Tag Archives: dirt

Don’t fight with a skunk for the garbage rights!~ Or, Perimenopause sounds like a new dance…

work in progess of a cartoon charcter of me.
rodents made this into a condo

The past few days have been just gorgeous. The air is cooler. The sky has been a range of clear blue, to heavy thick grey clouds and rain.  The trees haven’t changed color, even though the past couple of weeks the leaves have started to fall and dried leaves crunch beneath my shoes.

The yellow jackets are cranky with the cooler air, and the over abundance of fermented fruit.  Drunken bees are interesting indeed.

The grass and the wildflowers are now orange, red and browns mixed with dirty yellows.   Even the air smells like fall, dried grass and hay, mud, mold and Halloween.

 I feel a little sad; this summer was so hot, I couldn’t enjoy it. Each day was a steam bath of heat, making it nearly impossible to breathe, and walk at the same time. Even when I made an attempt, the mosquitoes forced me back indoors.

Now, I have to make my fall list of chores, I still haven’t finished my spring’s time list. Summer, forget it. That list was eaten by Uriah and I didn’t even care.

This past Friday the garbage was still sitting out by the curb, not having been collected on Thursday, the normal garbage pick up day; by Friday it was ripped open and spread around the mouth of the driveway by a skunk. I wanted to make sure it didn’t spread out into the road, so I rushed out and picked up the paper towels, and chicken bones scattered along the ground.

 As I shoved the very smelly garbage into a new plastic bag, I wondered, why the skunk hadn’t finished off all the bones. At that exact moment, when that question rattled around in my head, I saw a black nose, with black fur and a white stripe slip out of the drainage tile that stretched under the road  connecting the east side to the west.  

We shared a look and I stood up fast, “Oh no you don’t! I said out loud as I backed carefully away.  “You are not going to spray me!”

I thought I was safe, the skunk was in the drainage ditch and I was near the road. He would have to spray upward to get me.  I decided to ignore it.    I watched out for the cars whizzing by me, mere inches from my head.

Hurrying with the cleanup, I failed to notice one important thing.

 That little skunk had sprayed the other garbage bags.

I tossed the bag I was holding onto the pile, and then decided to straighten them all.

Right now, as I type this, I wonder why I had the compulsion to straighten the garbage bags….

The smell hit me hard, rotten chicken and the odd, burning green smell of skunk!

That skunk didn’t need to spray me, I did it myself. Then with all the brain power I had left, I covered my nose with my sleeve. The sleeve, which had skunk juice on it!

I headed back home, fast!  Uriah happily following behind, his nose pointed up as he kept sniffing the air around me. I gagged and blinked multiple times.  Having to stop when I thought my stomach would end up in the driveway if I moved to fast.

Next week, Michael is checking on the garbage!

****

Sorry, I haven’t been here a lot. I missed reading your Blogs. I will get back in the game. Sitting is a real pain.

Uriah is doing great. New dog food he lost a little weight. He needed to.

The examiner isn’t paying out like I hoped. They made some changes and the numbers aren’t posting correctly. Still I keep trying. I wrote my first article June 27th, I am on number 44 today, and I only made $17.97, that’s with 2,476 hits. Hmmm!?

I am trying my hand at cartooning myself. I jumped around on the internet checkout sites to make your self into a cartoon. Then I pieced together a character, redrew it, and colored it in paint. It is a work in progress. I posted it with this article on the examiner. ( I tried to add a link and wordpress just wouldn’t let me, here is the full link)

http://www.examiner.com/plant-life-in-chicago/searching-for-the-noxious-plant-called-marijuana-hampshire-illinois

 My camera started acting up. 90 % of the pictures came out blurred and the camera started making odd noises. Luckily I had a store warranty I took it back to Best Buy and they gave me a different camera. Maybe I should get an under water camera. It’s a thought.

