The weather has been variable this winter but never too warm or too cold to enjoy a walk in the woods. Here is a collection of pictures I took during my recent walks.
Remember how I told you last year about the tiny gardens? Here is another one.
It would never have occurred to me to plant a garden with just mosses and lichens, but it’s not a bad idea. The beauty of these plants (and their fungus symbionts) is that the cold doesn’t seem to bother them. They’re green year-round.
That is, unless someone or something comes along and tears them up.
Someone rode right over this tiny garden. It’s bad enough the damage we hikers do with our feet, but this kind of destruction is IMHO unforgivable. I continue to wish that the riders would stay out of the woods.
There’s not much chance of that, though. Someone has gone to a lot of effort recently to make the woods a fun place to ride.
I suppose I shouldn’t get on the riders’ cases too much, because Mother Nature has been far more destructive as of late. With Hurricane Irene, the October snowstorm, and some rather vicious windstorms, the trees have taken a beating.
This break is just of one of thousands. I took a picture of this particular one because the broken part reminded me of a mouth.
It takes but a second for a tree to snap like that. Now look what Mother Nature can do when she has more time with which to work.
Not all of the trees are looking so bad, though. Some are still in great shape. The tree in the following picture has beautifully rugged bark.
Looking more closely at this and other trees has made me realize how little I know about them. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been filling my spare time with self-taught classes. I will definitely have to include a botany class, so I can learn more about the local trees, not to mention the lichens and mosses.
Speaking of lichens and mosses, I have more pictures of them to share. The following picture was supposed to be a shot of lichen, but the real star turned out to be the leaf. Isn’t it gorgeous? The whole scene is reminiscent of a coral reef.
I found the perfect pompom of moss.
See the stick to the left of the moss? It has an interesting curve, which is part of what drew me to this scene. But it’s an unusually nice curve for a stick. It got me thinking about deer antlers. I looked online for information about cast-off antlers (known as “sheds”) and apparently they can be found in the woods during the spring. I will be actively looking for them during future walks.
And for deer. A couple of days ago it was snowing, so I temporarily abandoned my work (shhh! don’t tell!) to go for a walk in the snow. I saw a trio of white-tailed deer. They ran as soon as they got wind of me, and what a racket they made! BTW, while the name “white-tailed deer” may not be very imaginative, it certainly is accurate. Every time I spot one of them, it’s running away, so the only part I get to see is the tail, which is white all right, as white as the snow.
Walking in the snow was wonderful. Every scene was beautiful. The whiteness brought out the color of the stone-hugging lichens.
The path that you can see in the distance leads to the area I call the Scenic Overlook, where I discovered something else white.
It’s a bone. What from, I don’t know. I don’t know anything about bones, unless we’re talking about the television series, Bones. It’s a good show, but it could make a hiker paranoid, wondering when they’re finally going to trip over that dead body that’s always in the woods.
And to think I ever said the woods behind the house were sort of boring. They’re full of interesting things (but no bodies, I hope!). The trick is that you have to look for interesting things.
Seek and you shall find.