Monday, November 28, 2011

Odds and ends

The weather is unseasonably mild, or at least it has been over the long Thanksgiving holiday. Even on Roundtop, where the temperature is nearly always 4-5 degrees cooler than down in the towns, the temperature hovered near 60 degrees. I took advantage of it to do some more cleaning of the brush and tree tops that came down during the October snowstorm. Mostly, I’m just dragging what I can further into the woods. Most of it is too heavy to load into my car. As long as I don’t have snow on the ground, this is a project I can work on all winter.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat outside on my deck, facing the sun’s warmth, comfortable without a jacket. The woods was quiet, except for when a blue jay or the crows split the silence. I doubt I’ll be able to do that again until spring, at least not without a jacket. Since the snowstorm, the weather has been unseasonably mild, and I know I’ve thought a few times that “today” would be the last time only to find out there was another “today” or two left in the season.

Today in Pennsylvania is the first day of rifle deer season. A couple of trucks edged slowly up the mountain past my cabin just before 6 a.m., setting the dogs to barking though even on a good day they don’t need much of an excuse to start that. Later on, when it was light, I heard a few shots, though none were close enough to be the hunters I saw.

I did see a total of 8 deer this morning, none with antlers. Three of them were the doe and twins that hang out around my cabin. The others were in two groups, racing across the road in front of me, no doubt spooked out of their beds by the unfamiliar presence of hunters. It was a reminder to me that the deer will now be on the move to avoid hunters and can appear anywhere and at anytime as a result.

While I was cleaning up the brush this weekend, I started noticing all the fungus on other pieces of downed branches. November is a good time to see fungus—the leaves are down and no underbrush obscures the view. And, truth be told, there aren’t many exciting birds left around the mountain or any wildflowers, so November is the time when there’s not too much else to look at either. Still, I like the textures and patterns on them so I don’t mind if they aren’t as exciting as a wild geranium or an American redstart.

The first photo is, I believe, the turkey tail fungus, though it’s still small compared to other turkey tail fungus I’ve seen. The colored bands that mark the growth of the fungus are supposed to resemble the bands on a turkey’s tail. The orange fungus might be sulfur shelf, also known as chicken of the woods, but I’m not sure because it’s still much smaller than others I’ve seen, at least so far. I’ll have to keep an eye on them and see if they grow.  


Cathy said...

Ok enough of the warm weather! Not very Christmasy. However it was nice walking weather on Sunday. My brother who lives in Nj, was up here on Sunday. They are still cleaning up the mess from that storm.

Cicero Sings said...

Milder here too! Temps hanging around freezing making for heavy snow when we get precip and then icy roads after the sun comes put.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: I'm still cleaning up the mess after the storm, too. At first I thought I could just pull branches, etc out of my driveway and off my roof, but I'm afraid that will cause a fire hazard, so I'm going to work on it through the winter to get rid of all that stuff.

Carolyn H said...

Cicero: sometimes I long for the days when the weather was normal