Monday, April 12, 2010

Into the Woods

Ask me how much gardening I got done, and I'll tell you -- none. I puttered around the house all morning, not accomplishing much, though, I did get a big batch of split pea soup started in the slow cooker. Mmmmmmm, love that split pea soup, which, the way I make it is more like split pea stew.

The afternoon was gorgeous, bright, sunny and clear. I looked at the gardens, then I looked at the woods. The woods won, so off I went. I poked around back there for about three hours. Each new trail called me farther afield.

Just as I entered the woods, I came upon this young fern, unfurling for the first time.

I found May Apples, also called Umbrella Plants. They were on a trail that we took last week, and they weren't there then, so they're brand new. I love this plant. Some will come up that have two leaves and in the middle of that fork there will be a beautiful waxy white flower. The fruit that follows is said to be edible, though I have never even seen one.

I checked the burrows that we found last week, and still didn't find any tracks or scat. There were signs of fresh digging, though, so I know that somebody lives there.

I documented one thing that had made us very angry last weekend, so angry that I forgot to take a picture. This is all posted land. I have permission from the land owner to be there, but hunting is specifically forbidden, and the land is posted. We came upon this place, very near the bay. It's apparent that someone came in by boat, hunted and killed a deer, then dressed it. They have torn down all of the metal signs, which we propped back up, as best we could. That makes me angry enough, but what really started a slow burn was the discarded blue surgical gloves that they left behind. Why, for Heaven's sake, couldn't they have, at least, picked up their trash and carried it out with them?

But, that was the only ugliness I encountered. I checked out the mystery plant that we found last week. Unfortunately, now it is identifiable. I have been unable to find out what its' real name is, but we have always called it Devil Weed. It's an invasive plant that people used to have in their gardens. It will be over six feet tall, when mature, and have beautiful white plumes of flowers in late summer, early fall. Unfortunately, it spreads like wildfire. How it got way back in the woods like this, I don't know. My Grandmother had some and it took Dad years to eradicate them from our yard. I hope we're not responsible for these.

I saw all kinds of birds, from the sublime -- a mute swan, again

To the ugly -- turkey buzzards -- though they are wonderful gliders

To a barely seen downy woodpecker. Look for the splotch of red, right in the middle of the picture, at the top left of the broken off tree.

I also saw a wood thrush, but I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of that shy bird. They look like robins, but without the red breast. I count myself very lucky to have seen it.

The moss is reproducing, by means of the sporophyte, which are the red spikes seen above the moss bed.

I found a couple of wildflowers, including this trillium, just budding out.

A small patch of early saxifrage, which I almost missed because I though it was lichen.

I think that this is wild iris. I'll check again to see if I can catch it in bloom.

I've been unable to identify this little plant. The flowers are spiky and a very subtle yellow. It's another that I'll have to check on again, because I'm wondering if those flowerlets are just forming and may actually have to still come into bloom.

I got back to the bay.

And rediscovered a large and very beautiful cove.

And, I found, this week, the abandoned house that I knew was back in the woods. There is a wagon trail behind my house. It once went all the way back to this house in the woods, but, now, only the head of the trail remains. We looked for the house last week, but traveled too far South. Dad told me that he can remember the people driving their team back in there. The house is in a very isolated spot. It is very beautiful there and I can close my eyes and picture the people living day to day surrounded by beauty. It must have been a hard life though, without many of the conveniences that others of that era (early 20th century) took for granted.


Outside fireplace.

The woman must have loved daffodils, because, almost a century later, there are hundreds of them there.

It must have been a very lonely life, especially during the winter. Probably much like what many of our pioneer ancestors endured.

And, so, I, reluctantly, came out of the woods. I haven't gone back there in many, many years, due to lack of time. There is poison ivy there, so I don't know if I'll be able to travel into the woods for the entire season, but, that is the goal. If I stay on the logging trails, I may be OK. I want to document the life cycle of this precious plot of wilderness in the middle of suburbia.


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I'm getting caught up on some previous posts, I really like seeing Rachael sunning in the window.

Upupaepops said...

days like this are for making discoveries, not house work

I vow to do house work in the evening when I get home from work and leave weekends guilt free, a handy on line field guide service you can tailor to your home state. Get a jump on those wildflower ids

and pull the invasives and carry them out. stuff a plastic bag in your pocket when you go out.

did you tell the land owner about the deer kill?

I agree with you on the lonely house. I have posted pictures of the lonesome stage stop I have to wonder about the people who live there and what it was like so far and isolated. The house has an old rose bush that still blooms. I wonder if it was planted there or if it seeded naturally from native plants, carried in by the birds.

The romantic in my wants to think it was a pretty thing given husband to wife

AJ-OAKS said...

Thanks for taking us on a walk. It is beautiful there.

I have always wondered why people just don't respect private property especially when there are signs posted. Oh that's right, ignorant people think that they can do what they want!

Oh how exciting about the house that was once there. Life must have been a lot harder back then, but less of the rat race we live in now. I just love old buildings. If only they could talk. Can you just imagine the stories they could share?

I am very allergic to poison oak/ivy so am very careful where I go.

Spring is so wonderous with all the new life of both animal and plant.

Lori Skoog said...

You had a busy day. Thanks for showing a photo of the May Apples. Yesterday someone asked me what they were called and I said Umbrella plants as I could not remember the real name. We have tons.

Canyon Girl said...

Thanks for this wonderful walk through the woods. I miss woods here so it's really a treat for me. Once when I was in Sweden, we found my great-grandfather's place. It had roses too and a drystone wall that he built, the rest was much like what you found.

My husband get very angry at the people who don't respect our posted land, but we have never seen signs of hunters. That is so terrible.

Thanks for the recommendation. I too need to know. Actually, I know a whole lot less than Louise, so I will check it out. Isn't blogging wonderful!?

Rising Rainbow said...

I always wonder what the story is when I see clumps of daffodils in wild places.

ME said...

Where I am there are tons of Turkey vultures around all the time, yes and I agree they are ugly, but I just love to watch them glide through the air, especially before a storm, it's just amazing.