Fri 4/17/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!

Bloodroot blossom

This rare and delicate flower is, for me, a milestone of spring. I watch for it every year at a certain spot along Middle River Road. It appears suddenly, overnight, between April 15 and 20, and lasts only a couple of days before shedding its enamel-like petals. Then the leaves, still clasping the stem at this stage, spring open to soak up the woodland sun for a few weeks before they shrivel and die again.

The plant is bloodroot, so named because when cut at the roots, it bleeds red. Since it rarely grows in disturbed soil, I pray every year that no road crew will come along and dig in this spot.

Bloodroot propagates in two ways. One is by spreading rhizomes underground, sometimes carpeting huge areas (not here, alas). Another is by dropping seedpods shaped like tiny canoe paddles. Ants consider these a great delicacy: they cart the pods into their nests, where they eat the fleshy part and discard the seeds.

American Indians used bloodroot sap as a dye and an herbal remedy. Because it kills skin cells, it is sometimes prescribed by herbalists as a salve for warts, or even skin cancer. In fact, however, it can cause serious damage, leaving a large black scab and permanent scars. Products containing it are listed among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "125 Fake Cancer 'Cures' Consumers Should Avoid."

Bloodroot is pollenated by tiny bees and flies. Coincidentally, today is the first day this year that I've been bothered by insects during my walk. I got a gnat in my eye on Kilian Drive, and twice later had to blow flies out of the space under my clip-on sunglasses. One of those happened moments after I took this picture.

All of nature bows to the clock.

Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III

Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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