enchanted “forest”

I have been spending my outdoor time in the woods, letting the flower beds continue their “down time” rest. This past week we had some rain and a warm spell, so the stream that runs between the beaver pond overlook and cedar hill was running fast. Here’s a picture¬†of it:cedar-hill-morning-sunAnd a few more:looking-toward-juniper-clearingIt’s a trick getting across without getting my feet wet.mossy-rock-in-streamI saw a small snake sunning itself by the stream. Can you see it in this picture?first-snakeHere is a close-up of it. It didn’t move at all but I could see it was alive and well, soaking up the sun.snake-close-upOne of the magical spots on the property is a giant maple tree that is completely dead as far as leaves and sap is concerned–but it certainly has a lot of critters living in it in various holes. Here is a picture of it:the-old-mapleAnd here is the big mossy shelf of rock this tree stands on:mossy-shelf-and-old-maple

I ran across a branch festooned with lichens, moss and such:pretty-frillsHere is a picture of what I call “Dragon Bone Ridge”:dragon-bone-ridgeThis whole area has ash and maple trees primarily, and the leaves form a deep cushion underneath. It’s open and there’s no need for trails here. But in windy weather I stay away, because there are a lot of dead branches very high up. The floor of the woods is covered with dead branches, large and small.beaver-pond-overlook-groveSlowly as I spend more time out there I’m starting to think of it not as a series of trails but as passages or hallways leading from one big room to another. And the rooms are picking up names. There are some major attractions–the giant old maple, the big graceful red oak, the old beaver pond, the giant yellow beech. There are named areas, like cedar hill, dragon bone ridge, juniper clearing, cedar patch, hop hornbeam grove. It’s wonderful getting to know this very small corner of the world. I want to make an illustrated map of all this eventually.

I heard the first red-winged blackbirds on February 28. Sugar maple season is here, also. Spring is coming!