 **Don’t read this part if your squeamish about women’s issues.* I’ve been doing the doctor run for Michael. Then I had my normal routine -yearly exams.  My doctor thought it would be a great idea to do a biopsy of my uterus. A fast decision he made. He said, instead of me coming back in a few months; let’s do this now…. I was in no position to argue. Michael said, I looked like I saw a ghost when I came out of the doctor’s office. perimenopause is so much fun! Results sometime next week.

Uriah killed That Rat!~ One down…

Hello, everyone!  This has been a very long, tiring month. With Michael unable to drive, I have been doing all the driving. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, but I have a back injury that makes it hard for me to sit, stand, and walk for even short periods of time.  Before, we were taking turns driving, now it’s all me. With multiple doctor appointments for all of us, including our teenager who will start ninth grade August 16th, I am having trouble even checking my emails. 

Now on to other happenings..

Yesterday Uriah killed, ‘That Rat’!

Where’d he go!

We were standing next to the garden. I was complaining about all the tomatoes that have been eaten in the past week. Thirteen! Thirteen big beautiful tomatoes!

I can’t say for sure it was a rat that ate the tomatoes, it could have been the skunk, a family lives near the barn. Or the opossum, one tried to take up residence in the dog house. Maybe raccoons!  There are plenty of those around. Even coyotes love tomatoes. Do foxes eat tomatoes?

What they looked like, then they were gone!

Anyway, Uriah turned away from me and started nosing around a square drainage tube that was lying at the top end of the garden. Ground squirrels like to hide there. I raised the tube to slide out the animal, and it held on inside tight. I rolled it over, and over until it was pointed at the Bog Willows and the rodent slid out.  A very fat, cute reddish rat ran a zigzagged pattern towards the trees.

Uriah looked up at me, surprised.

“Hey, you go catch that rat!” Ooops! I used the wrong word. Rat sounds like cat, Uriah isn’t supposed to chase a cat, and so he sat and watched it run. I pointed at the rat and yelled.  “Mouse! Get that mouse!”

 Uriah hesitated, then started chasing it through the grass. 

Yes, it squeaked, so do Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks. I almost called Uriah off. Almost..

The chase lasted only a minute or two, with Uriah tossing it into the air, then turning in circles and a giant leap, then silence.  Uriah waited. I praised him and gave him a pork rawhide bone. He happily trotted off, while I moved the body to the burn pile, fully intending to burn the tree branches and that rat, tomorrow. 

We were due at the doctors in an hour and I won’t light a fire if I’m not around. So that was the plan, tomorrow light the fire…

It rained all night. The trees are flooded.  The water line is inching towards the house and overflowing the burn pile. I need another plan…

 Link on Chipmunks and Ground Squirrels:

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/directory_show.cfm?species=groundsquirrel

What A Difference A Day Makes!~ Or, Uriah Took A Walkabout!~

This morning the snow was gone. Not totally! There are still patches sitting in the shadows, under a bush or tree, and along the shaded area on the deck. For the most part, the snow melted as the warmer air and sunshine moved in.

Barely a breeze this morning, I stepped outside ready for my morning walk. I called to Uriah and headed along the path. Birds were fluttering from tree to tree, and screaming at my intrusion into their lives. How dare I!

This morning my walk was uneventful, or was it? Did I miss the rodents scurrying under the evergreens? Or the red-winged black birds flying over head then stopping to watch me as they perched on the highest point of the tallest tree..

I saw them all. A powdery blue sky, void of clouds, crowned above me as the beautiful green scent of spring drifted along my walking path. I was very relaxed and at peace with the day.

Uriah ran up to me, wagged his tail and ran to the tree line. He gave me a backwards glance and disappeared. I wasn’t concerned until I was back at the house, then I wondered where he was. I whistled! I called out! I walked next to the Bog Willows and tried to peek inside. I couldn’t find Uriah anywhere. I headed towards the barn and kept walking towards the north until I hit the empty field. Carefully maneuvering myself over the thick brown, flatten grass; I glanced to the east taking in the rolling waves of black dirt, empty of movement. I had thought, just maybe, Uriah was taking a stroll in the field looking for something repugnant to roll in. He wasn’t there…

I walked back south, turned and headed once more to path towards the east. I walked to the far back.  Carefully I avoided holes and barbed wire and stared along the farmer’s air field, first towards the red barn, then to the grove of trees, south.  

