pygmy sundews (australia)

i drove down to providence (rhode island) this morning to attend the third annual new england carnivorous plants show at the roger williams park greenhouse. as is customary with each road trip i take, i burned a cd of driving music. the drive was uneventful despite the light rain that followed me along the way. i paid the $3 admission when i got there and went inside. the turnout seemed to be a lot less than last year, which included both exhibitors and vendors (the bad weather could've been a factor). the turnout for curiousity seekers was very good however, and there was a constant flow of visitors. i was disappointed initially by how small the show was this year, but i quickly got lost admiring all the different species of carnivorous plants. the "staff" (members of the NE carnivorous plant society) were exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable, answering all my questions.

sundew tendrils


pitcher plant flower

marsh pitchers

venus flytraps

sundew variety

my favorite carnivorous plants are the cobralilies, but i saw a few plants i've never seen before, including the marsh pitchers (with their "nectar spoons") and the pgymy sundews (native to australia), which resembled small cactus balls. i got a lot of information on tropical pitcher plants (nepenthes, see below); when i was in southeast asia, i had a chance to visit some highland nature preserves (home of these pitcher plants) but i ended up not going. but why go all the way to thailand when i can come to a show like this and see a bunch of them up close?

i didn't come all this way just to leave empty-handed: i ended up buying a pitcher plant to replace the carnivorous plants i got last year that died when i was away (because nobody watered them). i asked if they had any cobralilies and they said they didn't have any good ones this season. hopefully i can keep this new one alive throughout the winter (where it becomes dormant) and put it outside come next spring. it might eventually make a nice bathroom plant, since it's the warmest part of my house (and it gets good morning sunshine, that's why the lucky bamboo is doing so well).

before i left, i took a chance to wander through the greenhouse and see what kind of interesting things they have growing there:



persian shield (burmese)




as it was still early, i decided to take a detour to the f. gilbert hills state forest in foxborough, massachusetts. i'd researched the place before, and made sure there wasn't a home football game this sunday. i decided to go because it was right off of I-95 and how often do i come down to this part of massachusetts anyway? with the rain, i figured it's also optimal condition for me to spot more efts (i've only seen an eft one time in massachusetts, in sturbridge last season - all my other sightings have been in vermont).

i figured with the bad weather i'd be the only person out in the forest today, but there was a couple getting out of their car with a small dog when i arrived. fortunately the forest is big enough (1027 acres) for all of us (although i did bump into again on one of the trails, i was squatting down taking photos of acorn caps on a moss carpet when they surprised me). trail maps were available at the entrance to the forest, but i had a hard time matching the actual trails to the dotted lines on the map, so i basically wandered the forest by approximation, which based on my past history meant i'd probably get lost and starve to death. it rained the whole time i was in the forest, and i walked around the empty woods underneath my umbrella, listening to the tapping of raindrops.

gilbert hills state forest is a great place, with very well-maintained paths (a little bit too well-maintained, efts don't like artificial boundaries like a rocky trail). i ended up not seeing any efts though. i think the rainy and wet conditions were okay, but the temperature was just too low, around 50 degrees, too cold for eft activity. as a matter of fact, i didn't see any animals - no birds, no chipmunks, not even insects (i did occasionally hear critters though). the one thing that was in abundance were mushrooms. unfortunately they don't do very well in the rain (they start to crumble).

wouldn't you know it, eventually i did get lost a little bit. i had my gps with me however, but the forest was so thick that it had a hard time getting reception and i waited until i had a better view of the sky before i took another reading. sometimes you see more when you get lost though: i came across my favorite fern, some polypody growing off of a rock (the only time i saw them). i also had an emergency beef jerky in my bag which i ate for lunch. soon afterwards i did get my bearing again and found my way out of the forest and back to the parking lot.

my mother called me when i was on the road (which caused me to miss my exit and get lost a little bit more, but by then i was already used to it), instructed me to go back to belmont. once i got back, my mother and sister took me to the fresh pond radio shack so i can switch over to verizon and be on their family calling plan. after looking over the phone selection though, i decided to hold off. as much as i dislike cingular (i live in a coverage dead zone, and i think i'm paying too much for the kind of service i'm getting), it's no secret that they have better phones compared to verizon (although verizon boasts better reception/coverage). once my father picked up jawei from chinatown (returning from his weekend trip to nyc/washington dc), we had dinner before jawei and i got a ride back to cambridge. manny dropped by briefly to deliver some blank dvd's and to tell me that he's got his house cranked to 80 degrees already (i don't plan to turn on the heat until november).

i finally got the courage to try out my moonshine. the root beer, true to its namesake, does indeed smell like beer, and there's probably a little bit of fermented alcohol in it as well. it definitely tastes like root beer though, just very bad root beer. i think with the right blend of flavors, i can definitely improve on the taste. next, the homemade ginger ale. for some reason it wouldn't stop bubbling after i opened up the top. finally i just had to let it drain a little bit. it doesn't really taste like any ginger ale i know, but it's definitely sugary, definitely tastes like ginger, and definitely carbonated. i think if only the ginger taste was stronger, it might not be too bad. let's just hope i don't go blind tonight from drinking too much moonshine cola.