Posts filed under ‘Nature’

Heart in Nature: Greek cyclamen

Heart in Nature, Fractal in Nature? Gorgeous!

Nature's Heart
Nature’s Heart (Photo by macropoulos)

November 17, 2010 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

Fall Preview

In Elizabeth City, North Carolina, I’m still waiting for a lot of the leaves to change.  There is no hope for the pines, of course.  The Bald Cypresses have started to brown and a few of the other species have decided it is fall just in past week.  The baby American Chestnuts are still green, but a few of the baby Pawpaws have started to yellow.  Overall, the predominant color is still green.  Two weeks ago, I was in Wisconsin for business.  Wisconsin trees have solidly acknowledged it is autumn and the result is beautiful!  One afternoon after my day’s meetings, I went for a quick walk around my hotel.  I got to enjoy the crisp air, the sound of leaves crunching under my feet and get a quick preview of what’s to come back home.  : )

Marshfield, Wisconsin - Fall Leaves on Park Street
Leaves on the Ground!!!

Marshfield Wisconsin - Maple Leaves...and a Skeleton!
Changing Maple… and a Skeleton!

Marshfield, Wisconsin - Knot Flowers (Far)
Nature Taking Over Nature

Marshfield, Wisconsin - Yellow Lichen
Lichen and Tree Bark

Marshfield, Wisconsin - Yellow and Green Maple Leaves
Green and Yellow

Marshfield, Wisconsin - Leaf Compositing

Marshfield, Wisconsin - Which Way
Witch Way?

Marshfield, Wisconsin - Oak Leaves in Fall
Oak Leaves

More pictures of my walk in Marshfield, Wisconsin can be found on my Flickr site.

October 31, 2010 at 11:19 pm 2 comments

Kayaking: Charles Creek to Albemarle Hospital

A few weeks ago, Ryan and I had some free time, so we went kayaking! If we had waited a couple of days we could have launched from our front porch. We still had it pretty good. We carried the kayaks to a little inlet near our house and we were off. I’ve got to say– it was very appealing to finish up the trip and not have to worry about mounting the kayaks to the top of the X-Terra.

We started off on Dawson near the Elizabeth City Fish Court. We paddled along the Charles Creek Park and past the Charles Creek Bridge construction. By the way, the bear bag technique is still employeed! After that, past the Harbor of Hospitality, the Downtown Market and then under the 158 Drawbridge. Soon we were passing by Camden Causeway Park. We took a large bend in the river, went under some railroad tracks and eventually we made our way to Albemarle Hospital. We explored the little inlet near the College of the Albemarle Nature Trail and headed back.

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Charles Creek 'Bridge'
Charles Creek Bridge Construction

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Charles Creek Crane
Bear Bag Action

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Harbor of Hospitality
Harbor of Hospitality Sign

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - River and Farmer's Market
Downtown Market (The Tents on the Right)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Ryan Paddles Near Elizabeth Road Bridge
Ryan Approaches 158 Bridge

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Backside of Camden Causeway Season Compare
Camden Causeway Park From the Water

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Ryan with Oasis of Vegetation
Ryan in Pasquotank River

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Old Winch
Old Winch in Water

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Albemarle Hospital Gazebo 2
Gazebo Behind Albemarle Hospital

We were fighting the wind back home, but we arrived safe and sound. The whole trip was between 8-10 miles.

Kayaking Trip

It was a rather beautiful day. Numerous wild flowers were blooming, meanwhile the baldcypress trees were just starting their fall colors. In urban areas, I am enamoured by nature taking over. It’s even more impressive when you are in the middle of a river and still get to see trees and plants finding a way to survive.

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Old Pier and Changing Leaves near Camden Causeway Park
Baldcypress Tree in Autumn

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Berries and Sky
Berries and Sky (Would these be Winged Sumac Maybe?)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - River Tree (Portait)
Tree in the River (Tupelo Maybe?)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Yellow Flower (By Ryan Somma)
Yellow Flowers (By Ryan Somma)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Changing Leaves in Light
Changing Leaves

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Oasis of Wildflowers
An Island of Wildflowers

Our trip would be fitting for the Circus of the Spineless. Spiders, grasshoppers, bumblebees, ants and a nostalgic childhood favorite of mine– bag worms!!!

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Spider From Side (Photo by Ryan Somma)
Spider (by Ryan Somma)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Grasshopper
This Grasshopper Found a Dry Home in the Middle of the River

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Bumblebee (By Ryan Somma)
Bumblebee (by Ryan Somma)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Bagworm (Blurry)

This outing we may have encountered the most unsavory kind of scat. Human scat. Ryan and I were paddling along when Ryan noticed a peculiar odor. At first he suspected himself as we all do from time to time and then in horror he remembered a newspaper article from earlier in the week.

“I have some bad news to tell you,” he said, “But I don’t know if I should.”

I paddled closer and wondered what could possibly be so bad. Noting we were far from shore, I knew what *my* worst case scenario would be.

“Are you sick to your stomach?” I asked.

“That [500,000 gallon] sewage spill I told you about,” Ryan said, “It was here.”