By this time anger was being replaced by fear. The farmer is known for shooting dogs.

I started to walk back towards the house.

 Suddenly, Uriah appeared, his tongue hanging out; tired he flopped at my feet and looked up as if he wanted me to give him a few minutes to recover from his run.

“Where did you go?”  I rubbed his face checking his fur for animal dung.

Uriah hung his head and stared at the ground.

With a heavy sigh, I started walking back to the house. A Blue Jay appeared and screamed at us. Uriah jumped up and walked along side me…

Winter Is Holding On As Cartoon Birds Run Through The Trees “D’oh!” ~

Yesterday, the temperatures rose high enough that the snow became heavy and started to thaw, just enough to become slippery and wet.

Twenty-four hours later, today.  The snow was solid and slick with chucks of sharp ice. 

The snow was so hard Uriah’s paws slid as he walked across the top without breaking through. Instead he slipped and fell.  He was not amused!   I tromped over to him, allowing my weight to break the top layer of snow.  I moved slowly to where Uriah sat. He looked irritated at the smooth, white snow stretching out in front of him. 

Stabbing my ski poles into the snow on either side of Uriah, I tried to slide him off the top of the snow bank, onto the area I packed down. When he was back on his feet/paws, Uriah glanced back at the tree he had been heading for, for a second he hesitated, sighed and made an odd grumbling, growling sound. 

If Uriah had fingers I bet he would have flipped the bird at that snow bank. 

Uriah made a half hearted attempt to walk behind me, then he decided to walk next to me, on that snow covered frozen path.

As we walked the sky cleared and a deep, purplish blue sat on the horizon to the east.  I stopped and looked straight up. The sky was slightly hazy grey. Some low clouds moved above me, giving me a closed in feeling.

The air held an odor of pond water, fishy and green smelling.  As I headed along the path a sweet, bitter smell of smoke curled around me until I reached the far back. At that point, the path turns to the north and rounds out and heads back west, towards the house. Just then, the wind picked up blowing in from the north-east, and pushed away the burning campfire smell.  The air changed, I could smell cows, manure and hay.

As far as I could see, the snow covered the fields. A pattern of colors and lines weaved in and out. I looked towards the farmer’s barn; I could see cows walking slowly and dark earth pushing up between snow drifts.  Grey ice covered the lower areas, frosted and untouched by the slightly warmer air.  

Uriah and I reached some heavy bushes; we walked underneath them instead of around. A tiny, black headed bird, complained at our intrusion. Uriah nudged my pocket I stopped and broke a milk bone in half and handed it to him. He was happily crunching away when a stick snapped next to us, we both turned to the right.

Not more than a foot away from us was that Pheasant! His neck was stretched up high. Light grey with a dark blackish blue ring around his neck. He looked startled and scared, and he slowly backed away from us, then turned and flew into the taller trees. He missed the first branch and then started running towards the Bog Willows. He ran into a tree trunk flapping and scooting around until he disappeared into the trees. 

 Picture a very stupid cartoon bird!

All this took no more than a couple of minutes, both Uriah and I watched him with our mouths open, Uriah forgot his biscuit. I forgot my camera…

Insert, heavy sigh, rolling eyes, slap on forehead and Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!”

Uriah looked at me. I shrugged and he made a half hearted move to chase the bird.  He took a couple of steps, then changed his mind and continued eating his biscuit.

Winter around here won’t end until April, if we are lucky.

Playing With My Camera~ Smile For William!

Most of the snow ,that was on the ground yesterday, is gone today.  It has been raining, making everything wet, dreary and muddy. I was a little disappointed when I saw the view was so blah!

Kenshin is a ham when it comes to pictures.

