Captain John Smith (2014-2015)

The overwhelming downside to establishing relationships is the inevitable loss and grief that accompanies them. Sometimes, when we’re lucky, we can Untitled-1postpone that inevitability for decades. Other times…well, we take what we can get and are simply grateful for it.

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Steve and Captain John at the Columbus Grove branch of the Putnam County District Library

So it is with Captain John Smith and we are, indeed, grateful.

Our friend, Kim Starr, suggested his name, told us of the Englishman’s role in delivering the word opossum, a close approximation of the Powhatan word aposoum, to the English language. We can only hope that the human Smith served as well as Captain John in the role of ambassador. It was with a gentle nature that he turned heads, changed opinions and opened eyes to new understandings.
Captain John Smith, ambassador for Virginia opossums everywhere, made his last public appearance at the Delphos Public Library on Nov. 19.

Captain John Smith, ambassador for Virginia opossums everywhere, made his last public appearance at the Delphos Public Library on Nov. 19.

Given that it’s an extinct language, there’s just a short list of some 550 words/phrases in Powhatan with which linguists are familiar. Goodbye isn’t among them. Thank you, on the other hand, is. So…

Kenagh, Captain John.

We will miss you.

May 2 workshop now open for registration

SAVE THE DATE: On Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., rain or shine, walk The Quarry Farm Nature Preserve with naturalist Tamara Spillis and learn more about native mushrooms and wild plants.

– Registration: Open to the first 20 applicants (age 16 and over). Call 419-384-7195 or 419-234-4620 or email thequarryfarm@gmail.com before April 30 to register.

– Workshop Fee: $15 (includes lunch)

(Optional) Bring a favorite field guide, notebook, pencil, cameras, trail snacks.

-7xo5oaRukMz_q5gaOTNMGByCtLGRcBuUldJ0QIJt0nSt_MM5KSOfXCSPv3XWc6I2T4DW0bPMhJ0DngL1ZgR_pF4bcvMNPaCTCeXwLY7-348F1BfNXFmjF6GWGnuRt4FxWlVY0gIGioYtoX65Us5yZganOVg2DRIuL_zbkOrlhF6GkSkPWkcQV0R4xDONsplaCorlfT0xgWxzf_Yigelk3KFEd3• If you are allergic to penicillin, you should not eat morel mushrooms, no matter how delectable. Morels contain a substance also found in penicillin that accumulates in body tissues and can eventually cause anaphylactic shock.

• Oil lamps containing mushroom wicks may have lighted the world for ancient peoples.

• Genghis Khan made gun powder out of charred shelf mushrooms.

These are a few of the fascinating mushroom facts shared by naturalist Tamara Spillis during a recent slide presentation to The Gathering Basket Herb Society.

On Saturday, May 2, Tamara will share her extensive knowledge with 20 lucky people as we walk The Quarry Farm nature trails and prairie.  We will have the opportunity to explore with Tammy as she identifies and talks about the mushrooms, flowers, and plants along the way, and if you have brought your camera, you can get some great photos.

Some wildflowers that we know about, like wood violets, blood root, and Jack-in-the-pulpit should be blooming on May 2, but the Quarry Farm staff are excited about the prospect of discovering other species that we haven’t yet identified.  When Tamara is finished surveying plant life here, we will have a great educational resource to share with visitors of all ages in the future.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and come prepared for conditions.  No matter what, we will have a great day on the trail.

tammy spillis Harison Garden Club2-1About Tamara Spillis, Naturalist:

Tamara works part-time as Master Gardener Coordinator in Henry County (Ohio).  In addition, she is a small business owner who manages a naturalist service, working with private landowners and conservation entities to identify and document populations of wildflower and wildlife species.

She also teaches and lectures at museums and colleges on Native American bone and stone tool use.  An amateur mycologist, she has published articles on the use of mushrooms by diverse ancient and modern cultures for fire, warfare, and medicine.

Color photos that Tamara has taken in the field showed insects feeding on and pollinating wildflowers, plants in the various stages of their life cycles, easily confused plants with similar flowers — one edible and the other deadly, mutually supportive plant and insect relationships, common wild plants that are edible and others that are toxic, plants that we live alongside of but rarely see in our everyday lives, and many other insights into the natural world of the fields and woods around us.

Winter news

2014 Winter NewslettercoverS'moreWith temperatures above 0°F and sun overhead, the visuals are breathtaking on the banks of Cranberry Run today.

Turkey track

Goat-tracked corridors criss-cross the upland sanctuary. Wild turkeys are on the move on the paths as these elusive birds forage in the floodplain and on the cover of the 2014 winter newsletter. Click of the cover to the left to read more.

Hope to see you under the stars later this month. Don’t forget to RSVP.

Making Leaves While the Sun Shines

Putting Burdock to Work

For everyone who wonders why there have been colossal burdock plants flourishing in certain yards in the neighborhood, you can rest easy as the plants have been harvested. The giant leaves from these towering weeds* were reserved for today’s “Art in Nature: Make a Lasting Leaf” workshop on the grounds of The Quarry Farm’s Red Fox Cabin here on Road 7L.

Casting in Concrete

NOAA predicted a hot, dry day without much-needed rain but the shade trees off the front porch kept today’s outdoor studio cool enough to cast leaf-molded birdbaths, bowls and stepping stones. But enough talk. Here are some photos of the Class of June 9, 2012.

If you couldn’t make today’s event, look for upcoming workshops posted in “events”, or get on our emailing list by sending a message saying, “Sign me up for the newsletter” or “Put me on the mailing list” or “Hey, you!” to thequarryfarm@gmail.com.

*Although I’m paraphrasing, a favorite quote says something along the lines that one person’s flower is another man’s weed growing where he doesn’t want it.

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