Category Archives for Walk in the Woods

There’s Something Fishy About The Woods

March 31, 2009

I decided to meander around in the woods after the flood waters receded, just to see what might have been left behind.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in the woods was the Trillium is finally up and blooming! 

Trillium cuneatum

Most of the buds aren’t fully opened yet, but these are some of the first flowers around here to welcome spring.

Whippoorwill Flower

This particular variety, Trillium cuneatum,  is also known as Whip-Poor-Will Flower, Cuneate Trillium, Large Toadshade, Purple Toadshade, Bloody Butcher, and Sweet Betsy.  That’s sure a lot of different names for one little plant!

Nearby there was some Virginia Springbeauty (Claytonia virginica) blooming.

Virginia Springbeauty Flowers

These little flowers pop up all over the place in the woods.  Of course, after the flood waters had been through, they weren’t the only buds in the woods.

Bud Light

Nestled among the other flowers, there was a special metallic version known as “Bud Light”.  It’s frustratingly long lasting in the woods, and the only flowers that appear with it are the blooming idiots who consume a little too much of this bud’s nectar.

I don’t know if this particular denizen of our woods tried any Bud Light, but he was certainly laid back.

Box Turtle - Male

In fact, this male box turtle was totally unconcerned by my presence and happy to pose for pictures.  How do you like those bright red-orange eyes?  That’s what makes it easy to tell this turtle is a guy!  (The females have brown or light orange eyes.)

He was wandering near yet another patch of flowers, some Yellow Trout Lilies, also known as Dogtooth Violet.

Trout Lilies

They’re another one of the first wildflowers to bloom around here come spring.  They are such a pretty bright yellow, and look particularly cheerful after the drab browns of winter.

Trout Lily

Supposedly, this plant is called a TROUT Lily because the mottled leaves resemble the patterns seen on trout fish.

But these weren’t the only fishy things in the woods.  Oh no.  You see, along side one of my regular paths in the middle of the woods, I found a fish.  Yep, that’s right, a fish.  You want proof?  Here’s a picture:

Fish in the woods.

See, told ya!

At first I thought it was dead, considering the flood waters were long gone and there was only a little puddle of water left underneath it.  However, when I touched the fish, it moved!  Whoa! time for a rescue operation – get it to the creek quick!

I tried scooping it up with what little water there was, but the fish was unimpressed with my rescue efforts and flopped out onto some leaves.  Now here’s where I wish I had someone following me around and taking movies of some of my misadventures.  I mean, surely ONE of them would go over well enough on Funniest Home Videos to win the big prize!

Just picture a chubby old lady chasing after a little fish flopping all over the fallen leaves in the middle of the woods.  I picked it up several times, but it was a slippery little devil and would manage to get loose once more, and there we’d go again… fish flopping, me hopping.

Finally I sandwiched it between some leaves to hold it fast and ran … well, stumbled really, as fast as I could to the creek, trying to get there before the fish ran out of air.  I’m not sure which one of us was gulping for air the most by the time we made it to the creek.

Despite the prolonged lack of water, after I deposited the fish sandwich in the creek it wasn’t long until the fish was swimming off.

Fish in creek.

I took two pictures in quick succession, but by the second one he (she?) was long gone!  (Do you suppose he’ll tell his buddies about his remarkable experience when a strange alien plucked him out of the woods?  Maybe he’ll even appear on the Fishy Springer show on Small Fry TV!)

Since we were by the creek, our Farm Collie decided it was a good time to wade right in.

Farm Collie in creek.

Toby loves playing in water no matter what the temperature is!

As you can see here, the flood waters left a lot of debris.  All kinds of leaves and stuff caught in the branches of this fallen tree.

Tree fallen across creek.

On the bank nearby, I found a black plastic milk crate which I carried back to the feed shed.  I even found something to carry in it on my way out of the woods.

Yes, there was one last interesting thing Cast Away by the flood waters:

Ball by creek.

Like Wilson, this ball was washed to shore. I think it needs a name. Should it be another Wilson or something entirely different? It’s generic, with no name imprinted on it anywhere.  What would you call a little mini-basketball left behind after a flood?

What with spring flowers, stranded fish, a turtle and cast away basketball, this was definitely one of the most interesting walks in the woods I’ve had in a while!

That’s My World – A Walk In The Woods

November 10, 2008

Almost every morning when I’m out to do the morning chores, my canine companion, Toby, and I go for a walk. We go down through the bottom pasture and into the woods.

We have about 4 acres of woods on our little farm, so although not real big, it’s enough to get in there and not see any civilization.

We had some rain a few days ago, causing a lot more leaves to fall off the trees and carpet the path.

Going into the woods and under the bigger trees makes me feel a little like I’m a hobbit or elf or something, treading along through Middle Earth in the Lord of The Rings.  It’s so tranquil, and a great way to start the morning.

Our usual path through the woods takes us by a big hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis). The morning sun and a low limb makes an interesting pattern of shade on the big tree’s trunk.

This is the same tree that had all the slugs crawling up and down the trunk earlier this year.  It’s too cold now for such critters to be sliming their way up and down the tree, so we didn’t see any today.

We passed by an old fallen log with a covering of moss, plus an added decoration of a bright red leaf.

Eventually we meander along the creek. With the sun shining so brightly today, it made some nice reflections of the trees in the water.

In the deeper areas of the creek, we can usually see some minnows swimming along. They zip by pretty quickly, so it’s hard to get a picture.

The reflection off the water also makes getting a decent picture difficult, but at least you can see there’s little fish in there!

It doesn’t matter how cold it is, Toby has to splash around in the creek.  He loves playing in water!