Uriah hates the camera! Every time I pointed it at him he turned  away, or just  sat down with his back to me.  He wanted to take a walk.  I told him to smile for William, only then did he face the camera.

I gave up and came back in the house, where Kenshin started making a heavy sighing sound at me and turning in circles. I asked him, what was wrong? He took me to my computer, and then looked out the window at the outside kennel.

It took me some time to capture what was out there, between Uriah outside the window and Kenshin inside, I wasn’t catching anything.  Can you see what I finally saw?

How Many Rocks Can My Pockets Hold?~

Written on December 7th, 2009~

 Earlier this morning when I took my dog out for a walk, the air was a mist of grey fog. The sun was a haze in the early morning sky. When I first glanced up, I thought the Sun was the Moon, defused in the grey mist and entangle in the dense cloud cover. My breath and the fog were inseparable.  

It had snowed during the night. Everything was covered in white. Each branch was coated, in a perfect holiday photo shoot. The ground was frozen so even the driveway was paved white.

I stayed near the house, and planned on walking out back later in the day.

It was nearly four o’clock in the afternoon by the time I decided to take a walk. The snow was no longer coating the trees. Only lines of snow zigzagged across the lawn   

Uriah took off in the trees, angrily barking.  He reappeared in front of me, only to follow the tracks of a grey squirrel. Whose residence is in the trees at the beginning of the path.

 The air was cold yet tolerable. I had forgotten my gloves back by the house and my fingers weren’t freezing, so I was happy. I started walking to the right, where the ground moves upward on a slight incline. Directly in the center of the path a small, three inch evergreen had taken root. I never saw it before.  I made a mental note to remember and check on it in spring.  If it really was growing on the path I’ll need to transplant it.

 I continued on my way. When I reached the far back and started to circle home, I stopped to admire the old farm house and its red barn, equally sized white Silos and smaller buildings all built up together like a castle, the surrounding grass and turned over fields, patterned shades of brown, yellow, green, and beige.  The sections were the last rain fell washed the dirt to a dark black.  White snow striped the empty corn fields.

I could see for miles…  

Faded green grass still stood out in the farmer’s air field. Along the air field, past forty acres of plowed fields, I watched Black Angus cows. They moved slowly into a fenced in field. 

Off to the northeast, I could see helicopter hovering in the direction of the express way.

Uriah started to bark, as  I walked  back, I kept calling  his name, and he kept answering by barking- not by appearing.

I reached the part of the path, that was directly across from where I saw the little evergreen, at the beginning of my walk.  I stopped and poked the dirt with my ski pole, it gave way. I called to Uriah each call I stabbed the pole at the dirt, I hit a rock!

Curiosity got the better of me.  I stood there digging out this little rock, which lay just under the dirt and field grass. It was a slight tipsy square flat rock, to my eye it was nearly perfect. With the thought of crafting something, maybe checkers.  I slipped it into my pocket as Uriah barked again.

At that point I looked down, and found another little evergreen growing on the path.

The grass all around me had given up trying to reach for the sky and laid level with the ground, sleeping until spring.   I walked back a few feet searching for more of the little saplings. I found six more going in the center of the path.

Uriah’s barking became more agitated; I started walking back towards home. Every few feet I called him and he answered back, I felt like I was playing ‘Marco Polo’ with him.

Picture from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blackangus.jpg

My One Month Blog Anniversary ~ Or Is That Called An ‘Blogiversary?’

December 2nd, 2009. I have had this Blog up one month, today. And I enjoyed writing every post. There aren’t any free downloads to commemorate the occasion, just this new Blog post. Enjoy! I love to hear your comments, or just say, ‘Hi,’ as you pass through.

Be careful don’t step in a muskrat hole! 

Today may be overcast and slightly cooler than yesterday, with the temperatures in the forties.  For some reason it just doesn’t feel cold to me.

As I walked around the back path, I stopped and listened to the small, black and grey, birds they fluttered and chirped angrily at me in the trees. These little guys jump around so fast and keep inside the tree branches it is hard to see specific markings. I will keep guess and searching for their names. Chickadee, maybe, they are in the order of Passeriformes.

