Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hopkins Island, Maine

Our good friends Ellen and Sam invited us to spend a few days at a summer house place on an island south of Brunnswick. It's been in Sam's family for generations and is now shared by members of a large extended family. I'm really grateful that they chose to share it with us!

So what do you do on a small island in Maine?
Well, if you're like me, you'd get really excited just to see some Bunchberry plants.

And these pretty flowers: Sharp leaved Aster,
And these - some sort of wild lettuce.

One single striped Maple showed off its pretty green bark,

Stately northern Red Oaks grew multistemmed

And pretty Heather grew in every crack.

And, if you are a boy, say aged 2-6, you'd find lots of interesting creatures:
 (I will have to send this picture to to get an ID.)

Daddy Longlegs (the house was full of them. We found out, rather by accident, that a Daddy Longleg-leg that is removed from its spider, keeps moving by itself for at least 5 minutes). 

Red backed Salamanders hiding under an old log

and you'd play play play all day long, explore and create and run and climb and get muddy and wet and happy.

Fort building

"Crab" made out of loose parts and clam shell

Exploring a small tidal pool with crabs and tiny fish

and you might like to try some Blueberries, Huckleberries, or Blackberries.

It seemed like the island consisted of two different habitat types. In the middle were woods with lots of spruce and pine and some red Maples and oaks, but by the shore it was more windy, salty and rocky, with plants that were thriving in such environment. There were some beautiful views.

When the tide was low the water receded and left a deep thick mud.

The fastest flutterer in the butterfly world might just be this one. Many pictures were taken before I had something to go on. Thankfully the Goldenrod proved so irresistible, she kept coming back. My guess is that this is a female Spring Azure, but I'd love to be corrected if necessary!

Something new to me: Indian Pipe flowers, growing entirely out of rotten logs under the surface.

One of the most Common plant on the island seemed to be Bayberry. I was constantly crushing some fragrant leaves and smelled them.

One enormous Rhodie grew by itself. I would have liked to see it in bloom.

Could this be Water Parsnip? There was only one.

I could see at least two different kinds of Goldenrods.

Cute as a button

I hope we can return some other time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The woods of Småland, part 2

The Swedish landscape is known to be very beautiful, and I truly appreciate it. These days in the country side made me keenly aware of my need for a more permanent place where I can have direct access to the nature I crave. At some point in my future there's a little cabin waiting for me! And it's the woodlands and the lakes that are calling me. Others might need the ocean or the mountains, but I need the tall trees, filtering sunlight through, calm lakes surrounded by dark deep green, and an occasional meadow buzzing with critters.
I have grown to love the New England landscape as well and probably know it better in a botanical sense since that's where I started studying nature. Coming back to my home country, using my new eyes and aquired skills,  finding the same friends, or similar, is a lot of fun. Finding others that are exclusive to either continent is exciting.

We were very fortunate with the weather and spent almost the entire time outside. I explored with my new camera and had never to venture too far to find something worth seeing.

The view over the fields and meadows surrounding the house. Fireweed grows everywhere.

Some sort of Fritillary butterfly - there are so many.

Lady's Mantle growing wild in the grass.

"Moose grass" or älggräs lights up ditches and roadsides. Not sure if the moose really likes this...  Surprised to find that it is indeed Meadowsweet, or Spirea Ulmaria. Never knew I would find it here.

The house again, from another view, tucked in next to the forest.



 and Chamomile.

Three different shrubs all growing in a wet ditch. At least one of them belongs to the Willow family.


Clovers come in many colors

 Yarrow - everywhere. Rölleka in Swedish. Queen Anne's lace as well.

And more of the Bedstraw - Gulmåra in Swedish.

Taking an afternoon walk. That's my sister-in-law with her daughter and my two boys.

 Purple Loosestrife, where it belongs. We call it Fackelblomster - Torch flower.

Swedish Solomon's Seal. Getrams!

And lots and lots of Heather.

I'm finding that this post is just getting longer and longer. I took about 600 pictures and I want to show almost all of them...
There will have to be a Sweden, part 3 as well, but before that, I might just pop in some pics from my recent trip to Maine - summer paradise by the ocean.