Our Scouts are Famous!

They received a write up in the Democrat and Chronicle about all the good work they did in Oxbow Clean-up project.

Here’s the link!



It’s a busy time of year

For plants that is. So many plants rushing to produce late summer and fall flowers, before the cold weather sets in.

I discovered these pretty flowers at one of the entrances to Hart’s Woods yesterday. It’s a native sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides or Smooth oxeye, Oxeye sunflower, False sunflower. IMG_2347
I guess I should have photographed one of the flowers that had eight petals! Maybe I’ll get a chance for a better shot on my next walk?

Along the Oxbow Road trail, I found Oenothera, or Evening Primrose.


It appears to be a quite magical plant, with many medical uses.

Sold as Evening Primrose Oil,  it’s uses are many –Evening primrose oil is the oil from the seed of the evening primrose plant. Evening primrose oil is used for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It is also used for rheumatoid arthritis, weak bones (osteoporosis), Raynaud’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS), Sjogren’s syndrome, cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, a movement disorder in children called dyspraxia, leg pain due to blocked blood vessels (intermittent claudication), alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia.

And my last plant today is a mystery so far.


I sent these three photos to Ellen Foltz of Amanda’s Garden Nurseries, and she identified the first two plants and is working on this last one. In the meantime, hopefully one of my readers could offer a name for this rapidly growing plant? It looks a bit scary, and I’m reluctant to touch it in case it bites or stings. Just look at the Bittersweet vine crawling up it. That stuff is everywhere.



Wild Cucumber in flower now

I noticed this tree in full flower and as I got closer, realised it wasn’t the tree in flower, but a creeper which had enveloped the tree’s canopy. As you can see, the flower display is quite spectacular.


On looking more closely at the leaves of the vine, it reminded me of something I’d seen further down The Oxbow Trail.


It’s a WILD CUCUMBER, and I’d reported that sighting a few weeks ago on this blog.

See – Wild Cucumber here

I was surprised to learn that this plant is indigenous to the USA, and has been used medicinally by native Americans.

Here’s the Wiki link.

It looks like the vine is going to have a ton of  pods on it this year. Let’s keep an eye on it over the next week or so to see the pods develop.


Birds in mayhem during eclipse

Today at 2.35pm, we had a partial eclipse in New York. If you didn’t know about it, then you couldn’t have been listening to the news, because the event has been widely publicized, as it’s the first total eclipse for most of the USA in ninety nine years.

We thought we’d watch it from our deck, which overlooks the canal at the Oxbow and is facing due south. There really wasn’t much to see, until — hundreds of small birds, mostly sparrows, descended onto our garden fence, and then flew in and out of our pine tree. They were noisy and very agitated. I guess they roost there normally, although I’ve never noticed them before.

Here they are, all lined up, chirping away!  I can just imagine what they were saying!  “Oooh! Roger, who switched the light off?”  “Are the pubs open now?”  “Crumbs! What happened?” “Hoi! Stop messing about!”


There were many birds more than in the photo, but I wanted to get a closeup.

They mowed!


From the canal to Hart’s Woods, (and maybe beyond) someone has mowed down the weeds and a huge patch of Swallow-wort (Dog Strangling Vine).  The DSV was about to drop seeds any time soon, so we can only hope this put an end to the massive multiplication potential of this very invasive plant. I’ll have to look and see if they tackled the Black Locust saplings next time I’m down there.

Unfortunately, there was also a good patch of Milkweed (Monarch Butterfly food)  and Bouncing Betty seeding. I guess next year will tell if the mow did any good. If only the Oxbow Woods could be cleared of DSV too.

This ‘neck of the woods’ is under numerous people’s control, The Town of Perinton, RG&E, The National Grid, The National Heritage Trust, The Canal Authority, The Village Schools, and The Village of Fairport.  Will we ever be able to find out who actually mowed it? What a bureaucratic nightmare!

Did you notice the bushes to the right of the photo? They’re blackberries – lots of ’em!





Japanese Knotweed Update

Over the past few days, some of my neighbors and I have looked more closely at our waterfront properties and discovered that the infestation of Japanese Knotweed has spread. For the first time, I found some on my property.  We have been fighting a losing battle with it, digging it,  pulling it, cursing and swearing at it, witchcraft and many other ideas.

I had the village superintendent look at it last week and their jurisdiction ends about 20′ from Erie Crescent, so it’s very difficult to get the authorities to become involved.

Very little is being done in the USA generally. The USDA referred me to do more research on Google. Here are some of the links I found.

The problem
Japanese knotweed is one of the most damaging invasive species to arrive in the UK, continental Europe and the USA, and is capable of growing three metres in as many months. It was introduced from Asia to Europe in the early to mid-19th century as an ornamental plant. In its native Japan, the plant presents little or no problems due to natural controls that have evolved
to co-exist alongside and provide a natural brake on its spread. But in Britain, it is now deemed to be one of the worst invasive species. This is due to its vigorous nature, the damage it causes to buildings, paving, archaeological sites, riverways and railways. It also harms our native biodiversity, excluding our British plants by its dense growth.
The cost to the UK economy is also great. In 2003, the Government put the cost of control, if attempted UK wide, at over £1.5 billion. Since then, both the cost and the problem have grown.
These control methods rely mainly on chemicals and have been deemed unsustainable and unsuitable for a national eradication programme. a longer-term solution to the problem is required.

It only requires 1/4″ of root parts of this plant to be introduced to your back yard and it will eventually take over.

Japanese Knotweed, coming to a property near you – sooner than you think!

We have Mink!

I was in my boat a couple of days ago, coming through the cut between Snake and Coyote Islands in The Oxbow, when I noticed a small animal swimming across from one island to the other. As I got closer I got a really good look and peered into this really cute little face. By the time I realised I should be taking photos, this little guy was swimming away from me, so I wasn’t able to photograph his face.mink

However, a quick search on Wiki soon confirmed that this was indeed a mink.

I found a better photo on the NYS Parks website


Cute eh!   And he’s a regular here too.  It’s so good to see that these native animals are doing well in this area.