The good camera
Each time we take the bike out Joanna will ask, So which camera are you going to bring along? And I’ll say, The good camera is too heavy and we never see anything interesting while on the bike anyway. I’ll bring the Point-n-Shoot though, just in case. And she’ll draw out the phrase as she responds,You’ll be sorry. Well, we took the bike out this past Saturday and on the return leg of our out-n-back we stopped to admire some beautiful ferns, mosses, and horsetails growing in the adjacent wood. The light was just right and danced among the droplets of dew which had yet to evaporate from the primitive plants. Dam, I should have brought the good camera, I said. Joanna did not respond. We would be shearing sheep the next day so we were up early and off for a walk along the same stretch of creek we had passed the day before, but this time I had the good camera along. Joanna is so good to accompany me on these expeditions; but I feel bad for her because almost immediately upon arrival I promptly abandon her. I am lucky that she brings Mr. Darcy (her faithful Keeshond) along for company. I was delighted that the light was good once more and the dew had yet to depart. I spent an hour or so crawling around for just the right vantage. I should say that I like neither ticks (especially Ixodes, the kind that carry Lyme Disease) nor Poison Ivy and I came home with my share of both. Such sacrifice. Horsetails are interesting organisms indeed. Although they are vascular plants, in that they have conducting elements, they are primitive and more closely related to Ferns and their allies than they are to either the Angiosperms (the flowering plants) or Gymnosperms (conifers), for example. Their vertical stems are photosynthetic and are interrupted at regular intervals by whorls of branches, not leaves. Fellow bloggers at Portraits of Wildflowers, and even at Duck? Starfish? But … 23? and Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything may appreciate the trivia I dug up at Wikipedia which suggested that the very regular decline in spacing of the whorls, toward the tip of the plant, may have inspired John Napier’s discovery of logarithms. A very close look at the nodal positions will reveal the tiny leaves which are pressed firmly to the stem. Horsetails are also known as Scouring Rush because their stems accumulate silica in concentrations which exceed those of the surrounding environment. Apparently the plant has a particular need for this material with the fortunate side consequence that it is not much bothered by herbivores, insect pests, or fungal pathogens. The specimens below are vegetative and sterile and develop from rhizomes within the soil. The fertile, reproductive shoots will also develop from the rhizome and will produce spores which germinate to form a gametophyte which will produce egg and sperm which will fuse to form the sporophyte you see here. I especially like this shot because of the good view of the dew and its subtle bokeh. Joanna observed that the little plants (just 4 – 6″ tall) look like mature trees – scale and reference are everything.