Sunday, April 7, 2013

A walk in the woods

Today we took a stroll through our woods to see how Spring is treating our little part of the world.  We have a little over 10 acres of land, about 9 of which are fully wooded.  When a lot of people think of Texas, the images that come to mind are of cacti and deserts and oil wells. And while Texas does have these features, our part of Texas is in the Piney Woods.  We do have oil wells and a few cacti here and there (as well as yucca), but this part of Texas is full of trees.  And our little piece of the land is full of pines, oaks, hickory, holly, buckeye, and cedar (to name just a few) with a creek and some drainage features that criss-cross behind our house.

Moss and clover
 Lately I have become infatuated with the mosses that grow along the creek and drainages.  These small worlds stay green all year long.  In the above photos, moss and clover grow side by side and throughout.  Aren't the colors spectacular?

Sporophytes extend from the moss
I love the feel of moss and would gladly trade a grass yard for moss.  When we lived in Seattle, one of my favorite parts of the tiny postage stamp-size yard was the large space given to moss.  It felt so good under bare feet, and I never understood why so many people fought off such lusciousness.

Exposed sweetgum roots in the creekbed
When we bought our house, I came to the top of the ledge of the creek here and fell in love with the beauty of the land we were fortunate to find.  At the moment I reached the ledge, a couple of butterflies flew into the area and began to flutter and dance as if they knew I was their audience. It was almost magical.

Fallen tree over the creek
The drought has wiped out so many of our large trees.  It's heartbreaking to see so many large trees felled by something out of our control. We are hoping that no more trees will fall in our woods.  This tree fell not too very long ago, providing a little bridge for animals to cross the creek.  Based on the scat we found along the tree, raccoons are especially fond of visiting this felled giant.

This year we are seeing more mayapples than ever before.  Perhaps this is due to the drought that has knocked out some of the canopy above that would have shaded the ground where we are finding them in full force now.  The forest animals always find the fruit long before we do, but maybe this year we will stand a chance since there are just so many more plants.

Greenbrier vines tangled up
You can't go very far in any woods in the Piney Woods without getting tangled up in vines.  Soon, the greenbrier here will have little berries that my husband has told me are edible though I have never tried them.

While I look forward to Spring each year, I can do without the heat that will come all too soon afterwards.  For now, I will just enjoy the respite of cool temperatures Spring provides and hope that Summer will treat us and our woods kindly. 

1 comment:

  1. A visually stunning nature post. I felt like I was walking in those same woods, too. :)