A Daily Walk With DietPower
Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!
This rare and delicate flower is, for me, a milestone of spring. I watch for it every year at a certain spot along Middle River Road. It appears suddenly, overnight, between April 15 and 20, and lasts only a couple of days before shedding its enamel-like petals. Then the leaves, still clasping the stem at this stage, spring open to soak up the woodland sun for a few weeks before they shrivel and die again.
The plant is bloodroot, so named because when cut at the roots, it bleeds red. Since it rarely grows in disturbed soil, I pray every year that no road crew will come along and dig in this spot.
Bloodroot propagates in two ways. One is by spreading rhizomes underground, sometimes carpeting huge areas (not here, alas). Another is by dropping seedpods shaped like tiny canoe paddles. Ants consider these a great delicacy: they cart the pods into their nests, where they eat the fleshy part and discard the seeds.
American Indians used bloodroot sap as a dye and an herbal remedy. Because it kills skin cells, it is sometimes prescribed by herbalists as a salve for warts, or even skin cancer. In fact, however, it can cause serious damage, leaving a large black scab and permanent scars. Products containing it are listed among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "125 Fake Cancer 'Cures' Consumers Should Avoid."
Bloodroot is pollenated by tiny bees and flies. Coincidentally, today is the first day this year that I've been bothered by insects during my walk. I got a gnat in my eye on Kilian Drive, and twice later had to blow flies out of the space under my clip-on sunglasses. One of those happened moments after I took this picture.
All of nature bows to the clock.
About this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too. —Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.
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All My Yesterdays
Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III
Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter
Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals
Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"
Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church
Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole
Friday, April 10: Easter flowers
Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel
Wednesday, April 8: April Snow
Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style
Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch
Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring
Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses
Friday, April 3: Forsythia
Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II
Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes
Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker
Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House
Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence
Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"
Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage
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