Summer Aster

Growing along the Gorge Trail

It is 9:30 am on a July morning Robert H. Treman Park, Ithaca, Tompkins County, Ithaca, New York,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Mystery Mushroom

A red beauty growing along the Gorge Trail

It is 9:30 am on a July morning Robert H. Treman Park, Ithaca, Tompkins County, Ithaca, New York,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

A Gorge Trail Summer Standout

Use it to make a refreshing summertime tea.

Monarda didyma is also known as crimson beebalm, scarlet beebalm, scarlet monarda, Eau-de-Cologne plant, Oswego tea, or bergamot. A wildflower native to the Finger Lakes, Crimson beebalm is extensively grown as an ornamental plant, both within and outside its native range; it is naturalized further west in the United States and also in parts of Europe and Asia.

It grows best in full sun, but tolerates light shade and thrives in any moist, but well-drained soil. As suggested by membership in the Lamiaceae (mint) family, Beebalm, as an aromatic herb, has a long history of use as a medicinal plant by many Native Americans, including the Blackfoot. The Blackfoot people recognized this plant’s strong antiseptic action and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds.

An herbal tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Beebalm is a natural source of the antiseptic thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas. The Winnebago used an herbal tea made from beebalm as a general stimulant. It was also used as a carminative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence. As a matter of local interest, Iroquois of Oswego, New York, made the leaves into a tea, giving the plant one of its common names.

It is 9:30 am on a July morning Robert H. Treman Park, Ithaca, Tompkins County, Ithaca, New York,

References

Wikipedia, “Monarda didyma”

“The Botanical Garden, Vol II” Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, Firefly Books, 2002. Page 284

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Lighthouse Point 5

Sundry elements

Uncategorized details from our Lighthouse Point adventures.

Seen from a resting place, a bench just off the trail and before the causeway.

A humble and fertile weed.

On a bright early November day Pam and I walked to Lighthouse Point. Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York

Before the parade of mast-like iron poles was this wooden one where it was apparent there could be no light on the white tower without power.

On top and under the surface

Look closely, children

One

Two

Three

A demon greeting

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 4

The Views are the Reward

Here is the south end of Cayuga Lake on a bright November afternoon. Stewart Park is enjoyed by Ithacans year round.

Everyone is a fan of the Willows framing the lake views.

Can’t get enough of Stewart Park..

An unzoomed view, to give an idea of the distance across the water.

Pam and I have great memories of sailing this stretch from our years of membership in Cornell Family Sailing.

The east lake shore.

The West Lake Shore. This photograph captures the electric line that powers the Red Tower light. Seagulls enjoy that causeway…I’ve never seen humans walk it.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 3

At the White Tower

The quarter mile jaunt over the causeway yields the reward of this view up the White Tower…..

…and this vantage of the Red Tower, the west shore of Cayuga Lake leading down to Crowbar Point in the distance, colored by Autumn.

The shore is privately owned, some lake houses are visible. To the right are moorings of the Ithaca Yacht Club.

A closer view of the Red Tower.

On a bright early November day Pam and I walked to Lighthouse Point. Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York

White Tower graffitti.

My thoughts exactly…

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 2

Causeway

Post 1 of Lighthouse Point provided an impression of our hike along the golf course, from there we turned onto this wooded path on the shores of Cayuga Inlet.

First view of the paired Lighthouses marking the Cayuga Inlet. The white tower is connected to shore by a causeway something less than a quarter mile in length. The red tower marks the other side. These navigation guides allow boats to safely enter the channel exiting the south end of Cayuga Lake. The Erie Canal connects to the north end, allowing access to the Great Lakes and, eventually, the Atlantic Ocean.

The 4-foot-high step up to the concrete causeway path is an insurmountable obstacle to some. I managed to clamber over.

Looking back to shore….

Rusted iron poles support the electric line for the white tower. They remind me of ship masts.

The straight shot back to shore.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 1

Tree Atlas

November 3rd, 2022, Blessed Us with an azure sky, an Indian Summer Day. During our walks on Cass Park Shorts we’d look across to see hikers emerging from the gold course to walk the Lighthouse causeway. After decades of longing, these Ithaca residents took upon themselves the adventure of finding the path and walking it. This series of posts documents the walk and some treasures discovered on the way.

Sycamore, aka Plane Tree

Willow on Cayuga Inlet and Newman Golf Course

might be another Sycamore on the golf course

Unidentified tree on golf course

Unidentified tree on golf course

Unidentified tree on golf course

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Reef Fish

Various reef fish set up “cleaning stations” where turtles and other fish come to have parasites nibbled off.

50 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each Reef Fish sculpture from a 2019/2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Coral reef fish live among or in close relation to coral reefs. Coral reefs form complex ecosystems with tremendous biodiversity. Among the myriad inhabitants, the fish stand out as colorful and interesting to watch. Hundreds of species can exist in a small area of a healthy reef, many of them hidden or well camouflaged.

Reef fish have developed many ingenious specializations adapted to survival on the reefs. Safe habitats, many different species of fish inhabit coral reefs where they are protected from predators and find food. In turn, reef fish eat algae, preventing overgrowth and smothering of the coral animals. Common fish in Caribbean reefs have interesting names: parrot, angel, puffer, surgeon and clown.

Coral reefs occupy less than 1% of the surface area of the world oceans but provide a home for 25% of all marine fish species. Reef habitats are a sharp contrast to the open water habitats that make up the other 99% of the world oceans. Loss and degradation of coral reef habitat, increasing pollution, and overfishing including the use of destructive fishing practices, are threatening the survival of the coral reefs and the associated reef fish.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Dragonflies

Deep Time

380 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create these seahorse sculptures from a 2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Adult dragonfly lifespan of a few days to 5 weeks contrasts with the wide distribution, variety with over 3,000 species and deep longevity of the infraorder, Anisoptera, especially compared to our genus, Homo: Hundreds of millions of years, compared to 2 million.

An insect, dragonflies live on every continent except Antarctica, from sea level up to the mountains.

I have experienced hundreds of dragonflies swooping and hovering around Peaked Mountain of the Adirondacks.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved