NO Mud!

Purple-brown layered stems of Cornus alternifolia

The exceedingly warm temperatures this week meant that we were all on high alert for the roads to break up and revert to mudslides. Surprisingly, the roads remain relatively dry and hard-packed. It’s been an unusual spring mud season or lack thereof! I’m not complaining! Although the roads remain passable, our driveway is thawing and seems bent on giving us a mini-mud season display. Last week, our fuel oil company made an unexpected delivery and backed into the driveway, almost “sliding” into our Airstream travel trailer and causing deep ruts that my husband had to fix. So much for our phone call to them in early March asking them to hold off on delivery!

Yesterday morning, as I was chatting with my mom on the phone, I glimpsed the propane fuel truck heading up our road to turn around at the “Y” so he could back into our driveway. I quickly ended our conversation and headed out to intercept him before he pulled in. This young man was a tad more alert to potential mud hazards than the fuel oil guy and had already parked the truck on the road and was walking into the driveway to assess the situation. Since we only use propane for cooking, he felt confident that we could wait until after mud season for a refill. He was not anxious to navigate the mud in our driveway. We checked the fuel level and his intuition was correct. Another potential maintenance issue for Jim to fix was averted!! 🙂 I have a confession to make. After the fuel oil incident last week, I was tasked with calling the propane folks to ask them to hold off on delivery and I forgot to make this call. Since Jim was not home for this near miss, he will never know how close he came to spending another day rearranging mud! 🙂

Beech and Birch

During my long walk yesterday, the birch trees stood out against the deep blue sky and intermingled among them were beech tree stems – making it appear that they emanated from the birch trees. I just loved the contrast.

As I walked, I scanned the forest floor where the snow has receded looking for signs of life and this bright green patch of clubmoss (Lycopodiaceae family) caught my eye. I’m not entirely sure I want to hazard a guess as to the genus of this plant since it resembles a couple different possibilities. My research indicates that it is likely Bristly Clubmoss (Spinulum annotinum) or Shining Clubmoss (Huperzia lucidula) due to analysis of some distribution maps. Perhaps one of my naturalist readers can correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂 Clubmosses are among the most ancient of the vascular plants! Just goes to show you how adaptive they are! They have been used for medicinal purposes and as a dyeing agent for fabrics. One very interesting fact is that the spores of the plant are highly flammable due to a high oil content. The spores were traditionally used in Native American ceremonies involving fire and, more recently, in the production of fireworks. Cool!

Clubmoss

As I was nearing the end of my walk yesterday the sun was starting to set and I noticed increased bird activity at dusk. It appears the robins have made their spring arrival and were dotting the field to my left. I heard the distinctive call of a red-winged blackbird and watched him as he perched on a tree branch along the road. The Journey North has commenced.

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