This post is another one of those filled with all of the strange things I’ve seen that don’t fit anywhere else.
I found several white pine trees (Pinus strobus) on less than a square acre of land with some type of red substance on the base of their trunks. I don’t know if this was caused by a fungus or not, but I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t a lichen or slime mold, and I’m sure it wasn’t paint. I’ve never seen this before.
This tree also had a red substance on it, but it was higher up than that on the white pines was. This looked like it might have been a crustose lichen-possibly one of the fire dot lichens.
Last summer long I kept watch for a wild cucumber vine (Echinocystis lobata) but never saw one. Then I recently found this one, or what was left of it. This summer I’ll go back to this place and get the shots I wanted last summer. These vines are very fragrant when they bloom and people have started growing them in gardens for their enjoyable fragrance.
This bark was on the end of a fallen log. It was much smoother and was a different color than all of the bark around it, and it looked as if someone had sanded and stained it. Seeing things like this always make me wonder how and why they happened.
We are still having freezing cold days here and this recently cut hemlock stump with its sap frozen solid illustrates just how cold it can get when the wind is from the north.
This dead fern made me imagine the rib cage of some unknown forest creature.
Birds must lose a lot of feathers, because I see them hung up on shrubs all the time. Sometimes from a distance they can be easily mistaken for flowers. Since I’m tired of bush whacking my way through the woods to look at feathers that I thought were flowers, I bought myself some nifty mini binoculars to scan my surroundings with. They weigh almost nothing and will fit in a pocket. I might even get to see some birds with them.
I recently thumbed through a book called “Photographing the Patterns of Nature,” which was a mistake because now I’m seeing patterns everywhere. This is the pattern on the underside of a bracket fungus.
A tiny midge (Rhabdophaga strobiloides) laid an egg in the developing terminal leaf buds of a willow and when the larva grew it caused this pine cone gall by releasing a chemical which interferes with the willow’s normal development. The adult insect will emerge soon and repeat the cycle.
When something that doesn’t stretch is wrapped around the trunk of a tree it interferes with the tree’s normal development by stopping the flow of nutrients to its roots from its crown. This is called girdling. Unless it has other branches that aren’t girdled so nutrients can reach its roots, the tree will usually die. In the case of the tree sapling in the photo, this girdling was caused by a grape vine tendril.
I took this picture of this beard lichen because it looked so ancient-as if it had been clinging to this branch since the dawn of time.
One cold morning at about 6:00 am I saw clouds around the moon so I gathered up my camera and tripod, and out I went. Out of over 100 photos, this is the only one worth showing here. Keeping both the moon and clouds in focus was much harder than it should have been. I’ll see if I can learn from the rejects and try again the next time the moon is in the clouds.
In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth. ~John Milton
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