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Pretties and Ickies

>> Tuesday, November 17, 2009

While Creepy Man ruined the usual mood boost I normally get from a walk in the woods, our Sunday stroll did have some nice moments, too.  Autumn fields are awesome.  I've always loved the fields along the highway in the fall, with gold and red slowly turning to brown with fluffs of white.

I'll start with the milkweed, just because it has so much charm:


Then there were the lovely flashes of color in a sea of brown.  I love raspberry leaves and grapes because they're just so autumnal.  Anybody know what the purple is?  I can't seem to spot it in my flower book but have a nagging feeling I ought to know what it is.

A very blurry Basset hound at the end of a long hollow log (you'll have to take my word for it):

And just a few random pretties that I can't identify without a book, and haven't gotten around to looking up just yet:


Here's a "Where's Waldo" puzzle for you.  Or Waldoette?  Or perhaps just Waldoe.  Can you spot her?  If you click on the picture you can zoom in.  She's just about dead center.  I mean - oops - perhaps that's not the best turn of phrase during hunting season.  She's - ah - in the middle of the photo.

Then there were the moments that would have made a lot of people say "ick" but which make me say "oh, cool!"

One stretch of trail was covered, covered, I tell you, in pellets.  There were dozens of them.  I didn't have the time to hang out and dissect them, but wished I could have.  I am no good at identifying predator or prey from pellets, but suspect this might be a good place to go for an owl walk of an evening.  One fine example:

Methinks that might be a bad area in which to be a mouse or other rodent.

Then there was the fungus that looked like a Nerf ball that had been chewed on and left out in the rain until it started to grow mold.  That's about the right consistency for this thing, too.  I had to poke at it gingerly to make sure it wasn't actually a Nerf ball some camper had left behind.  Then I realized there were a whole bunch of them, of varying sizes but all looking almost exactly as moldy and munched on.  I couldn't even begin to identify it.

hm.  Nerfy.

We also stumbled upon a lovely hornets nest, long empty, sitting on the ground.  Out of sheer curiosity we did a little poking into it, and were astounded by how beautiful the striations were in the paper.

Funny to think they apparently mastered the art of paper making thousands of years before humans did.

And finally, the coup de grace, a rotting deer hoof in a tree.  I'm not sure if someone found it in the trail and put it up there for people to see, or if a critter made a meal of it while sitting in the tree.  Regardless, kind of cool. 

Spouse stuck with me through the hornet's nest and the owl pellets, but this one finally made him say "oh, GROSS.  That's just... ew."  When I protested that I though it was fascinating, he looked at me oddly and said, "I repeat, that one's really kinda gross." 

Grossing out Spouse?  Now that's a successful jaunt in the woods for this fearless female.  :)


Woodswalker November 19, 2009 at 10:23 PM  

Well,now, that was quite a walk, with many wonderful finds. Even the deer leg in the tree was interesting in its own way. How the heck did it get up there?

That deer in the weeds was so well camouflaged, even after I knew it was there, I couldn't find it.

That purple thing looked at first like Spotted Knapweed, but the leaves sure didn't. Could it be Blazing Star? The small white aster-like flower is probably Small White Aster.

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