooster where she is also a family portrait and nature photographer as well as grows and cans her own vegetables. When she's not doing that, yoga and embroidery (not at the same time) are other things she enjoys.