Saturday, February 22, 2014
Trunk Circles And Spring Tails
Winter has been harsh this year but today the temperature may have hit 50 F. Smooth slick ice formed everywhere overnight. By afternoon the lane was clear and a walk about was in order. Not knowing how I would fare walking in the deep wet snow, a short walk to the gravel bank seemed a good choice. Here the sun is beginning to expose the horizontal surface of the temporary stone pile. The depth of the accumulated snow is more than we usually see here. Small stones of visual interest are gathered together on top of the wall. Repeated cold cycles and melting snow have polished them clean.
A wide variety of small stones have been dropped here by glacial meltwater. Fossil bearing sandstone formed nearby is found with limestone that came here from the North. The striped egg was brought to us all the way from the Adirondack Mountains. A new crack has opened in the stone in the upper right corner of the photo. A peek at the interior of that stone is needed. It would have already happened but the crack was not seen until the picture was examined.
These black specks are the first from of insect life that we encounter here at this time of year. Spring tails is their name. It refers to the method of their movement not the impending season. A snap of their posterior hurls them into the air. Topography and wind control their destination. A depression formed by a sleeping deer and a West wind have combined to deposit numerous insects in a small space. We need to learn something of their life cycle. Where they came from, what they are eating and why now are unknown to us. Still it is good to see some signs of life after this brutal winter.
Another puzzle is shown here. Snow has melted around the base of this tree. At first glance, it seems that the dark colored tree has absorbed heat from the sunlight causing snow melt. If that were the only factor, then one would expect a greater open area where the tree faces the sun. The side of the tree that remains in shadow has melted as much snow as the side in bright sunlight. There must be another factor at work here.
We have failed to have a wild blueberry harvest for the past three consecutive years. Late frost or early drought have worked together to take the fruit. These swollen buds are promise of things to come. If we do have a harvest this year, it could be a big one. There is always hope.
Our first seed order arrived here in today's mail. Finding that package in the mail box just made me feel hopeful. We need to send out another order soon. I will be putting lettuce seed to soil in less than three weeks. Of course the seeds will be in pots in the basement and they will be planted way too early but I will do it despite rational reasons to wait for a more appropriate time.