Many of the fallen leaves have caught on some rocks in the creek and made a little dam, slowing the flow of the water.

They’ll eventually float away, especially if we get more rain and it raises the water levels for a while.

Further down the creek there is a fallen log.  It’s been there a long time, and has created another bit of a dam in the creek.

The water and floating leaves rush over one or two little sections.

Listening to the water flowing along is quite soothing.  Maybe a walk in the woods would be better than medicine for high blood pressure or depression!

Here’s another little video taken from the bank hanging over top of the end of the log.  I kind of like this one because at the end a walnut goes floating over and bobs in the water.

On the loop back through the woods, there are ferns here and there. It may be fall, but some things are still green.

Sometimes we wander around the paths in the pasture at the end of our walk, but that’s more fun in the spring and summer when there are butterflies and other bugs livening up the place.

For today, That’s My World is a walk in the woods.

Slug Surprise!

March 5, 2008

I thought I had slugs figured out. They crawl on the ground, munch on my hostas and other flowers, and make slimy trails across the sidewalks and front porch.

As far as I knew, they never got far off the ground – no further than crawling up on the plants they munch on.

Well, I know this is going to be a shock to some, but it turns out I was wrong.

It’s like this… yesterday we got over an inch of rain so I went out in the woods between showers. I figured I wouldn’t see anything new, but I still needed the exercise.

Wrong again! I definitely saw something new!

By the time I made it to the big tree in the above picture, it had started sprinkling again. Still, I felt like getting up close and personal and communing with that particular tree, which is when I found a surprise — several surprises of the same type in fact!

Okay, there’s probably lots of you out there that knew this happens, but imagine the shock to my “slugs creep on the ground” beliefs when I looked way up in that tree and saw a bunch of slugs crawling down. And I do mean a BUNCH. There were a couple dozen in various stages of progress slowly slithering down that tree. And that’s just the ones I could actually see.

Slugs are not supposed to be crawling way up in a TALL tree. They are supposed to be making their slimy way across the grass or other vegetation close to the ground.

That’s when I got to wondering… I know slugs are supposed to like beer, and it makes good bait for a trap, so do you suppose they had a kegger the night before, and drank too much beer? I can just see these little redneck slugs partying, and one says, “Hey, what ‘cha suppose is at the top of that tree?” And the other inebriated slugs holler, “Yeah, let’s find out!”

Then there they are the next morning, hungover, blinking and waving their optic tentacles around, and screaming in terror because they are WAY UP IN A TREE!!!! Now what???

And that’s when they all started making their way ever so slowly down from the heights.

All right, all right. So maybe they didn’t really do all that. I did a little research and discovered there are actually slugs that crawl around on trees, especially in damp weather, and they are called…. yep, tree slugs (Lehmannia marginata).

I don’t know if that’s what this particular variety is, or they belong to some other slug group I haven’t discovered yet.

I just know there were slugs in a very tall tree, and man, was I surprised!!!

Is it a mini-Hobbit hole?

February 20, 2008

After I finished this morning’s critter chores, I took a short walk in the woods. There is yet another type of wildflower starting to produce blooms.

02-20-08 flowers

The slue is more of an algae soup right now, chock-full of vibrant green strands of algae. Along the bank I saw some creature has made a hole in the hillside. I wonder what it could be?

02-20-08 hole
It‘s pretty round – suppose it’s a miniature Hobbit hole?

As usual, since I was looking and READY, I didn’t see any deer, owls, or even rabbits or squirrels. I’m afraid my leaf-crunching as I walk is a detriment to seeing much wildlife.

Back at the house, I noticed the Lenten Rose on the north side of the house has a couple of new buds. It may still be February, but there are definite signs of growth!

02-20-08 Lenten-rose

I can’t wait for spring, all two days of it that we get in the south before the heat of summer slams into force!

Sometimes you need to look ahead!

February 12, 2008

I’m a firm believer in multitasking. Whenever I can make or do something that accomplishes more than one thing at a time, I’m all for it. I’ve been trying to get more exercise, so about a week ago I figured once I’m already bundled up to go outside and do critter chores, that would be a good time to go for a walk and get more fresh air and some of the aforementioned exercise.

My favorite place to walk is in the woods. I always take my camera along, hoping for not only fresh air and exercise, but a chance for a good picture. (More multitasking!)

The woods are carpeted in dead leaves right now, so there is no way to move quietly. I’ve been looking for signs of spring, like new plant growth peeking up through the leaves, so most of the time my head is down and I’m looking at the ground.

That proved to be a mistake this morning. Not only were there no new signs of greenery, I missed a chance at a couple of great shots.

Mind you, I haven’t seen a single critter in the woods these past few days. It’s usually getting towards mid-morning by the time I make it back there, so I wasn’t expecting anything more than maybe a few squirrels. I’d seen signs of deer on previous walks. I also had suspicions there was an owl in there from the scat I saw every day at the bottom of a tree back near the creek.

In the space of a couple of minutes this morning, my observations were verified.

As I was walking along the creek, I heard a faint rustle above me, and looked up in time to see not one, but two owls take flight from a tree not 10 feet ahead of me. Oh to have been looking up in time to take a picture!

No sooner had I watched them fly off, then off to my right I heard leaves rustling, and saw a buck take off through the woods. Once again, it was too late for any clear shot to get a picture. He was too far away with too many trees between us for a clear photo anyway.

I didn’t expect to see any of those critters that time of day, especially the owls. I hear them at night, and sometimes have seen them at dusk, but mid-morning?

You can bet from now on I’ll be sure to look ahead and LOOK UP every once in a while!