Uriah kept his nose to the ground pointing out each new muskrat hole and scat droppings. I called to him and he sat at my side.

I closed my eyes and listened to the wind. That’s when I realized the breeze was moving in low from the Northwest, but along the ground. My coat fluttered and I felt the gentle breeze on my chin, and that’s where it stopped. The low grass rustled, but not the taller, dried beige tops of the Goldenrod. This wind was skimming the ground, sneaking around the base of the trees, chasing pieces of corn husks, and an odd leaf or two.

Sounds were muffled; I opened my eyes and looked up at the grey overcast sky. Today’s cloud cover  pulled in a heavy, thick silence, that precedes a storm, rain or snow.

I heard a motorized buzzing, I looked up and around. From the east, a small helicopter flew towards me, high above the plowed fields.  I watched as it approached, and passed overhead quickly.

When I looked down Uriah was gone. Little bugger! I couldn’t hear him nosing around anywhere and I wasn’t in the mood to start calling for him. I decided to continue on with my walk, he will find me this time.

I took my time walking back and as I hoped, Uriah was nervously waiting for me at the edge of the path. He wiggled into my leg to have his head patted, and nuzzled my coat pocket for a treat.

“Silly dog! Why should I give you a treat when you run off?”

My half hearted attempt at scolding him didn’t work; he just stared at me smiling. I gave him a Liver Snap biscuit.

Uriah tried to get me to look inside a large animals burrow by digging around it and crying.  Stupidly I approached, the subtle smell of a skunk wafted around me, I stopped, then slowly backed away and whistled for him to follow.   

 I walked along the tree line, as we headed back to the house. I saw the old pair of jeans that had been in Uriah’s kennel.  I mentioned them here:  http://gerardinebaugh.wordpress.com/?s=Magical+Gnomes.

They were bunched up against the base of a tree, nearly fifty feet inside the tree line.  I wondered, if  it was the coyotes who moved them around.

 Entering the backyard, we were greeted with the excited clicking of the Northern Cardinal; I saw four males, bright red, hopping from branch to branch in the old apple tree. More answered from deeper in the trees. Only one Sparrow showed his feathered features. I only saw him because I tried to look around the base of the apple tree for the female Cardinals. 

The air was getting heavier, and the cloud cover thickened almost instantly.  Rain is coming…

Clouds Touched The Earth

The day started out cool, wet, and misty, with the clouds touching the earth.

 I walked through those  clouds this morning, as I navigated the muddy path. No longer overflowing with water, which had drained off during the night, the path now was a mess of slippery and slimy mud.

 I decided if I walked carefully and slowly, while holding onto my ski pole and the Bog Willows that grew on the sides of the path, I wouldn’t fall and get covered in mud.

 That was the plan.

I really should have told Uriah the plan.

Halfway into the path and feeling proud I hadn’t kicked up any of the permanent staining mud, I stopped and looked back at Uriah. He stood at the edge of the mud, tongue hanging out and a big smile on his fury face. He wasn’t looking at me; I turned back and saw a grey squirrel nosing around the base of a tree. My eyes swept the ground from the squirrel, past me to Uriah. I took in all that mud.

Then watched, in slow motion as Uriah stood up, and charged at the squirrel, mud kicked up over his head, as he raced past.  

What I said could not be printed here.

 Uriah didn’t even notice. In his head, he was chasing the big bad squirrel.

On my head sat a clump of mud, with some moss mixed in…

Within the next second he took off into the trees, barking.

I ignored him while I called his name. I walked all the way around the path and he stayed where he was, in the trees barking.

The fog moved through the trees, giving everything a soft feel. Birds yelled at me, or maybe Uriah. Crows, Blackbirds, and Blue Jays flew to the tops of the trees screaming in irritation. Cardinals were on the lower branches, as they followed me around the path. They landed in the trees and bushes just ahead, or off to the side.  As I passed they flew on ahead, waiting on the next branch.

