Gift #709: Dried Thistles

Thistles have a bad rap.  It is true that they are very prickly, but I like to think this is just because they really like where they’re growing and don’t want to be uprooted.  It’s unfortunate that they aren’t considered a beneficial plant because they are very useful plant.  They are a favorite nectar source for many native bees and butterflies, and birds love their seeds.  They have purported medicinal benefits as well.

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While I think thistles in bloom are beautiful, I find the dried thistle stems absolutely fascinating.  They have amazing form and texture.

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One of my favorite autumn walks at Eagle Creek circles around a reservoir which serves as a bird sanctuary.  About half the trail is a built up berm that crosses the reservoir and then borders it closely on one side.  It receives direct sunlight (so it’s a bit warm for a summer hike) and tons of wild grasses and flowers grow along the trail.  If you’re careful and quiet you can see a host of wildlife  – tons of insects, frogs, birds… It’s a popular haunt for fishermen too.  As fall comes the grasses and shrubs put on their colorful garb and decorate themselves with berries and seedpods.  It’s a feast for the eyes and senses.

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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