First Bloodroot of the Year!

Putting close to 15 miles on the trails this glorious weekend, I was noticing just how delayed spring was this year compared with the past several.  Harbinger of Spring is about at its peak at the St. Louis latitude, and Spring Beauty and Cutleaf Toothwort are a few days to a week before their peak will be here.  But, it is coming.  I saw thousands of these plants pushing there way up through the leaf litter along with Dutchman’s Breeches (very cute little buds, I must say).  I finally tried the rhizome of the Toothwort today while on a hike at LaBarque Creek C.A. near Eureka.  A member of the mustard family, the Toothwort’s small, fleshy and crisp rhizome has a tooth-like appearance, hence its common name.  Another colloquial name associated with this plant is Pepper root, also in description of the rhizome.  I found the taste to have hints of horseradish and green onion, with a little peppery heat.  The perfect size and flavor makes me think it would be perfect in a variety of dishes, including stir-fry and salads.  But since it would require killing a lot of plants, I doubt I will make a habit of it.

As I was coming to the last mile or so of my hike today, I thought I would once again strike out on my first Bloodroot of the season.  But, just in time, I saw a single, fully-opened bloom a couple of feet from the creek.  This was the only subject I photographed all weekend, but it was still a grand couple days for a walk.

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“First Bloodroot of the Year!″

Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, ISO 200,  f/22, 1/15 sec
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It’s Spring Again. Everybody Know it’s Spring Again.

“Renewal”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. ISO 250,  f/11, 1/13 sec

“To the girls and boys and people above, This is the time to fall in love”

Sorry, I always turn on the Biz Markie this time of year.  It wouldn’t be spring without him.

This image and post is dedicated to my stepfather, Wally, who bought me my first camera about 20 years ago.  Wally has a birthday this month.  Happy Birthday!  It was a Pentax K-1000, a manual-only film camera in which I learned the basics of exposure.  In my opinion, this body is one of the best values of this class and generation of camera available and still underrated.  It’s too bad they don’t make a digital version of this camera today.  Having a manual-only digital body would something else.  I use manual mode about 95% of the time anyway, so I guess it wouldn’t be a big difference.

I took this photo on a recent hike in the Missouri Ozarks.  This bush must have had two dozen of these emerging leaf buds, each with a drop or two from gutation.  This phenomenon is seen when plants are growing in high humidity or in very saturated soils, like many parts of our region have been experiencing lately.  Between the low light and the high macro magnification getting a sharp image of the foreground subject was tricky.  I pulled out the reflectors to bring a little more light to the situation, but this only helped a little.