Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Catbird Found

I found this catbird this morning not far from the house, not far from a window where it may have flown too fast and collided with the glass. The camera has a better eye than I do; when I look at the enlarged image, I'm able to see the intricate lines of the catbird's feathers. We have many catbirds here. Courageous birds all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


After doing a bit of reading on fungus and oak trees, I discovered that the fungus may precipitate butt rot. My hypothesis may not be exactly correct because I am such a newbie discovering the life of trees, but I couldn't leave the lovely, shell-like parasite to weaken this incredibly tall, large, old, oak tree (the tree is not on my property--bank owned property?). Today I walked down the road, knife in back pocket, ready to rescue the mighty oak by severing the bond between parasite and host. Even if I incorrectly identified this fungus which is more peach than brown, layered like 1950'2 petticoat, I feel it must be malignant and not benign. I know it is not bracket fungus. So far, I've found it at the base of two local oaks after weeks of rain. The first one I found, crumbled after a week and it doesn't appear that the tree is any worse for wear; however there are a few limbs without leaves that won't sustain the weight of snow this winter.
So back to my rescue effort: I found the root of the fungus and cut it with my knife. Underneath there was a jelly-like substance and many beetles that were iridescent, like earwigs but not brown, rather blue/green and fast! I so hope they weren't the emerald borers --an import threat to ash.
I scraped as much fungus and beetle life as possible away from the tree.
I also found, on the bark of the tree, some clear spit that looked like an alien may have coughed up on the tree -- cellophane looking with blues and greens but transparent. Perhaps slugs, dominant due to this rain, have created these iridescent panes along the sides of the trees.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Miraculous Fungus

There's a house below me that sits vacant and unchanging except the concrete that continues to crumble around it and the vines that grow across its face.
In the back is an old pool I like to stand by late at night with a friend who's willing to walk down there with me after dark. The pool is a deep green now, at night its black and the frogs have taken over. The decay of something that once was so spendid, opulent, and majestic -- leaded glass, grand piano, four stories, large, winding in ground pool -- is lovely at night. The gardens are all overgrown and will need much care once a new owner comes. I call it my little Sunset Boulevard. A few days after it rained (the rain is bringing lots of surprises) I found a beautiful fungus on one of the trees in front of this forlorn old home. I imagine that there is a pink coral that looks something like this, and a necklace that someone might have worn that looked something like this. Soft, apricot shades with peach and grey pinks. Velvet to touch. Beautiful for a few days and then it will wither to grays and slowly vanish. In time, the tree itself may die if the fungus is a signal that its roots are rotting. A beautiful visitor with a dark message.

Indian Pipe Monotropa Uniflora

I'm so dissappointed that I missed photographing all of the Indian Pipe, the ghosts growing out of the damp leaves after the July rains, when they were white and translucent. Maybe next year?

Went back, maybe three weeks too late and took this pic of the flowers, dried and brown.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Claude Monet's Beans and Nature Writing

I've been away from this space because of the demands I set up: one I wanted photos, then I wanted well crafted poems; and then I was busy with other blogs -- writing for children , and writing professionally, and then writing, all the writing I do as a librarian --book reviews, blogs for school, etc.
And a brief stint at graffiti musings so I am overwhelmed! This blogging enterprise is like a potato chip, one is never...

The graffiti blog wasn't ever intended to be more than 10 posts, but this blog has every intention of coming back to life with a new theme. Straight out nature writing with photos from my natural life! Each post should be a record of something from the natural world that future generations can see and note how these observations were a part of my life -- not as a botanist or naturalist but as a person observing the world. What is more important than the natural world, I ask?
So there it is. My introduction. Here's my first observation:

I was so fortunate to visit a friend in Ashfield, MA where he'd planted beans that were out of this world. These beans were made for Claude Monet. I invite you to click on the photo to see these beans more clearly.