With the prediction of rain later today and the possibility of snow tomorrow, Scylla and I decided to do a walkabout of the property. Railway Creek as it flows under Cooper Road is swollen and running fast.
|The culvert on the east side of the road|
|The west side, where there are still remnants of a beaver dam Grant and his son dismantled last fall|
|Railway Creek as it runs past our field, swollen and submerging the trembling aspens in water|
|A small clump of winter aconite which I am so happy to see since it comes from my mother's garden|
|Scilla Siberica and its more modest cousin with the exotic name, Scilla Mischtschenkoana|
|Crossing the old cedar split rail fence into our neighbour's field|
|Water pooling in low lying areas|
|Our usual crossing place would land us in a pool of water|
|Despite its dull appearance this dry pasture is clearly greener!|
As we continued through the field I saw a tree which appeared to have its bark gouged out by huge, or at least determined, claws. A sabre toothed tiger?? Or perhaps one of these creatures
|The trunk genuinely looks gouged - with great enthusiasm if not a lot of skill - reminiscent of my well intended but ultimately ill-fated attempts at making a wooden spoon in a wood carving course I took with my friend Nancy....|
|Wood chips at the base of the trunk|
|The ragged stripping of the trunk|
|And as I walked past it on the way home I saw the crown had broken off|
|The birch seedling almost looks suspended above the ground|
|Here's one whose rather tenuous roots were wrenched out of the ground|
|A matching pair on the bank of a little creek|
|A much better anchored yellow birch with its peeling bark and white birches in the background|
dead trees being reinvented as apartment towers
and tree stumps festooned with moss and fungi and peeling bark that look sculptural.
In addition to just having a look around generally, Scylla and I are interested in finding signs of ramps and spring ephemerals so we carry on.
The path in the woods is very mucky and there are even a few areas where the track is still filled with ice.
Forging ahead bravely we are soon rewarded with hillsides of ramps. They look so healthy this year - dark green leaves and wine red sheafs covering the base of the stems. And they're so plentiful! In a week or two when the bulbs have plumped up a little there will be some great foraging.
|A beautiful clump of ramps (or wild leeks)|
|Ramps always grow in clumps and particularly enjoy snuggling in rock outcroppings|
|The outer skin that gets peeled off in food preparation is a lovely complementary red|
|Yes I am happy. Last year there were so few ramps that I missed spotting them and had to spend hours feeding myself to the black flies while I found a few to reward my troubles|
|Yellow adder's tongue just pushing through the leaf litter|
|The speckled leaves inspire their other name - yellow trout lily|
Having completed our fact finding mission we decide to head back. Scylla, ever the homebody, always takes the lead, stopping every twenty feet or so to make sure her errant mistress is still following.
|"Water, water everywhere and nary a drop to drink" says Scylla, who is fond of paraphrasing Coleridge|
|A surreptitious glance behind before continuing on|
This part of Railway Creek, upstream from our property, seems to be draining a little as it sends all the water down our way.
Once back on our property we see a tamarack, planted in that burst of enthusiasm in 2006, seems to be under a similar siege as the tree we saw earlier. Except from an animal smaller than a sabre-soother tiger - say an armadillo or even a bird.... https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150912-animals-science-largest-claws-talons/
|The poor tamarack with so much of its bark stripped away|
|Again the tell tale chips at the base of the tree|
|This gouging seems much more methodical, less frenzied. I bet this culprit could make a great wooden spoon...|