Field Friend: iPhone

chinkapins480Just got back from her regular and my sometimes early morning walk around the “middle road” above Nameless Creek.

As usual, I took my pocket camera (Powershot G7X) but never took it out of that storage location. My “phone” OTOH was used to take audio and typed field notes, collect a number of still and video images (of a flock of passing grackles) and record 30 seconds of audio ambient nature sounds.

I have to confess, this little wafer of silicon and glass is a handy assistant in the relative wild of Goose Creek.

You can hate technology for its obvious ills and evils, but you should also be very very thankful as a naturalist that you can pack so much utility into such a small package.

Grackles coming tomorrow or early next week.

Meanwhile, some of you will recognize this plant as Chinquapin. I collected two dozen healthy fruits from these two plants growing just behind the house. This is the first year to collect seeds.

And that’s important to me. These small trees are 14 years old. They were planted from seeds given to me by Lynn Baum the year she died. We only discovered a few years back  that these two seeds had survived to maturity.

This is the first year to hope that we can pass along Lynn’s legacy to a few friends for their meadows and woodland margins. And that feels very fitting and comfortable to me.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I had a similar good discovery today. We were at 8000 ft on I-70 in southern Utah at a rest stop filled with pinyon pines. I have never before seen its comes open, exposing the yummy seeds. When open, they look like flowers. (Too bad I don’t have a smart phone.) My husband remembered eating them as a child in east L A, so he cracked a few for me (need strong teeth!) and I ate a few. Delicious!