Published: My first series of stamps with the USPS!
28 01 2014
Yesterday, after more than a year in the making, my series of USPS-licensed fern photographs were released as 49 cent stamps in large coil format for business use. Special thanks to art director Phil Jordan for being so great to work with on the series! I’ll be back with more details on how we can POSSIBLY get a smaller amount than the issued 3,000 and 10,000 quantity rolls!
Cindy Dyer has been an outstanding volunteer who has helped our nonprofit since 2008. Yes, she bought some milkweed seeds from me on eBay years ago and we have been friends ever since. She brings her professional expertise to create our marketing materials, logos, and even when it comes to publishing books.
We are so proud of her. Congratulations Cindy from the officers and board of Happy Tonics, Inc.
If you only knew how this story has been nagging me. I have been looking for the photos on and off for a few months now. Photographers, I admit that I haven’t kept up with filing photos in a file system on the computer. Cindy Dyer, Dyer Design, told me she sorts though her photos daily and deletes those she doesn’t want and files the others in folders. It was this past summer when I saw a tall plant with multiple shaped leaves growing in my garden on the back side of the house. I would look out the window and say to myself, “What is that?” Do you notice the serrated leaves? They look like tiny teeth.
On close examination it had a familiar seed head. The leaves were unique in different shapes such as a single leaf and sometimes three to five lobes. I absolutely couldn’t identify the plant using any of my extensive wildflower plant books. It isn’t often than I am stumped by a plant.
I emailed a knowledgeable instructor at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in Hayward, WI. I had studied natural resources with him. Larry Baker has an intimate knowledge of plants and I figured if anyone knew this plant, he would.
The seed head was green. We went back and forth a few times until Larry looked up the plant key identification. I should have gone here but I didn’t. I hope he doesn’t think I am lazy. A surprise email came that asked, “Could it be Giant Ragweed?” I could have blushed because I then realized I did recognize the seed head. Yes indeed, it was this plant. The Latin name is Ambrosia trifida and the noxious weed is also known as Buffaloweed.
Great ragweed seed head.
How did it come to be living in my native wildflower garden? I have no idea how it got there. The plant prefers fertile moist soils. I had mulched this area with garden leaf compost a few years ago. The soil was dark and moist. Beyond the drip line of my home, all the water slopes downwards through a wood chip filter and throughout the garden bed. It must have been a male plant because the flowers were abundant in spike like clusters located on the tips of branches and stems. Female flowers are few without petals located in the axils of the upper leaves.
Leaves are opposite, large and slightly hairy, entire, or palmately cleft into 3 or occasionally 5 lobes. The lobes are ovate-lanceolate and serrated. I was able to look up the plant afterwards in a book that Ed, an elder friend, gave me a few years back. I never dreamed I would be identifying noxious weeds from this source but as you can see, I am. My books are my refuge.
Source: U.S. Department of agriculture, Selected Weeds of the United States, 1970.
My friend Mary Ellen is likely snowed in with 15 inches of snow in a remote town in Wisconsin. To brighten her day, I thought I’d re-post some Monarch photos from my blog. This was originally posted October 15, 2008.
Yes, more Monarchs. I can’t help myself. They’re everywhere! I learned a technique from my friend Mary Ellen of Happy Tonics at www.happytonics.org about how to “stalk” Monarchs with a camera. Wait until they have their proboscis inserted into a flower and they become completely distracted by the task at hand—then move in closer, staying as still as possible. They won’t even notice you’re there. This one sure didn’t. I was able to shoot about 50+ images of this Monarch in less than five minutes.
Want to learn more about the senses of a Monarch? Click here.
Here’s a surefire way to attract Monarchs to your garden—plant milkweed!
Mary Ellen sells common milkweed seeds in her eBay store here. Milkweed is the sole food for the Monarch caterpillar. Adult butterflies can feed on other plants such as this butterfly bush, but the caterpillars only eat milkweed.
Mary Ellen and I crossed paths a few years ago when I purchased seeds from her through eBay. This led to a frequent e-mail exchange, and now I do volunteer design and photography for her organization, as well as other marketing materials. I also designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Poster for her this past spring. Note: The poster is available through the eBay store here.