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Perfect Harmony

For #joinindaily LOOKING UP, by +Johnny Wills.

Also for #treetuesday +Tree Tuesday, curated by +David R Robinson & +Ralph Mendoza.

Test driving a friends' 300mm by photographing this lovely lichen draped high in the branches of a cedar tree. #FultonBranchGlades #OuachitaNationalForest

I want a room in these colors.
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Flame Flower (Phemeranthus calcaricus)

I would love to shoot this baby open, but I'd have had to wait around until about 3 p.m., when it opens! "Phemeranthus" means, basically, "one day flower," so this is a true ephemeral.

This sweet bud makes its appearance here to remind you that tomorrow is #wildflowerwednesday. So share your own wildflower shots and tag me, +Bette Kauffman, along with #wildflowerwednesday. Share a story, too.

This shot has many stories to tell for me! I was at #FultonBranchGlades in the #OuachitaNationalForest near Mound Ida, Ark., Sunday a.m. on the last of three terrific field trips this past weekend. +Eric Hunt had already headed home, but +Michael Weatherford and a handful of diehards of the Arkansas Native Plant Society capped the annual fall meeting with a few hours at this distinctive site. And for this particular field trip, I was test driving Mike Weatherford's 300mm Pentax lens. It's a dream lens and I'm about to order one for me from the award money I received from my university a month ago. Many thanks, Mike, for trusting me with your lens!

And this awesome little plant grows right out of rock, or so it seems! I suppose there's a bit of dirt and water in a crack there somewhere, but it can't be much. All of that blue-gray you see in the background is shale. We were in a large area of shale and rocks surrounded by a cedar glade, with a creek at the bottom of a reasonably gentle slope. The plants were so unusual!

The shooting was great on all of the field trips, so I have tons of stuff to go thru--an embarrassment of riches, indeed.
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*I see you. Do you see me?

Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis) on the Ouachita Trail in the #OuachitaNationalForest near Mena, Ark.

For #hqspanimals +HQSP Animals, curated by +Andy Smith, +Nicol Eh & +Shannon Adelson.

+Eric Hunt +Michael Weatherford
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Dwarf Yellow Sulphur (Nathalis iole)

For #onthewingsofbutterflies +On the Wings of Butterflies!, curated by +Sharon Jeannette & +Cicely Robin Laing.

Thanks, +Michael Weatherford, for allowing me to test drive your 300mm! I'm pretty happy with the result.
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Heart Light

I swear, this Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) looked like it had a Christmas light tucked in its throat! It was mostly in shade, but was catching and magnifying the light just right to have this wonderful glow. In the #CharltonRecreationArea of the #OuachitaNationalForest near Hot Springs, Ark.

This is my #wildflowerwednesday belated reminder post! It is the last week of the semester, and I am kind of buried. But... really looking forward to next's week's adventure. Monday I'm off to *IdlewildExperimentStation near Clinton, La., for a 3-day plant identification workshop. This area is northeast of Baton Rouge and I have never been there, so I'm really excited at the prospect of some new-to-me plants.
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Eastern Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)

So, I had to share another from #MiddleForkBarrens near Hot Spring Village, Ark., so I can continue the tick saga. But first, yes, tomorrow is #wildflowerwednesday. And even though I have been missing in action the last couple of days, and will continue to be most of the next 10 days or more, yet I will try to come by tomorrow night to see your wildflowers in their natural habitat.

Middle Fork Barrens is a beautiful place, do not get me wrong. Perhaps the richness of the habitat accounts also for the richness of the critters? In any case, I knelt on the ground. More than once. And put my camera bag on the ground. Lots of times. And I apparently brought home a shitload (if you'll excuse my French) of ticks. The field trip was Sunday morning, and I then drove about about 3 and a half hours to get home. Chatted with the pet sitter for 20 minutes, and she took a tick off the back of my t-shirt.

At that point, I sent her on her way and headed to the shower. Took four more ticks off my body, only one of which was attached to the skin. Gently pulled it loose, and didn't worry too much about it.

Wednesday evening, I found four around my waist. Not sure where they were all that time. I'm suspecting the jeans I wore that day, but in fact, I did not wear those jeans in Middle Fork Barrens. I wore them on the way to Hot Springs Friday and I did stop and take a couple of ditch photos, but I found NO TICKS on myself Friday evening. So... I have no idea how ticks got on those jeans, or even if they did, or if they were hiding out elsewhere like in my car or somewhere in my house, but they jumped me Wednesday and bit me good. And drew good blood. All four but especially two.

