Finger Lakes Farmland

I took a hike around my dad’s 200 acre farmland in the Finger Lakes.  It is about 1/3 corn, 2/3 “wild” but maintained (rotational mowing, feeding plots to attract deer, woods for harvest, planted trees).  I had been expecting to find some great plants here, but with all my walking I was a bit disappointed.  There was a lot of goldenrod (N) and multiflora rose (A VHI), lots of tall grass, quite a bit of aster (N), but it seemed lacking in the kind of wonderful diversity I was finding in the woods near the lake.  Maybe I’ve just been there-done that and the more I find, the less there is to find new.  But perhaps it is because of the activities that go on there.  For instance, one abandoned field, about 4 acres, was almost entirely oats and Canada thistle (A).  Next to it was a field almost entirely in smartweed (A I).  This is an old timey farm with small fields and frequent hedgerows, which my dad defends and adds to, but even in the hedgerows I wasn’t finding the stuff I’d found on the No Tan Tiki Trail, for instance.  There were plenty of apple and hawthorne trees, but I’m not sure I saw a single dogwood or viburnum.

And multi-multi-multiflora rose.  My dad has been ripping that out of the fields when he mows, pulling it out by tractor with a chain around the base of the plant.  He pushes it off to the edge of the field, but I read somewhere that a dead multiflora bramble makes a good tree-tube substitute, to keep deer away from your planted trees.

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Sharp-lobed Hepatica

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) N

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) N

Another walk in the same woods path near my dad’s lakefront property.  Not much new, but noticed this plant and think I’ve ID’d it correctly, though had no flowers to help.

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Ripping out ivy

English Ivy cleared from bank, piled on ground to die

English Ivy cleared from bank, piled on ground to die

I decided that the English Ivy might not be so bad to tackle if I did it a chunk at a time.  So I started with the chunk that is southernmost, attempting to expand its range.  All the area that is dead leaves in the photo was covered.  You can see the edge of the blue-green ivy patch in the rightmost tenth of the photo – everything else you see is natives.

Neighbors stopped by to ask why I didn’t like English Ivy.  I told them I love how it holds the bank and looks nice in winter, but wasn’t so crazy about how it climbs the trees and smothers anything small that isn’t woody, and it was starting to climb on our buildings and cover the stairs.

Over a few weeks I have been trying to get it off the ironwoods, which it seems to particularly like to climb.  Maples, not so much.  First I cut the ivy stems all around the ironwood trunks, making sure to pry the cut ends away from each other.  Nothing – the ivy above the cut still looked healthy.  So I ripped off a 5 foot section of ivy and threw it away.  Nothing!  Maybe the winter will do it in without roots.


Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) N

I gathered some ripe (purple) Pokeweed seeds from a neighbor’s plant to put in the area across the driveway I’m trying to bring back native.  A lot of people hate pokeweed because it’s pushy, but birds love it and I think it’s beautiful and would love to see it thriving.  The area I put it in has a small sunny part bounded by lake, road and shade, so I don’t expect it will spread much.

Male Cardinal feeds hop hornbeam seeds to baby, croppedWhile I was working, I heard incessant chirping.  I figured my cat was annoying someone by his presence so I went to go see, but he was nowhere near – it was a baby Cardinal up in an ironwood tree hopping around following its dad and demanding to be fed.  The poor dad was feeding it ironwood seeds as fast as he could.  The next weekend I saw them doing the same thing in a black willow.

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Interloken Trail near Teeter Pond

Interloken Trail 4, 8 x 10 Pastel

I went plant-hunting along this trail with my dad and two dogs.  My daughter and I like to camp here.  Here’s a pastel I once did of this pond.

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No Tan Tiki Trail

No Tan Tiki Trail

No Tan Tiki Trail

I took a walk on the No Tan Tiki Trail in the Finger Lakes National Forest.  It seems funny to me that this is New York’s only national parkland.  Not the Catskills, not enormous Adirondack Park – those are state.  FLNF isn’t very big or awe-inspiring, being mostly pretty pastureland and woods.  I had to dodge the cow-pies as I walked through the fields, but I had a great time.

Plenty of invasives here, some more widespread than others, but nothing was completely taking over any area.  There was a lot of diversity and everything seemed to be playing nicely.  It has been interesting for me as I walk to notice the different areas where different plants thrive – completely different communities depending on swampiness, amount of light, direction of sun exposure.

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Woods Walk Again

Along the woods path a week later.  It is very useful to watch the plants at their different phases and get used to seeing them without flowers, here come the buds, now they’re blooming, oh, there are the seeds.  I only wish I’d started earlier.

I’ve never really paid much attention to ferns, but this time I made a point of it.  I believe I saw four types, I believe all four of the ones mentioned in Field Guide to the Cayuga Lake Region.  I don’t have the guidebook on hand and don’t feel all that confident with the last two anyway, but the book pointed out that one of the ferns was twice-divided and the other thrice-divided.  I apologize in advance for confusion.  So the stem, one leaf, comes out of the ground, and “Fern, twice compound” shows one stem (no main stem shown in “thrice compound”).  Off of each stem comes not one leaf, like on most plants such as maples or zucchini, but a dozen or so leaflets; “twice” shows about 8 of these, “thrice” I’ve zoomed in to mostly show just one.  Most compound leaves stop here, but these ferns keep going.  “Twice” has divided each of these 8 or so leaflets into 16 or so sub-leaflets, which you see are cut in almost all the way to the leaflet’s stemlet.  The photo of “thrice” shows about 20 sub-leaflets.  “Twice” stops here – those sub-leaflets are toothed, but nowhere near to the sub-stemlet.  But I think “thrice” has one more division into about 12 sub-sub-leaflets.  Maybe simpler, try counting the number of stems which have leaflets divided almost to their base (I don’t mean the total number on the leaf, I mean getting smaller and smaller like a fractal), keeping in mind that the main stem on “thrice” is not showing.  I count 2 and 3, respectively.

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Up the Road

I took a walk up the country road leading down to my dad’s beach property to learn more about what is growing in the area, and what natives might like to join us on the beach.  This is some of what I found:



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