Wednesday, November 27, 2013
found in oak/pine forests. The berries have a lovely minty flavor, and
the leaves, when crushed, have a delightful wintergreen scent. Learn
more about the plant and how to make an alcohol extract with it here:
And while you're there, feel free to forage around my blog to see what
else is new. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I found this while out walking today and thought it was pretty bizarre. Then I looked around on the Internet and discovered that it's not an uncommon thing for deer to do. I guess bears aren't alone in finding poles like this to be attractive scent stations.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Next week, Robert Thorson (google him) will be speaking at the monthly meeting for the Friends of the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge in Stow, MA. His books will tell you exactly what you are seeing in your walks through the New England woods. I'll be there, Lars.
From their website:
From their website:
Wednesday, November 20, 7:00 PM
November Monthly Meeting with Dr. Robert Thorson talking about The ‘Natural’ History of New England’s Stone Walls
Stone walls lie at the intersection of science and history, which became woven together during the transformation of wilderness into family farms. – Stone by Stone.
Stone walls mean many things to many people. They are pleasant surprises during many a New England ramble. They are the subject of poems and photo essays. To the human ecologist, stone walls associated with late colonial and Yankee farms are part of our "extended phenotype," displaying the history of our human interaction with the land. Professor Thorson will tell the story of their inevitability, of how they simply had to happen when a livestock-tillage economy was superimposed on a buried scatter of glacial stones. He will include a local focus as he discusses Thoreau's love for the iconic stone walls of the greater Concord River watershed and his prescient understanding of the creation story of the Assabet watershed: both topics of Thorson’s newly released book, “Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth Century Science.”
Dr. Thorson’s books will be available for purchase starting at 6:30PM. Proceeds of these sales benefit the Friends of the Assabet River NWR. Books available will include “Exploring Stone Walls,” “Stone By Stone,” “Stone Wall Secrets,” “Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America’s Kettle Lakes and Ponds.”
Robert Thorson is a professor at the University of Connecticut where he holds appointments in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, the Department of Anthropology, and the Center For Integrated Geosciences. Dr. Thorson has brought his enthusiasm for geology to fields as varied as History and Civil Engineering while teaching at universities from Alaska to Chile, where he was a senior Fulbright scholar. He is currently a visiting scholar in the American Studies program at Harvard University. His field work has included the U.S. Geological Survey and agencies ranging from the Japanese Ministry of Culture to the National Geographic Society. In 2002, he published “Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England's Stone Walls,” which became a regional bestseller and won the Connecticut Book Award for nonfiction. This began a decade of advocacy for the preservation of historic landscapes. More recently, Dr. Thorson has expanded his writings to another signature New England landform, kettleponds. Dr. Thorson is also an environmental columnist for the Hartford Courant.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I found my own mangled autumn olive bush while hiking today. Though it was exciting to consider - for a brief moment - that it was the work of a bear, the damage was far less severe. Even more telling, there wasn't a single berry anywhere around. Once I noticed two huge scrapes nearby (both beneath overhanging branches) and the dogs sniffed out the easily-identifiable scat, I figured that the white-tailed deer rut must be starting.
Monday, October 7, 2013
These photos were taken in western Massachusetts by my sister. Bear are an established presence in her area, and it looks like one of them decided to feast on the juicy autumn olive berries that are everywhere for the picking right now. The scat found at the site was chock full of berry seeds.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Shagbark and pignut hickory nuts are great wild edibles, and there's
still time to get a few for yourself:
Sunday, September 15, 2013
...and leave your thoughts in the comment section of that post.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Found this box turtle yesterday at the edge of some nearby woods. Not a very good picture, but it was pretty cool to come across one for the first time in years. (I didn't wait around for it to emerge from its shell; my little dog was way too interested.) The beetle is a mystery. The colors and back pattern are striking. It's definitely in the category of small beetles (only 1/4 inch or so), but I had no luck determining its type.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
For details on how to identify and where to find wild hazelnuts, see my most recent wild edible post here: http://ouroneacrefarm.com/hazelnuts/
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The odd thing about the castings we found was that there were no blow holes associated with them. I am told that this might be because the sand was too fluid (fine and wet), for the holes to persist. For some great photos of blow holes and castings in abundance, and some great information on this species, see:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
ground nest of bees [wasps? other vicious stingy-thingies?] that had
been dug out and devoured, presumably by a skunk. The swarm was upset,
and I left them to rebuild what remained of their underground lair.
Today I peered into the hole, and found that the skunk had returned,
finished off what he had started, and left a pile of scat on top of
the shattered nest in the deepest part of the hole. That's quite a
Striped skunks are the honey badgers of suburbia.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
I am posting this on the off-chance that not all of you have seen this highly-publicized and very entertaining video:
Friday, June 28, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The other two species are the eastern mole, which looks similar but has a naked tail, and the star-nosed mole, which has a longer hairy tail and tentacles on its nose. The latter species lives in wet areas and is semi-aquatic.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
I've read that coloration is determined by sun exposure, with greater sun exposure resulting in more red and shadier conditions resulting in more green. But that cannot be the whole story, because some rosettes had both red and green pitchers. Perhaps age of leaf matters. In this rosette, the younger looking leaf on the left is greener.
The second photo shows a blooming pitcher plant rosette. This one also has both red and green leaves. Pollination by insects is required for reproduction, which would seem to put the plant in an interesting bind. Are the insect species which pollinate this plant also attracted to the pitchers, or do they avoid them for some reason. It doesn't seem to be a good idea to kill your pollinating resources, but I suppose we humans do that too, and we've been pretty successful. Perhaps it's a good thing the pitcher plant does not reproduce well without eating insects. If it eats too many insects then it won't reproduce as well, resulting in fewer pitcher plants and recovering local insect populations.
Friday, June 7, 2013
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
This spring's bufo orgy is in full swing down at the pond. The loud music is the first clue that there's quite a party going on. The trilling of hundreds of males can be heard from quite a distance away. The first photo shows one of them floating around on a small log, inflating its neck and singing its tune. A herpetologist once told me that the males are in such a frenzy during these gatherings that they'd try to mate with a doorknob if you lowered it into the water. The female in the second picture would likely welcome the distraction of a doorknob, and maybe even find it more appealing that the clingy males that are hanging on to her for dear life. The third photo shows a couple of toads approaching a snake that was lolling about. When one of them got too close, the snake quickly swam to the pond's edge and hid itself among the reeds.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Discovered along a wooded trail yesterday, these garter snakes appear to have the same thing in mind. I don't know if three is enough to constitute what is known as a "breeding ball," but either way, it's a sure sign of spring. My uneducated guess is that the big one is female.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
Lars was out on Flagg Hill Pond, Stow MA skiing this morning. I found a long otter trail going over the ice and then returning, leaving many otter slides. A coyote track followed the trail. The otter trail went to a beaver lodge, ducked under the ice, caught a fish, ate it on the shoulder of the lodge (second photo), and left. Not 50 feet away, I found the coyote trail widen into a roll site, with the tasty fish head the coyote found. Just had to roll in it....
Monday, February 18, 2013
I was also out this morning in a Bolton orchard and indeed it was spectacular. I found the scene below along the edge of a trail that winds through the orchard. The first two pictures comprise the two halves of the area in question (right and left). There were no other tracks leading to or away from this area. The third picture includes my pole for scale.
This is a close up of the upper right corner of the scene (wings)
This is a close up of the upper right corner of the scene (wings)
Posted by Donna at 3:30 PM