Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Back to the Woods, At Last!
Do I like to lie around on the couch all day like these cats? No, I do not, and neither does my son, who was going to go for a hike with me yesterday, but spent the night before sick to his stomach, then all day asleep on the couch while his mom looked after him. Today he is still convalescing, but seemed well enough I could leave him alone for an hour or two to get outdoors.
Ballston Spa is quite a bit closer than Moreau, so I drove over there to Woods Hollow Nature Preserve. This sandy-soiled tract provides lots of pleasant trails through its piney woods, where all kinds of pines -- White, Red, Pitch and Scotch -- find a home.
There is also a pretty pond with forested banks and quiet bays, and a path that follows along close to shore. Today the pond lay still as glass, reflecting the dark trees touched by the golden light of the afternoon sun.
I am always amazed at how much green remains in the woods after all the deciduous leaves have fallen. This Sheep Laurel looks as green today as it did when it bloomed last summer.
And so does this Dalibarda, also called Dewdrop, which bears white five-petaled flowers well into September. You can find its low-growing leaves still green even under the snow.
Some flower-heads remain rather pretty even after their petals have fallen. Here are the starry bracts of some kind of aster (probably Small-flowered Aster). . .
. . . and a golden spray of what I believe were the flowers of Evening Primrose.
This time of year, when the leaves have all shriveled, it's easy to see all the galls on the stems of Tall Goldenrod. These galls must not harm the plants all that much, since I find them on almost every stem, and the flowers continue year after year, undiminished.
How quickly the light fades these late-autumn afternoons! It soon grew too dark to take any more photos, even though it was only a little after four. It was time to drive home to check on my patient, but I had to pull over to watch as this moon rose above a row of pines. So lovely! Isn't it amazing how we never grow tired of gazing at the moon?