This guy is growing, emphasis on growing, into an awesome guard frog. He is HUGE, looks like a mutant when next to his froggy pals. That is a watering bucket outside my door that he was proudly perched on when we came home last night.
Have you ever heard the legends of the gray moss over taking the trees in South Georgia? A few years back my family went on a ghost tour in Savannah and heard that if there is a tree without Spanish Moss in the middle of a group of trees with Spanish Moss, then you know someone met their death by hanging on that tree, and the moss refused to grow on the insturment of death. Very eerie and spooky to hear at night riding on the top of a convertible hearse around the Savannah Squares. You do see a few trees without the moss. Shivers.
However I had never heard the legends of where Spanish Moss came from.
“There are two legends about the origins of Spanish moss. Both of the stories associate it with the Native Americans.
According to one story, a Native American woman died. Her distraught husband cut off her braids and hung them in a tree. They turned into Spanish moss and continue to this day to serve as a reminder of her life and death and his sorrow.
There is another story, more sinister, which not only accounts for the existence of Spanish moss but also for its being called Spanish. Again, there was a Native American woman. She had attracted the unwanted attention of an elderly conquistador.
After she had refused him for some time, he decided that he would take her against her will. She ran from him, but he pursued her. Finally, she climbed a tree, but, even as old as he was, the Spaniard climbed after her. She prayed to her gods to be rescued.
The branch on which the old man was standing broke. As he fell, his gray beard caught on other branches, breaking his neck.
Of course, the Spaniards came for his body, but the beard was so entangled in the branches that they had to cut it off and leave it there. And, until this very day, his beard hangs in the trees, reminding us to treat the Native American women (and, by extension, all women) with respect.” (Micheal Segers http://voices.yahoo.com/spanish-moss-facts-fiction-5069676.html)
I think Spanish Moss is beautiful. I really like the last legend, as a reminder, not only to men, but to everyone, including ourselves to be respectful.
When I see it I automatically think historic Savannah and the Georgia Coast. I can almost feel the salty humid air on my skin. My mind goes back to when my grandparents lived on Wilmington Island, GA. They had huge oak trees covered with Spanish Moss. I wonder if that is why we kept red bugs. We would love to play outside when we visited them. I remember as a child getting the finger nail polish treatment to suffocate the red bug. Man those “chiggers” itched. They did not like to get in the nicest of places or most convenient. Right now I am itching all over, just thinking about it. I have nail polish on standby just in case, because I had to take a couple of really close up macro shots.
They say it a good day when you learn something new, today must be a good day then. I learned several things I did not know about Spanish Moss. The Legends, and also that it is not a moss. It is in the Pineapple Family. Yeah, I see you scrunching your nose and saying huh? I did that too. I thought it was pretty amazing. It is edible too. Not that I would eat it. I do not want to eat red bugs, yuck. Here is part of the article that I snagged the information from and I will link to it too.
“Spanish Moss — which isn’t a moss — was used to stuff car seats and furniture not only in the United States but Europe as well. It was chemically stripped of its outer gray bark and use for that purpose up until about 1960. In 1939, for example, 10,000 tons of it was raked from trees in Florida and Louisiana. It is not a parasite but an epiphyte so it doesn’t harm the tree unless it grows so prolifically to shade the tree from sunlight. Natives used it to make bedding and emergency clothes when cloth was unavailable. The inner black core was spun and used as thread. A bundle of stripped moss also makes excellent tinder. One can find them easily in local woods.
Spanish Moss is in the Pineapple family. Oral extracts of Tillandsia usneoides in a few studies have reduced blood glucose in laboratory animals. The chemical responsible is 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric acid. Called HMG it’s found in some diabetic supplements. Traditinally T. usneoides was brewed into a tea to treat fevers, chills, rheumatism and contraction pains of childbirth. Other claims for it include treatment of infant epilepsy, estrogen substitute, and antibacterial uses. In 2004 a Japanese company reported an extract strengthen and protects skin capillaries and slows skin cells decline. I don’t know if that is true but they took out a patent on it.” (http://www.eattheweeds.com/spanish-moss/)
Lastly, this made me laugh. There is a song about Spanish Moss sang by Gordon Lightfoot in the 1970s. That is probably why I had no idea, I was too busy playing outside and getting red bugs from Spanish Moss to know there was a love song about it.
Hope you enjoyed learning about Spanish Moss! Keep your fingers crossed (and your toes if they are extra long) that I do not need to pull out that finger nail polish later.
