Into The Wild

August 18, 2013

This is not about Alaska.  If you go out almost anywhere these days you can find things are pretty wild in nature.  Dan and I went out to the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Palos Hills this morning.  We are fortunate to be so close to the forest preserve.

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The Little Red Schoolhouse.  We used to go in here and look at live snakes and turtles, along with taxidermy animals.  Now they have built a modern center next door and this building seems to be closed.  We did see a live snake in the new center, but then headed out to explore on the trails.

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A walk on the white oak trail led us by this spider working busily on his web.

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We stopped at the pond to look for snakes and bull frogs.  We did not see any snakes but saw a dozen or more bull frogs either with just their eyes above water or sitting on lily pads.  If you look you can see three pairs of eyes sticking up in this picture.

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We stopped to look at the little prairie meadow with tall grasses and flowers.  We noticed one blue flower blooming that I had seen blooming in my lettuce patch.  It seems to be some form of chicory.

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Here it is growing in our garden.  Looking online radicchio is one form of chicory that is grown for lettuce.  It is pretty bitter so we don’t eat it, though maybe with some research we could find some way to eat it, as it looks really healthy.  Have you seen blue flowers like this growing as weeds near you this time of year?

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We walked by a lake where we saw huge carp swimming around and a dark colored bird that looked like a loon, but was probably something else.  There were a lot of these pink flowers near the water.  They are called marsh mallows and I read that the roots were at one time used in making sweets.

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Marsh mallow with tiny pollinator.

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As we stood by the lake we noticed this little green frog at our feet.  Pretty coloring.

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Back in our yard things are pretty wild on the fennel plant, which has started blooming.  A variety of wasps love the fennel, as do many other flying creatures and ants.

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6 Responses to “Into The Wild”

  1. djdfr said

    Some salad greens flower readily, blue flowers for the chicory family which includes escarole and frisée (curly endive?). The chicory greens are nice in the winter after frost. Also they go better with a strong dressing such as a vinaigrette with mustard and garlic.

    • Thanks for the information. Maybe I will leave it in the garden and try it after a frost!

      • djdfr said

        Sometimes one blanches them, the escarole and frisée types. When the leaves are dry, a week or two before you want to eat them, tie them up in a bunch. This makes the inner leaves white and tender, not as bitter. They also sell coverings (cloches) for this.

        Got my beans picked and three small bags in the freezer. 🙂

  2. I like the post. Small correction…it’s usually the female spider that spins the web. 🙂

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