I slipped through the mud, and I headed back towards the house.

Uriah stayed in the trees and continued to bark.

Finches and dark-eyed junco, and black-capped chickadees, flittered in-between the trees as I passed by. 

I noticed this year’s over produced bird, the Sparrow. At least fifty of them were in the grass around the burn pile; they flew up into the blue spruce, and chattered away.  I startled those Sparrows as I passed by, I stopped and  watched; they took flight heading over the roof in perfect synchronization, turning to the left, then right as they maneuvered around trees, until they landed in my neighbor’s trees and bushes. 

Last year the over abundant bird was the Common Grackle. The year before, Mourning Doves flourished.

It took only a moment for me to wonder, when the birds of prey will notice all those sparrows. Suddenly, a high pitch screech echoed above and around me.  The Red-tailed hawk,  had already seen them.

Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensi)

http://www.illinoisraptorcenter.org/Field%20Guide/redtailpictures.html

Uriah and I stopped sneezing long enough to watch the harvester turn around.

Beautiful day!  Skies are clear, very little wind; temperatures are mild, in the mid fifties.

 Uriah was the first to notice the farm equipment pull into the field next door. He freaked! He climbed on the deck and cowered on the north side, farthest way from the equipment. 

The corn in the southern field was finally being  harvested. I stood outside and watched as the large tractor moved slowly into place. I could see the farmer in the cab and a child.

Farmer’s children will help them with the harvesting.  They watch for problems as their parent harvests the crops.The cab they sat in was sealed, heated and air-conditioned.

The winds were blowing away from me, so as the tractor passed by most of the dust spread out to the south.

Just as I thought, “Wow,  I am lucky the wind isn’t blowing in this direction.” The wind changed!  I started coughing, and blinking rapidly as the dust settled in over my head.

I choked out Uriah’s name and we headed towards the path to take a walk. The trees in that area blocked some of the harvesting dust. Well, sort of..

I crossed my fingers that the farmer would only be working on the lower part of the field at this time. I smiled, when I saw him hit the half way point near the drainage tiles and turn around.

 Uriah and I stopped sneezing long enough to watch the harvester.

With all the bare fields, the animals have been congregating in our trees. Last night, every hour, I was yelling out the doors for the coyotes to leave. There must have been close to a dozen howling and yelping very close to the house.

Coyotes don’t understand windows.  So, I had to insure the indoor cats stayed away from the glass. I really didn’t have to worry; they hid under the bed when the howling started.

Uriah, on the other hand, was whining and barking wanting to chase them. A dog barking won’t keep coyotes away from the house. It has the opposite effect. So, between trying to calm down Uriah, petting the cats and yelling at the coyotes, it was a fun night.

Halfway through the walk, Uriah disappeared with hackles raised, into the trees. Stupidly I walked in after him, calling and getting tangled in leafless under brush. After a short time, I headed back to the house. When Uriah reappeared  his tongue was trailing on the ground.  

The farmer took a lunch break and finished the back half of the field; I stood out on the deck and enjoyed the view.

This scene has to be a little boy’s dream.  A large tractor harvesting corn slowly chopping, crunching, and roaring through a field, as an equally large dump truck waits to be filled with the corn; such an impressive, unobstructed view of a real mid-western farm life.  

I love it out here.

Magical Gnomes Wander Through This Area

     Late morning, around eleven I grabbed my walking stick/ski pole and headed out to take a Uriah for a walk. First thing I noticed was the pair of old jeans that had been pulled out of the Trees and water 2burn pile and looked as though someone had played a game of tug of war with them. Using the end of my ski pole I was able to slip under one leg and flip the pants over a drooping branch of an old bog willow. I just want to see how badly the animal wanted them. Will he reach up and pull them down, or walk away form them?

     Tomorrow will tell.