Have you had any experience with Spanish Moss? Crafting, cooking, camping, etc? What about Chigger cures? I would love to hear from you!
- Spanish Moss (villagecraftsmen.blogspot.com)
- Simple Succulents (lifearoundtheloop.wordpress.com)
- Keep Chiggers in Check (thedailysouth.southernliving.com)
- Program educates about edible, medicinal plants // VIDEO (newsherald.com)
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.
Well I really believe Heavenly Father created all creatures. I was reading about Noah today, and the great care that Heavenly Father took to save the animals roaming the land and the fowls of the air.
As I promised I went out and took a picture of my eggplant flower. (I know you were waiting beside your computers in great anticipation to see it.) When I stepped outside the door, to my right on a pillar that we are raising Magnolia trees on, one of our friendly porch lizards waited for his daily photo shoot. He posed so well. Very GQ!
I actually teared up when I looked at the images. Whether that was me just being emotional or because I had just read about the care Heavenly Father took to save some of animals I do not know; however, this image touched my heart. Look at the way the light reflects in his eyes. He has his purpose, not to just be my photo subject, but to help keep the mosquito and spider population down. He might be falling down on the at job just a tad, but that is okay. He is doing wonderful at helping me and giving me something to photograph and interact with. He and his friends are tender mercies, some of Heavenly Father’s blessings to me.
The tomboy in me is really coming out as I take pictures, manifested by my nose being only a camera’s length plus three or four inches away from the guys you will see in the next picture. I know I showed you pictures of them the other day, I am just so fascinated with them. They thrill me to no end with their genius in creating their nest and their protecting eyes. This might however be the last photo op I they provide me. They do not seem quite as eager as Mr. Lizard to star on my blog. As I leaned in close, one of their scouts buzzed by my ear. I thank you, Mr. Wasp for the buzz-by warning, and thank you kindly for not stinging me, or sending the rest of the troops after me.
Lastly, as promised, my eggplant bloom. This little booger provided to be more difficult to capture than the wasps or the lizard combined, and an ant bit me in the process! The flowers hang downward facing the ground. I kept trying to focus on the bloom but would focus on the leaves. The picture does not do it justice. It is such a pretty flower. Each velvety lavender petal curls in toward a topaz center. It is simply beautiful. I am so thankful that I have been blessed to helped nurture it and see the bloom, even if the eggplant does not produce fruit, I have been blessed with a harvest.
I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father guided me to take pictures and to grow a few things in the garden to help with my mental health.
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
― Mother Teresa
I am finding so much beauty and solace in nature. As I walk around, I begin to see things that I have not seen before. Nature tutors me in lessons that only it’s gentle reminders can teach me.
This tiny flower it is literally tucked in the camellia bush right beside my front step. I pass it anytime I go outside. Only today did I notice it. But it’s tender reminder that it only takes those small things daily to accomplish those things that we need to do, and in those small things we can find our beauty and our worth.
My Mother and my sisters are the true gardeners in the family, but through the camera lens, I am beginning to see the beauty that they see in the flowers and the wonderful creations that Heavenly Father has blessed us with.
I am very grateful for the inspiration Heavenly Father whispered to me, letting me know that photography would help me. It really is opening my eyes to a new world just outside my front door.
I have been trying to figure out this camera. Trying is the operative word. I am the lady that usually cuts heads off in shots. I seemed to have forgotten that small detail when I decided that I wanted to learn to take pictures as part of my therapy to stay in the now. I think the images that I will create behind the lens will be more abstract or purely by accident. Opposite of those that I am trying to capture, but that is okay to. Seems like much of my life is that way any how.
I have been trying for about two hours to take a picture of this silly caterpillar. I just cannot quite figure out how to focus on him. So after about sixty shots I came out with a pretty interesting one. You really cannot see him very well, but an interesting message is in there.
Then there is the next picture. I tried my darnedest to capture the spider and the spider’s web. All I succeed in doing is debunking orbs, and every ghost hunting show that uses them as proof of ghostly energy. Or maybe not, that is Granny’s favorite camellia tree in the background, and this is her house. and I do often hear things going bump in the night. Dododododododo…. ( I do want to add a disclaimer. I very much believe in the Spirit World. I know that they are very near to us, but I do not believe they perform on TV shows on cue. I admit also that I watch those shows for entertainment, but entertainment only.)