Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Reflections

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I can’t resist the reflections and

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the distortion of water drops

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in their surroundings.

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Nature’s

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magnifying glass.

(this blog was completed in July)

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Relive a Memory

The words, “Relive a memory” came to mind. How odd?

My mind started wondering and ended up with when I wrote nature articles for the Saturday edition of several local newspapers. This was in the 90’s. I illustrated every article with an ink drawing.

It didn’t take long to pick out the memory I wanted to relive.

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Bell Pond, a remote cypress swamp.

My son, Keith, went with me. He was 15 years old.

Intermittent rain fell. There were no trails as we followed the water’s edge. Every step was a slurp. One of the first things I saw was a water moccasin. My little red umbrella almost kept my sketchbook and field notebook dry. A bullfrog called. A long dark snake swam effortlessly along the water’s surface. Another snake rolled off a log into the water.

The sky darkened again. This time dark-dark. Thunder was nearing. We picked up our pace as we followed an animal trail, the only trail through here. Suddenly we were in a heavy downpour. I hurried to the water’s edge, not wanting to miss a thing. The area was open with dead trees scattered about and a thick undergrowth of buttonbush. All was grayed by the angled sheeting rain. Occasional lightning  and rolling thunder added to the experience.

We heard bullfrogs. Deer flies found us. Fallen sticks, logs and patches of dense vegetation made walking difficult. Some areas smelled fishy from all the crawdads. The rain finally stopped. I was soaked!

The word dismal must have originated with someone trying to describe a swamp on a rainy day. After 3 1/2 hours of hiking, we were tired and very exhilarated. We couldn’t have had more fun if we had tried.

The swamp was an amazing, intriguing, eerie place for a visit. The weather added even more drama to the wildlife packed wetland community.

I was just glad I didn’t call it home!

A Fascinating Design

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Designs in nature can be so fascinating.

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Especially this intricate design in a chunk of a long-dead tree.

Nothing in Nature…

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Nothing in nature goes to waste.

Stone Masonry part 3

This is the last of three blogs about a short bluff on Eagle Mountain where Buffy and I often hike. Iron in the rock resulted in these dramatic designs, and the designs are called liesegang banding.

What an imagination Nature had when it came to this short bluff, and then having the assistance and willingness from the elements who completed these projects.

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All the pictures from these 3 blogs (except landscape ones)  came from this bluff.

IMG_4260 red altI didn’t notice the profile face until just now when placing the picture in the blog. It definitely has an alien look about it.

IMG_4261 red altThe talent involved in the “carving” of this bluff …

IMG_4276 red altthe variety,

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and even a modified heart shape.

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Anyone home?

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The hike along this bluff was most of the dramatic hikes I’ve had in I don’t know how long. It was rugged. It was exciting. It was breathtaking, and it was strenuous.

Next time I plan to hike here, I’ll be sure to have Wheaties for breakfast!

White Milkweed

I had the urge to see nature beyond my backyard. So Buffy and I went to walk the gravel road leading up to Stone Face. An orchid used to grow there, and I thought I might find it in bloom. No orchids, but I did find this white milkweed.

 I  measured the flower used in the next 3 pictures: flower was 3/8 inch tall, petal width 1/2 inch, crown height and width both 3/16 of an inch.

Milkweeds have interesting and complicated flowers.

This angle shows the 5 petals (corollas) in the back, the 5 hoods (coronas) and the 5 incurved horns.

The pollen is in tiny saddle bags, which I think are the lighter pale pink parts in an upside-down V over the whitish part between. The parts are so tiny that I wasn’t able to remove the pollinia to photograph it. When an insect walks over the flower, it’s leg  slips between two of the hoods. Then when the insect jerks its leg out, it snags on the saddle bag, which then wraps around the insect’s leg. The pollinia dislodges from the leg when the insect visits the next flower, and pollination takes place.

White milkweed (Asclepias variegata) grows in open woods, thickets and usually in sandy or rocky soil. Its range covers roughly the eastern half of the U.S. The plants grow to 3 feet tall and have opposite leaves.

All milkweeds have a milky sap that can be toxic. Monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweeds. The milky sap in the leaves makes the caterpillars toxic to predators.

No-Name Mushrooms

The variety of mushrooms fascinates me. The one in the first picture is on wood in our yard that’s covered with black plastic. I’ve never seen any mushroom remotely like it. It’s hard like wood. The shiny surface is dry, which I didn’t expect, and it’s 4 inches tall.

What an unusual mushroom!!

I found this second mushroom  on a hike yesterday. It was in the woods, near the base of a tree. It too was hard and had a wide base.  I liked the affects of  the grass growing through the mushroom. It would be interesting to know how that happened.

Another nature mystery

I didn’t find the mushrooms in either of my 2 mushroom books. A name isn’t required for my enjoyment.