Thursday, August 2, 2007

Regency Flora and Fauna - August

Since the is the first day for blogging after August 1, it is time for our monthly article on the plants and animals one might have noticed in the Regency during this month.

The Naturlists Diary says:

"August has its fields of waving corn, its groups of nut-brown reapers". From this we can gather that the weather is warm and sunny enough to ripen grain (not sweet corn as we discussed before). And you will remember the picture of last time of the people threshing so we won't do that again.
"Young broods of goldfinches are now seen."
Interestingly enough we have been watching a young brood of goldfinches here in our garden in Canada. They are quite bold, sitting on the railing of our deck, even when we are out there. But look how different they are. The first picture is the English Goldfinch, and the second is the one we are seeing in our garden, the North American Goldfinch.





"The Jessamine shows its pretty little flowers, and diffuses its fragrant scent." And what in the world is a Jessamine, I ask myself. Well that of course is no good at all. I have to find out. Mutter, mutter, why haven't I heard of a Jessamine before this. Aha. After some digging, I am now sure that this is Jasmine, not the state flower of Carolina, which is apparently something altogether different. Just like my finches above they have only the same name.



"Broom flowers in this month." I often get gorse and broom confused. They both sport yellow flowers, but gorse if very prickly and flowers earlier in the spring. Broom is a much more gentle plant. It was used in the old days as an emblem or a cockade, worn on a lapel or a hat.

I seem to be running into a yellow theme here. Not intentional at all. And it is not surprising that I get confused by broom and gorse, because apparently they are related.




It seems that during the Regency, wasps were as much a pest then as they are now. Here is a remedy provided by our friendly Naturelist to deal with the sting, should you be so unlucky.

"The following antidote for the sting of wasps and other noxious insects, has also been recommended:--Take a leaf or two of the broad-leaved plantain (Plantago major), and bruise it, and rub it on the affected part for about ten minutes, and all pain and inflammation will cease" The first image is of the broad-leaved plantain. I think the name is much fancier than the plant.



I have never heard of this for wasp stings, though we always used dock leaves for stinging nettles. They always seemed to grow next to each other. Apparently they have alkine which neutralizes the acid in the nettle sting. Not so with the plantain it contains a different ingredient becasue wasp stings are alkaline. Enough with the science already. Here is a picture of a dock leaf. It is quite amazing though, that all those years ago these remedies worked just as well as our fancy chemicals do today.

Well that is it from me tonight. Until next time Happy Rambles.