Whoopsie. We had both totally forgotten about that little incident when we left.

I was still digesting the news when a waterskiier whizzed by.

“Welp,” I thought, “At least I’m not him!” : )

More pictures of our Pasquotank Kayaking Trip can be found on my Flickr site.

October 11, 2010 at 10:20 pm Leave a comment

Tree on Tree Fail – R.I.P. Baby Pine

Trees choosing to grow on other trees don’t always have happy endings! Last year, Ryan and I ran into a baby pine growing on a dead tree hiking on Merchant Millpond’s Lassiter Trail:

Merchant's Millpond State Park - Baby Pine Grows Out of Hole
Baby Pine Growing – March 2009

We revisited it during my 35th Birthday Hike, roughly a year later. Alas, the baby pine had perished.

35th Birthday Hike - Vicky Laments Baby Pine  (by Ryan Somma)
Vicky Laments Baby Pine – March 2010

Farewell, Baby Pine. It was a good try! 🙂

May 14, 2010 at 5:00 am 3 comments

Tree on Tree Action

For Earth Day 2009, I did a blog post entitled “Recycling Bald Cypress Trees“. It shared a number of pictures ranging from little barnacles clinging to cypress knees to comfy looking goose nests to even trees growing on top of decaying stumps.

While kayaking two Saturdays ago, Ryan and I paddled upon another example. Here’s a tree we ran across as Newbegun Creek widened up into the Pasquotank River. It was right near the fancy schmancy residences off Orchard Dr.

Kayaking Sawmill Park - Tree on Tree Action (Marked Up) (By Ryan Somma)
Me By Bald Cypress Tree (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Take a closer look at the boxed section. That’s not part of the bald cypress tree growing up there! Nope– something else entirely has made a home at the apex of that curved branch:

Kayaking Sawmill Park - Tree on Tree Action (by Ryan Somma)
A Tree Growing on Another Tree (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Once again, I find myself impressed by the resiliency of nature and the remarkable venues it chooses to thrive.

P.S. Don’t by any means think this is a unique example! Richard Preston’s The Wild Trees describes impressive ecosystems found in the canopies of the giant redwoods.

May 13, 2010 at 9:12 am 2 comments

Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition Winners – 2010

Copyright “Leave Only Footprints” by Dale King
Winner Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas category.
Courtesy ASU Outdoor Programs

I didn’t enter any photos in this year’s Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition, but that doesn’t stop me at gawking at all the amazing photos in this year’s collection! You can see all the winners and finalists here.

As for me– I think my favorite is “The Lost Table” by Dale King. It’s a lovely depiction of nature taking over! : )

March 31, 2010 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

Pac Man in Nature: Mimas

The spacecraft Cassini took a temperature map of Saturn’s moon Mimas and revealed another Pac Man in Nature. (Hat Tip, Clint!)

Cassini Temperature Map of Mimas
(Credit: Credit: NASA/JPL/Goddard/SWRI/SSI)

March 30, 2010 at 9:06 am 2 comments

*More* Groundhogs in Trees

Last February, I did a post sharing photos of groundhogs….in trees.  At the time, the concept was very surprising to me.  However, scattered across Flickr are numerous shots capturing similar pairings.  Apparently, it is not as odd as it would first seem.  In celebration of Groundhog Day, here are even more groundhogs enjoying the high life!

Groundhog up a tree
(Photo Courtesy of weavermg)

Pa. groundhog
(Photo Courtesy of danedude)

(Photo by HyperialGuard)

(Photo by hopefoote)

(Photo by hyperbolation)

If you would like to see more examples of these critters who refuse to be labeled by their common name, check out the Groundhogs in Trees Flickr Group.

Have a Happy Groundhog Day!

February 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm 5 comments

Hearts in Nature: Lichen

The November 2009 issue of Discover Magazine featured an excellent article on lichen. When discussing how the fungus component harvests food from a photosynthesis partner, author Gordon Grice shared a quote by Trevor Goward. Goward is the “lichen curator” at the University of British Columbia Herbarium.  He says:

“Lichens are fungi that have discovered agriculture.”

Today’s Hearts in Nature focuses on those busy little fungi farmers who can cultivate some of the most unlikely lots. Special thanks, as always, to Creative Commons photographers.

(Photo by [New Parents!!!] Gare and Kitty)

(Photo by . SantiMB .)

(Photo by cfournie)

(Photo by pet_r)

January 25, 2010 at 2:02 pm 3 comments

Silo Tree Updates – August 3rd, 2009

Silo Tree Divining Rod, Ken Wolf, has photographed four more silo trees in Kansas. The Silo Trees of the U.S. listing has been updated accordingly– putting Kansas’ total at 12 trees!


Silo with tree This silo tree is located in Jefferson County, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf
Buck Creek, Kansas is home to this silo tree. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf. Silo with tree different view
Silo wlth tree Another find by Ken Wolf in Sibleyville, Kansas. Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf.
Another silo tree from Sibleyville, Kansas! Photograph courtesy of Ken Wolf. Silo with tree

More photos can be found in the Trees in Silos Flickr group. If you spot a silo tree you’d like to share, let me know!

August 3, 2009 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

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