Birch tree

As promised the other day, loving close-ups of birch bark. Because it’s so beautiful and graphic and flaky and jagged and smooth and speckled and interesting. I mean, it’s white. It pretty much forces you to look at it. A lot of bark looks pretty much alike. NOT BIRCH BARK.

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dos

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tres

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cuatro

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cinco

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seis

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siete. make way for the lichen brigade the next few pictures

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ocho

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nueve

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diez. shreddy. In fact, I think “shreddy” has been the name of the game over here on sarahtakespictures today.

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once

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doce. a pretty ole tree scar

Playing Where’s Waldo with elm samaras

I’m not 1000% certain these are elm fruits (samaras), but I’m pretty sure. They’re all over the woods right now. Did I say “they”? Maybe I meant “it.” Maybe I’m taking pictures of the same one, over and over again.

1.

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March 9th pictures: Ice Capades for the 21st century

Pictures from today’s walk:

1. The first new leaf I've found on our coral bells! Behold it in its crinkly purple glory.

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371 pictures later, pt. 3

I was so excited about the weather yesterday, I took something like 37,000 pictures. Here are a few more that I liked. This post is all about trees and leaves. You know, like 80% of this blog.

1. Meltwater reflection. I like that you can still see some icy slush underneath the puddle.

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371 pictures later, pt. 2

Continued from this post earlier, these pictures were taken in the yard at large and on and near the lane that runs between the two large ravines behind our backyard.

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1. Traces of ice remain on the slope of the lawn near the shop, where it is typically shady. In weeks past it has, of course, been covered with snow, so the icy danger remains hidden. You must choose your route down into the ravine carefully because you don't want to slip and wake up dead.

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2. The view down the lane with the raspberry canes a-glowin' purple/red. I think these are either black raspberries or a hybrid of red and black berries.

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3. The north side of the yard, facing west. Two pines have bitten it in recent years. You may notice a very small post for horseshoes in the middle of the picture. Unfortunately we don't plays horsehoes.

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4. Raspberries

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5. Leaves on the ground by the raspberry patch.

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6. Glowin' to beat the band, they were.

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7. I cannot emphasize enough how bright they were.

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8. I've been remiss in posting lichen pictures in the last day or two.

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9. Shelf fungus, underside.

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10. A shelf fungus, or a lab-grown ear?

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10. Puddles and ditches are about neck-in-neck for favorite sources of pictures these days.

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11. Detail of buckthorn bark.

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12. I think this may be a strip of pine bark, the underside. You can see just a little bit of bright green lichen poking out from the other side.

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13. This is a path that runs along the north side of our property, overlooking the large ravine where meltwater streams this time of year.

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14. Just a leaf.

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15. Just a bud. I noticed these delicate little red buds already a month ago; they haven't gotten terribly bigger yet but there are a lot more of them now.

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16. Buds on an older part of the tree.

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17. Seed head in front of a large puddle.

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18. Twigs sticking up out of that puddle.

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19. Pin oak leaves in puddle.

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20. Mound of grass in leaves on hillside.

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21. Bed of moss between ravines.

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22. 'Twas as soft as it looks.

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23. Little berries I found between the ravines, here on a stump at one of our campsites.

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24. Someday-firewood.

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25. Someday firewood, pine edition: driven to abstraction.

February 22nd: a spring-y interlude before some more winter

Well, today was a rare still day, and with temperatures up around 40 the weather down in the woods was downright fabulous. I thought I’d take a gander at the temporary stream, which was frozen by the time I got down there but running freely, at least at its end, by the time I left. I wasn’t sure where it drained before — it dried up completely at a random spot in the woods, the last I saw — but today I was able to see that it ┬ádrains into “my” (precious) gully. Which makes sense and also helps explain why the gully is the gully. (See pictures of the gully here and here.)

I’m probably going to be repeating myself a lot in the coming weeks, but wow, even just in the last couple of days the forest floor has changed. Before, you had to go looking for the new growth, but now you can see some with even the more careless glance about. Or maybe you can’t. I wouldn’t know, as I am excessively careful with my looking.

Anyway, since the stream wasn’t especially fascinating today, I spent most of my time at the riverbank and the sandbar.

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1. This is the one I see everywhere, and this is the greenest of them all. I think it might be some kind of anemone.
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2. Look, honest-to-god clumps!
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3. I like the leaf and bundle scars on this branch. It's a little face wearing a Pope hat.

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4. I like this rotted log and how red it is; I think it makes such a nice contrast with the pale leaf.

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5. Thing number 454 that I can't not take a picture of: dead logs, especially with bark peeling away to show the sapwood. Or whatever that's called.

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6.

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7. I'm pretty sure I've taken a picture of this log before.

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8. The cutest little mushrooms I ever did see. You can tell how small they are with the moss for reference.

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9. The bluest lichen I ever did see.

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10. A pile of rotting walnuts; they almost look like they’ve been burnt. I blame the squirrels.
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11. Hackberry

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12. Hackberry

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13. Moss meets bloomy white fungus stuff.

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14. Look out, he'll eat you too.

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15. Ready, set, grow?

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16. That is purple, boy.

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17.

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18. I’ve never seen a fungus like this (assuming it’s fungus too) — it almost looks like pollen. I accidentally brushed these little plants as I was trying to take the picture and a huge cloud of powder rose up.
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19. It looks like a fish head, doesn't it.

