Spring Green

In spring our woods transform from an overall brown appearance to a lush green. It seems to happen overnight, but it isn’t quite that quick. These photos were taken in the last few weeks.

In May I had to get the chainsaw out and cut small trees and brush along the edges of the garden. If we’re lucky we won’t have any trees fall across the road and I won’t have to use the chainsaw again until next winter when I cut firewood.

In the previous post there’s a photo of the rocks road. This is closer to home but gives a good idea of the transformation the woods undergoes in spring.

I begin mowing the yard, the garden, and some of the roads in May. Our yard is mostly moss because we’re heavily shaded when the trees leaf out. This year there was a large area to the north of the house where Indian Pipe began to emerge.

Indian Pipes are fragile little plants that have no chlorophyll. They depend on fungus in the soil which supplies them with nutrients from nearby trees.

Late Winter

Our previous post was about the ice storm that we had in February. After the storm we had sunny skies and warmer weather.

Winter is when we can see the sky at our home. After the ice storm the tree limbs were covered with a thick layer of ice, almost like clouds in the blue sky.

The start of spring has us looking for morels in the woods. This year wasn’t a good one for finding morels. They seem to be getting rarer and rarer for some reason. Still, it’s always wonderful to be out in the real world..

Everything is so brown in early April. A closer look finds the maple trees are budding and there are early spring flowers, especially down in the hollows. This is the Rocks road. One of the Sheep Rocks can barely be seen in the distance. There’s an army survey map in Winfield, our county seat, made during World War II of the coal field here owned by Raymond City and the map shows the Sheep Rocks and down in the hollow, Yankee Camp, where a unit of the Union army had a camp during the Civil War.

Bluets are tiny flowers that appear in our yard in early spring. They bloom for a little over a month.

I like to take photos of vernal ponds with their layers of light and color and, when the tadpoles are hatched, life. This year the reflected sky through the trees shows as pale blue bands on the pond surface.

Winter Storm

We’ve had a week of snow and sleet storms. The snow hasn’t been that bad but the two rounds of sleet have covered the woods with a thick layer of ice. Trees are bent under the weight, limbs are breaking, trees are falling over. At the same time there’s a beauty with the pale white sky, snow on the ground, and ice-covered-everything.

Animals have been out and their tracks are visible in the snow. These are possum tracks, the hand-like tracks are paired like this, front and rear footprints with another set several inches away. We have possums visiting our compost piles and sheds all the time but usually we don’t see signs until there’s snow on the ground.

The first layer of ice built up during a rain when the temperature was just a tad below freezing. The photos I’m posting are all of the first layer. A few days later an additional layer of ice built up during a similar rain/sleet. The trees are starting to bud and sometimes there are large colorful buds encased in thick ice like fairy jewels.

In the garden area, to the south of the fenced garden, there’s a spot with tall grass in the summer, hip high. Here’s the dried grass from last year covered with ice.

The woods are really quiet when they are like this. Everything looks and sounds different.

Honeysuckle overhead in a sort of bower to the south of the garden fence. We move composted leaves in the spring from a pile from the previous autumn in our yard to here to finish breaking down. Last year’s leaves make this year’s mulch.

Pines with their needles collect and hold the rain. The boughs become extremely heavy when they are filled with ice like this. Large pines are bent over. Sometimes trees break, sometimes they uproot and fall over. Not just pines, I took a walk after the first ice storm and counted 4 large red oaks tipped over by the weight of the ice.

We’ll have some cleaning up to do after the ice and snow melts. We’ve kept the road open from our home to the woods gate. So far nothing large has fallen across roads, the cleanup will be mostly removing branches and tree tops.