I called the doctors office Thursday and because we did not know how long the ticks had been on me, and because by then I had been bitten a total of 5 freakin' times, the doctor put me on doxycycline.

TWO DAYS LATER I am sitting at my desk in my office, reach back and scratch the back of my arm just below my right shoulder, and end up with ANOTHER FUCKING TICK in my hand, this one also having bitten me. That was Friday. Today is Tuesday, and several of these tick bights are driving me out of my mind with itching. WTF????
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Ok, I have to reshare this to continue the saga of the ticks. Last night, sitting on the couch with my computer in my lap doing my #wildflowerwednesday curatorial gig, I stopped to scratch an itch, only to find another tick in my fingers--this one a bloody one because I had just dislodged him from feeding on my belly. In horror, I jumped up and stripped off clothes. (Sorry for the sorry-assed imagery, but.... truth must be told!) I found three more ticks, all around my waist. All four had bitten me, but only two had gotten to a blood vessel big enough to leave a little blood-filled hematoma under the skin. Yuck!

So that's a total of 9 ticks. But here's the interesting question. Where were the 4 I found on ME last night between Sunday morning when I was in the tick-infested natural area and Wednesday night when I found them? Because I promise you, they weren't on my body that whole time! But I do believe they were under my waistband for a number of hours in order to be embedded to the extent they were.

Theory 1. After being in this tick-infested natural area, I hopped in my car and drove almost 4 hours home. They got off me in the car and got back on me in the car, but.... why not Monday or Tuesday instead of Wednesday?

Theory 2. The jeans I wore Wednesday were the same jeans I wore on the drive TO Hot Springs Friday afternoon. Since I did some roadside photography, the ticks got on my pants then and when I put them back on Wednesday--NOT having washed them--the ticks jumped me. But.... why not Friday evening? I wore those pants until late evening. Why no ticks on me when I took them off? Would ticks even still be alive 5 days later when I put the pants on again?

Theory 3. ?????

And now that I have been bitten by 5 ticks in the last 5 days, 3 superficial skin bites and 2 bloody bites, should I be worried? Should I take any preventive measures (besides scrubbing the bites immediately upon finding them with soap, which I've already done)?
Violet Lady Blue-Eyed Mary (Collinsia violacea)

Or so that's what I thought +Eric Hunt called this little beauty. That's what I wrote in my notes! And this little beauty is calling you to #wildflowerwednesday this week. So excited to be home from a terrific weekend in Arkansas with a whole new batch of wonderful wildflower photos.

So tomorrow is #wildflowerwednesday and you can join the fun. Just share a wildflower in its natural habitat and tag me, +Bette Kauffman. And tell the story of the shot. I love the stories!

So here's my story. We are walking through #MiddleForkBarrens, a lovely natural area near Hot Springs Village, Ark. I'm lagging behind the group as usual, seeing and photographing all kinds of species that are new to me. +Eric Hunt is leading this field trip, and as I'm catching up to the group, I swear he called this "Violet Lady." If he said the Latin name, I didn't get it into my notes, and now, searching the internet, I can't find a shred of evidence that a flower of that name exists in Arkansas! So, Eric, ID please!

But that's not all. As Eric is walking away, and just as I put my knees to the ground, he says, "Don't get down on the ground. This place is full of ticks!" Well, it was too late. And it wouldn't have mattered anyway. So later that night, home in Louisiana, I took 5 ticks off my body. All in a days fun!
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Bird's Foot Violet (Viola pedata)

Tomorrow is #wildflowerwednesday! And it is entirely appropriate that I share this, I believe my last wildflower from #DevilsEyebrow in Arkansas, because this weekend I'll be back in "The Natural State" collecting a whole new batch from sites I don't yet know about. It's the spring meeting of the #ArkansasNativePlantSociety, and +Eric Hunt will again be a field trip leader.

After the Devil's Eyebrow experience..., well, I was in about as bad a shape as this somewhat bedraggled violet when I took this shot. We were struggling.. I was struggling back up a long and steep gravelly path when we encountered this little pretty growing right out in the middle of the path. But even with "bites" out of the petals, it was intensely blue with particularly dark throat markings. Moreover, it was my only encounter so far with bird's foot violet.

So... share us something tomorrow, specifically wildflowers in their natural habitat, and tell the story of the shot. Don't forget to tag me, +Bette Kauffman and #wildflowerwednesday.
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Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor) with Algae

For #shroomshotsaturday +ShroomshotSaturday, curated by +Sabeena LoBello, +Patricia A , & +Keith Elliott.

On the #BayouBartholomewTrail near Pine Bluff, Ark.
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