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20. Black walnut shells.

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21. A piece of bone I found!

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22.

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23.

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24. Gigantic cottonwood across the riverbank.

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25.

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26. I love these little seed capsules.

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27.

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28.

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29. Green briar doing what it does best.

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30.

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31.

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32. This guy is growing on the sandbar in the middle of the river but unfortunately he will soon be covered in snow, soon to be followed by ice chunks as the river begins to thaw. But I am impressed by its efforts now.

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33. Another little guy on the sandbar.

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34.

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35. Washed-up trees at the riverbank. They're like tree dumbbells.

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36.

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37. Very dead moss?

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38. Looking north up the length of the sandbar.

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39. Yeah...I had to step through some of this to get to the sandbar, but it was okay.

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40.

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41. Leaf and seaweed (riverweed?) washed up against a rock.

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42.

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43.

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44.

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45. I liked how the tree's reflection looked against the pinkish granite in the water.

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46.

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47. I love the form of the big tree in the middle of the photo.

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48.

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49.

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50. At one point I looked up from trying to take macros of tree roots and realized that the trees were a-glowin'. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to get some really good pictures of the sunset before my camera battery died.

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51. But a couple of them still turned out neat, I thought.

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52. So then my dad kindly lent his camera and I went back down to the river for more pictures. This is about ten or fifteen minutes after the previous picture.

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53. And several minutes after that.

We’re looking at a couple inches of snow tomorrow, so perhaps I’ll take a snowy expedition tomorrow afternoon.

Oh — and here are some previous posts with a many a picture down by the river.

February 20th pictures: a semi-rainy walk in the woods

What strange weather today. When I went for a mid-afternoon walk, it was overcast, about 42 degrees, and crazy windy. It’s windy out here a lot of the time, often unpleasantly so, but today the wind actually felt kind of warm. Not exactly a tropical breeze warm, but a warmth more on the side of spring than winter, anyway. What’s nice out here is the wooded, protected areas that block breeze; the ravine behind our house feels even more sheltered.

I spent a good deal of the walk alongside a little seasonal stream that carries water away from the road up at the top of the ravine. It’s been freezing and unfreezing the last couple of weeks — see some pictures I took here, when it was frozen — but today, the shallowest stretches, pretty much puddles, were thawed. Water started dripping down from the trees, and then it started dripping more, and then it started…RAINING! But it was barely dripping, so I stayed outside for another hour or so.

By the time I got back to the house the rain was coming down a little harder, and now it has turned into snow, as if to defy my expectations of what mid-February weather should look like. Point taken, weather gods.

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1. My favorite new juxtaposition, new growth against old. It's been four or five days since my last walk down in the woods and there's about twice as many new little plants pushing their way up off the forest floor.

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2

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3. A depression filling with water just to the side of the stream; it seems to have the same beer-colored effect going on as what happens in the driveway….you can see pictures of that little phenomenon here.

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4. As beerish as it may be, the color makes a nice backdrop to reflections of tree silhouettes, I think.

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5. I believe these are Canadian nettle leaves, but I don't know what the stem belongs to. I like the reddish pink tinge and the lenticels.

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6. Fungus!

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7. Toothy poplar?

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8. Tree reflections in the temporary stream.

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9. One of the frozen parts of the stream's surface.

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10.

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11. Whee, a little berry!

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12. It's always fun to find an old dead leaf that has retained some of its green color.

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13. Pin oak leaf in the stream.

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14.

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15. The world's tiniest whirlpool?

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16. Hopefully you see my message in the bubbles.

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17. Black walnut shells

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18. Sad/funky old Dr. Pepper can

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19. Underside of can.

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20. Prominent mid rib of leaf.

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21.

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22.

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23.

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24. Favorite juxtaposition part 2

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25. Little clump of moss with both sporophyte and gametophyte!

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26. Ouch.

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27.

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28. That's new green growth you see at the base of this stem. It's one of perhaps half a dozen plants I've noticed that are already producing new growth. Unfortunately I'm not sure what this is.

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29.

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30.

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31. Some odd little fungal growth that I've been noticing on the undersides of many a branch. They seem to be getting larger and whiter.

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32. Virginia creeper?

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33. Interestingly-colored strip of bark.

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34. Partially-eaten leaf.

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35. Sweet cicely seeds.

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36. These little growths are utterly mysterious to me...they're these masses of what look like unfurled leaves or seed capsules or something, glommed together with this silky, fluffy stuff. I saw them on several different trees but never before this walk.

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37. Part of the above-mentioned structure. These look like the underside of a flower's sepals or something.

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38. Lovely lichen.

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39. Bear floss?

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40. Closeup of one of the logs that comprises the fort my niece, nephew, and friends built down in the woods.

More pictures from yesterday’s coldsnap

More pictures from yesterday (a.k.a. Coldathon 2012). When I got back to the house I discovered I did not get some of the pictures I wanted because my finger had not pressed all the way down on the button and I was too cold to tell.

Because it’s not a day in my life without leaf close-ups.

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Because it’s not a day in my life without bark close-ups.

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Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

 

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Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

One of winter’s recommendations is being able to really see trees’ shapes. I could go for a real live flower right about now, but when spring comes I’ll miss being able to see this network of branches as well as I can now.

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Show-off raspberry canes line the Lane.

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Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

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