The frigid string of January days has finally been broken. Both yesterday and today featured daytime temperatures that strongly called to us to venture outside. There has been a down side. Yesterday included a heating gas delivery that was only twenty-nine days after the previous delivery. That is most unusual since two winter months usually separate them. This week also included a trip to the ER. A fall while descending the seemingly clear driveway saw me land on my shoulder neck area and smack the back of my head on the frozen gravel surface. Not wanting to do a Natasha Richardson rerun, caution ruled. I had the recommended C scan. Soreness persists but once again luck ruled and no lasting damage was done.
This picture shows the three spring transplanted Cardinal Flower plants still covered by snow and protected with a wire cage. That was the plan as the woods to the south keep these plants in shade at this time of year. Most of the snow cover is gone but here its insulating quality persists. Water is flowing out from the base of the ridge as can be seen in the two areas of open water. These Cardinal Flower plants are very near but just above moisture. All of the needs of this rare native plant may have been provided in this spot. We shall see.
This dead stick supporting fungus growth is very close to the Cardinal Flower plants. An old long dead tree is nearby. The cone collar of long ago rotted tree parts caught my eye. Rumor has it that Lady Slipper plants grow in the company of rotting wood. They sell for about seventy dollars each and I would like to nearly guarantee success with soil preparation before parting with that much money. I will return with buckets to mine some of this black gold. The shape of the ridge in the background suggests the appearance of Diamond Head. That is just a bonus on this warm to us day.
This double tiered fungus growing on a dead Hemlock trunk always catches my eye. I wonder if the red coloration is the result of exposure to direct sunlight?
This old friend is nearly gone. Early in our ownership of this land, every walk in the woods featured me backing into close contact with this giant. There was an indentation in the trunk that would just hold me under a huge branch. That location made me feel connected to nature in a deeply personal way. Now that trunk has joined five others that previously fell. Only one trunk remains. I wonder which of us will fall next.
This Hickory branch has been on the ground for several years. Nature's plan has it being converted to forest soil and the pictured fungus plays a part in that process. I find this decay supporting new growth beautiful!