     Walking along the tree line wearing my fashionable bright orange jacket, I decided to slip into the denser foliage. Normally I wouldn’t walk into the woods. Ticks treat me like a free taxi ride. Today I don’t have to worry; the tempeture is barely sixty degrees. Fingers crossed I am hoping they are all snoozing. At least that’s what I am hoping, as I peer around some fallen trees.

     “Hey, Uriah, give me a paw here, how do I get through these trees?” I stepped back and waited for Uriah to catch up to me. I patted his head and slipped him a milk bone.

      Uriah looked up at me, caught a scent and stuck his head in a large hole.   Eyes only, keeping his head buried in a hole in the ground.  I whistled, he started wagging his tail and pushed past me.  

     I weaved a drunken path deeper into the wooded area, attempted to bypass the heavy vines that were tangling around my legs, while totally avoiding the wild rose bushes. I didn’t get far and I had to peel off the heavy thorns as I stepped on the vines in order to get past them. Uriah was already at least twenty feet ahead of me.

     “Wait up” I called out; he stopped turned and rolled his bugging eyes. I could swear he was laughing!

    Maneuvering my way through the vines, I stepped into a darkened clearing.  The ground snapped and popped under foot like Rice Krispies. The air, damp and cool filled my universe with a heavy musk scent. I looked around half expecting a deer to jump out at me. Nothing moved. Uriah seemed unconcerned. The first thing I noticed was the deep black dirt, spongy with layers of moss, leaves and decomposing branches. The ground was damp, without a drop of standing water.  

     The remains of last September’s floods were evident everywhere. One of the older trees had fallen and was stretched out in front of me. Its bark had been scrapped and torn off in places. I knew that woodpeckers could tear into the bark; usually their damage consisted of uniform holes.

     Round grey mushrooms, the size of grapes, were growing along the broken base. It was beautiful in its demise; it was feeding the area, with an array of bugs and sweet rotting bark. I spotted three different types of moss growing along its trunk.    At that moment I nearly lost my senses and walked a little to close to the fallen tree. A warning came from above.  A hawk screeched! That high pitch piercing sound that let me know I was moving in his territory. The blue jays added to the sound, and then a lone crow flew in-between the trees above my head.

     Trees towering above me had large mushrooms growing in their branch bark ridges (where the branch connects to tree) standing straight up. Now I’ve seen mushrooms growing along the side of a tree, smaller mushrooms. These mushrooms were the size of a cantaloupe. Their base was the thickness of my fist and the tops like umbrellas. Once used by magical gnomes that are said to wander through this area. Hmmm! Maybe that’s were they store their umbrellas!

      I moved away from the downed tree. The view around me was perfection. I stood, just staring until Uriah came by, sat at my feet and offered me his paw.  Slipping my hand into my pocket I gave him another Milk Bone. That dog loves his treats!

      Reveling in the deep woodsy landscape spread out in front of me- I was awe struck.

      A carpet of three leafed plants, about a foot tall, spread out around me. I could see small tiny, tiny bright green sprouts pushing up through the rich black dirt while the sunlight tried to slip through the green canopy above me.   A few more steps and suddenly the trees opened up to a field of grass, nearly up to my waist.

     Nearly forgetting I wasn’t in Oz, Mother Nature sent in her tiny vampire mosquitoes letting me know it really wasn’t all that cold out, and in this kingdom they still reined supreme.  

     With that first slap to my forehead, the magic dissipated.  Looking around I could see scat marking the base of some of the trees, and just the thought of poison ivy had me slowly inching my way back towards the short grass near the house. I’ll come back   and take some notes, when the temperature drops a few more degrees.

“Friesner Herbarium”

“Tree identification

http://www.butler.edu/herbarium/treeid/treeparts.html

The Visual Dictionary”

http://www.infovisual.info/01/002_en.html

http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Trees/

Raccoon scat”

http://www.wildernesscollege.com/raccoon-tracks.html

 

“YouTube screaming red-tail hawk”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33DWqRyAAUw

 

 

“Animal scat”

http://www.bear-tracker.com/animalscat.html