Aug 3, 2008

The barrens today.

I am friends with foxes like a nome
and we make meat like philice tome

There is a spot not more than 500 yards from my house where I haven't been since I was a child. I went there today. And am glad I did. The reason I stayed away is perhaps strange. We played there when I was a kid. Mostly in a wadding pool sized pond. The water was warm and the pond life easy to capture. It was on a strange, badly eroded slope with little vegetation and pale, hardened silt for dirt. It was a landscape of shale. It was a warm and pleasant place, and it was the best place to catch snakes, and the only place you could get the neat little ringneck snakes that would coil around your fingers. I like exploring more than my playmates. One time, up by the top, I found what I thought was a badger den. Badgers don't live here.

A rich man bough that land, and at least 100 more acres of the hillside. His mile long driveway drained the little pond. He had some kid tell us that the gate to his property would call the police if we crossed through it. It was a stupid lie. I never believed it. But he didn't want us playing there, so we stopped going. The barren area was in clear view of his driveway, so sneaking in was too risky, with no place to hide. My friends were the ones who were scared to go. Reflecting, I think this may have been a conditioning point in my little brain. Today I still dislike 'trespassing'. I've met people who would walk across a neighbors yard until told not to. I guess it all depends on the neighborhood where you grew up.

Anyway, today, on my daily walk, I did the tabbo and went right down into the barrens. Within sight of the forbidden drive. The deer love it there. It is not like any place I'm familiar with. And it's less bare now. There are rose bushes and 30 foot tall pine trees and scattered patches of xxxxxxx. Some parts of it, in the summer, are hidden from the drive.

Other people have been staying out of this corner of the woods. I saw no evidence of human activity. Which is rare. On the more public faces of the hill you can't go very far at all without finding trash, cutmarks, flagging, ATV tracks, boot marks, and broken-through brush. The deer know it. That's where they run when I shoot them. The deer trails are the thickest I've seen.

I took a few pounds of oyster mushrooms from a dead tree in the damp of the spring at the top of the small run that has the oil pump push rod going up it under tripods. There is a fox den uphill from this spring and a goose berry bush down the run by the next lowest oil well, which is leaking into the water. Black berries can be had at this elevation but further west, that is out of the bowl left wise. All these things were unknown to me before yesterday's walk.

There is an open level spot, in the woods above the barrens, also a secret area. It's open aside from the rose bushes that I intend on encouraging into an impenetrable ring. I found a brick there from the hanley brickyard. Right now there is a cheikedee making the springtime noise.

Mar 31, 2008

First Day of Spring 08

Yesterday was the first day of spring according to my biological (as opposed to Julian) calender. It was the first day a flower blooms in my yard. And for the last three years the flower has been a crocus and I have captured the event on timelapse. This year's time lapse was a little lame because the battery went dead after about two hours. I wasn't there to but in a fresh battery.

I had walked up on my hill. I was well camouflaged and moving slow. There was many more birds then usual, though most of them were winter residents. There was a group of Junco's hunting in a pussy willow thicket that was awash with melt flow. And there were chickadees doing their thing all around me. After a while I came into an area where there were a bunch of those birds that go tee-de up in the trees. There must have been 5 or six of them in my immediate area, all with a distinct voice, a distinct variation on tee-de, all very loud, and for the most part singing in turn, so collectively they made a nice rhythm. It was quite musical.

I observed, not for the first time, how the large star-nosed mole will divert water from it's proper run or ditch to muck up a vast fan-shaped area of a hillside. Beavers build dams to create habitat, while the star-nose will dig canals and waterways to the same end. I've never heard mention of this in the literature on star-nose moles but I've learned some other things while reading. These creatures are truly semi aquatic and spent the winter swimming in waterways and ponds, below the ice, digging up what bugs and critters they can find. These aren't your yard-moles. They are rare in the fact that they share tunnels and habitat with other individuals of the same species, living in little communities. They have a system a foraging tunnels just bellow the surface, and then a deep system, many feet down (like 6-9 feet!) where they sleep and have their nurseries. You rarely see them, being creatures of the underworld that can sense your every step. But if you do see one it will be big, black, and moving fast, with twelve tentacles hanging off its face.

I was surprised to find a real snow line on the hill. Snow was patchy and soft bellow this line, but absolute above this elevation. It was curious that this line coincided with a certain contour of the hill. And as I walked the line I found many springs , and the heads of some minor runs that cut the hillside. I dug into one and was impressed by how quickly the murk cleared from my hole and how strong the water flowed.
Walking the line I also was aware of the activitly and sounds of spring to my left, while the uphill side to my right was still dead as winter.

I walked into the winter zone and enjoyed the big vistas that will be gone in a matter weeks with the coming of foliage. This is the best time of year, maybe the best day of the year, for finding secret spots- springs and rock gardens, hidden in the hills by snow or vegetation the rest of the year round. This sight seeing on the ridge top occupied me for quite a while, I even climbed up a half fallen black cherry for a better view.

On the north face, (the leek face), the snow was actually ice, and I felt somewhat adventuresome kicking my little footings out of the steep pit-and-mound slope, only because it brought back memories of mountaineering trip where slipping on a similar slope meant certain death. Since leeks were out of the question I sat on my leek shovel and went cruising down the hill, finishing in the softer snow and throwing up a rooster tail of snow and mud as I turned to stop.

At sunset I watched some crows taking vantage over the valley and then they flew off to cruise back and forth in front of a distant spectacle. The trees at the top of the opposite ridge were glaring, sparkling, crystal white. Something like this: but there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Feb 27, 2008

beech cathedral in snow

beech cathedral in snow, originally uploaded by RockScout.

think this is the shnizzle?
it's nothing to this spot in early fall

Pause Spot

Pause Spot, originally uploaded by RockScout.

Feb 24, 2008


ambers 2, originally uploaded by RockScout.

Feb 15, 2008

Death Proof

rainX, originally uploaded by RockScout.

my car, drenched and reflecting sunset and HID security lamps

Smurf lichen

2006-01-22_26.jpg, originally uploaded by RockScout.

from early 2006

Clouds Upon High Ground

all colors, originally uploaded by RockScout.

something about this picture makes me want to hunt, kill, and eat rabbits

Nat Catcher Shrum

redwwod shrum, originally uploaded by RockScout.

I found this shiny little guygrowing amongst the very tallest trees in the world.

Sunset over Highway

weekend sunset, originally uploaded by RockScout.

Alot of light and dark detail captured in this one.