Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WIDOMSV II - Full Frontal!

You may be (and I certainly am) somewhat careful about putting your genitalia out where anyone can see them, but wildflowers, those lusty hermaphrodites of the plant kingdom, have no trouble whatsoever sticking their male and female parts out where anyone can stick his nose right in them. It's kinda ewww if you think about it, but they sure are pretty.
By the way, if you're looking for someone to blame about this post, where the only sex you're likely to see is hot pistil-on-stamen action, you can start with a certain nameless blogger. He's nameless only because I can't remember who it was. I thought I knew, but I checked his blog, and I can't find the post that told me that the little flower icon on my camera indicates the setting that allows close focus. So maybe it was somebody else. Whoever it was: thanks. Before you came along, all my close pictures of wildflowers were out of focus. Now, they're still nothing to write home about, but they're mostly in focus.
In fact, the post I read about the flower icon inspired me to dig out my camera's manual and read most of it. That thing has all sorts of features! Most of them I still won't use, but it's nice to know they're there. The close-focus feature is supposed to work best at a distance of between eight and fifteen inches. I assumed that meant ruler inches as opposed to gay.com/manhunt inches. That assumption seems to have worked out for the most part.
In case you're wondering, my favorite wildflower is the evening primrose, which is pictured in the very first picture in this entry, as well as twice more. I think. I've lost track a bit of the pictures. It's also kind of difficult for me to match up the various pictures with the narrative, and, after all, even I can't think of three paragraph's worth of shit to say about the thistle. Maybe if I were Scottish.
As so often happens, I missed prime wildflower season. I'm told that if I come back next year in early July, I can go and visit my first cousin once removed's farm and see over a hundred different species in her unmowed pastures. The farm is even more out of the way than my folks' place. Apparently, I have to keep an eye out for bears, but they aren't much of a problem. Usually.
A lot of the wildflowers I saw on this trip are pretty common. There are only a few here that I couldn't identify offhand, and I'm pretty sure I could find the names of some of those with only slight effort, but I don't really see the point. Wildflowers are all about enjoying the pretty and not at all about the need to classify.
As it happens, though, I was an absolute whiz at taxonomy when I was back in high school. I still remember that butterflies and moths are lepidopteras, but in the field, I very likely would be unable to distinguish the three phyla of worms. Sic transit gloria mundi.
I like the segmented worms best, but the roundworms have their merits. Flatworms have never been my cup of tea. I took most of these pictures on a single walk. Mostly I think they're pretty, but some of them mock me. The blackberries mock me most of all. The blackberry patches of suburban Maryland were once abundant, but now they are rare. I expended a great deal of family capital and additional effort locating the best blackberry patches within fifteen miles of where I live, and I never even got over to see them this year. Last year I picked several gallons of blackberries, but this year, none. This pains me beyond both reason and expression.
Still, the blackberry pain is nothing compared to the current offspring-related agony. EFU is leaving for college in less than two weeks, and I am a complete wreck. Seriously, at any given moment, I am within fifteen seconds of tears. It is a wonderful thing to have children that you're so proud of, but it sure makes it tough to say goodbye to them. Eighteen years of care and effort, and then they're thrilled to leave you. I try to console myself with the notion that I have done a terrific job raising them, but it doesn't help. It helps that I have an office door I can close, and I'm sure that once I've said goodbye to EFU, I'll get over it. I try not to whinge about it too much, since it can't be helped, and since I do want her to get out there and be happy, but it is hard, hard, hard to have to say goodbye.
We did have a terrific time on this vacation, though. Apparently, I like spending time with my kids even more than I like chasing cock. (Thank Cthulhu, I don't have to give up either.) I'm not sure whether that means I'm a decent human being or just that I have a testosterone deficiency. Let's hope it's the former.
It's just possible that I took too many pictures of flowers. I took a few pictures of cultivated flowers, too, but they largely didn't come out as well. People in rural Pennsylvania take both their flower and vegetable gardens very seriously. It used to be (and perhaps still is) that the only place Amish women had yellow was in their gardens. It was considered too frivolous a color to wear or quilt with.

EFU and I moved a dresser out of my folks' massive garage and back into the house. There were two quilts in that dresser, but they were in pretty bad shape. Mom wanted to throw them away, but I insisted on at least trying to put them through the washing machine first. I had to run them through a second time, with bleach. I think one of them may have survived. I still have a couple of quilts that my grandmother made me.
When my (other) grandmother died, there were many ill feelings among her surviving children. My parents, apparently, are worried about the same thing and they discussed their will with me on this trip. My older brother is currently in the will as the executor, but my sister would prefer that they name me. My brother is singularly ill-suited to execute a will, and I explained why that's the case to my parents, but I'm not sure they'll pay attention to what I said. They don't want to hurt my brother's feelings. I don't expect that there will be much of an estate in the long run. The only things I would really want are some pictures and my mother's cast-iron skillets. My brother and sister will need the money a lot more than I will, if there's any money left.
The Black-eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland. Sometimes I saw large patches of it in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania should keep its filthy hands off our state flower. I don't know what the Pennsylvania state flower is, but the flower I saw most was Queen Anne's Lace, which was everywhere.
When I was not quite a teenager, we took a family vacation to a National Park, where a ranger gave a demonstration and talk on edible plants. He took the flowers from Queen Anne's Lace, dipped them in pancake batter, and fried them on a skillet. They taste of carrots. If you pull up a stem of Queen Anne's Lace, you will see a root that resembles a tiny carrot. I believe that it, too, is edible, but I am not sure, so don't eat it until you check with a more authoritative source. Carrots are not that expensive, anyway. Also, you should never eat wild mushrooms unless you are an expert who can confidently identify the variety.
I used to have an interest in wild edible plants. You can eat the roots of cattails, for example. I don't know what they taste like, though. I believe the roots are a form of tuber. Potatoes are also very inexpensive. Did I mention that eating wild mushrooms that have not been identified by an expert mycologist is a painfully bad idea?
Evening primrose has edible parts, too, I believe. In fact, you can buy evening primrose oil as a nutritional supplement. I think it must be made by pressing the seeds.
Many other flowers are also edible. Nasturtium petals are often used in salads, and most forms of violets are edible. Some people candy them. Many rose petals are also edible. There is a fascinating recipe for quails in a rose petal sauce in Like Water for Chocolate. I think every novel should have recipes at the start of each chapter.

I can see how recipes at the start of each chapter might not be a great idea for, say, Kafka. Or for most gay porn novels. But I reckon with the gay porn, you could just have recipes for drinks.

I, for one, would be much more likely to buy pornographic fiction if it included a good recipe for margaritas. Or even for a mai tai.


DiamondFistWerny said...

Wow, beautiful pictures; with a very misleading title :P

Raybob said...

Umbelliferae always get me hot. Well, Primulus, too.