Friday, July 31, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Go to and find a hike you’ve never done before. Go hike it!

all right, i am triple dipping on this activity, because i needed to go to a wetland and look at sedges and i also wanted to look up trails in the area of East Montpelier as an example for a kid who was working on the cadette eco-trekker badge.


it turns out that chickering bog is not a bog at all, but a rich fen, and the main difference between a bog and a fen is that a bog gets all of its water from precipitation, but a fen is fed by groundwater.

this isn't a great picture of this plant, because it's been dry out, and they'e past flowering, but these are purple pitcher plants. they're fun because they are carnivorous.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

first fruits

i know i mentioned the tomatoes.

i love fresh tomatoes and i have never grown any of my own, because most years i just can't be relied on to stay home and tend a garden.

but i'm not camping these days, because camping exposes me to more risk.

and did i mention that i love fresh tomatoes?

anyway, back when we were just starting to reopen the first tentative businesses after the first shutdown, i thought now would be a good time to raise some food. i'm under no illusion of raising a lot of it, but it felt like a good thing to do.

so i bought two tomato plants.

this lovely did not even make it as far as a plate. i meant to serve it all fancy with my dinner, but it got eaten before that happened.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Collect rainwater and use it to water your garden

the item reads "collect rainwater" but i have construed it to include water from my dehumidifier. also, i don't really have a garden. i traditionally have some free range grasses and flowers and some feral berry bushes, but this year i jumped in and bought TWO WHOLE TOMATO PLANTS because i felt like growing some food.

plus i like tomatoes.

anyway, i have to run a dehumidifier in my basement, so that's a free gallon of water every day.

so. tomatoes.

Friday, July 24, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Photograph two kinds of mammals in the wild. Identify the full species name and describe its behavior

mammals are hard to get pictures of. they move quickly, and aren't into posing while you adjust your camera.

these white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are aware of my presence, and their ears are pointed toward me, but they're not worried enough to stop grazing. this group will probably feed for a while before retiring to a bedding area to chew their cud.

my beaver video here was taken at an undisclosed beaverpond in jericho. i was minding my own business taking sedge samples when all of a sudden and VERY NEAR i heard the beaver tail slap. i was a little afraid she might rush me even though as a rule beavers won't get out of the water to challenge you.

a large beaver (Castor canadensis) is a powerful animal capable of severing you arm if it has a mind to.

a mature female will live on her territory with her mate, her yearling offspring, and her new kits. the yearling offspring will help raise the kits until they have to leave and find territories of their own. any beaver in the family group may patrol the territory and communicate with the others, but the large territorial display is likely to be the boss lady.

Monday, July 20, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Learn to tie 3 new knots

it can be argued that i already knew how to tie a square knot and a clove hitch and a bowline.

what's new to me is the tying methods and variants.

Sunday, July 05, 2020


these days since i find myself in a lot of sedge habitats, i am also finding myself on the shores of marshes and beaver ponds and it's always fun to take a sample of water to look at later.

here's a bit of video of some rotifers. apparently they are all hanging onto each other by their feet (they each have one foot) and the rotation of their cilia paddles them around in a circle.

nature is freaky.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

sedges: problem 2

I started at my house (which as of YESTERDAY is mine. not mine and the bank’s. MINE. paid that sucker off YESTERDAY. Still wearing my party hat.)

Uh, anyway. I started at my house and walked toward a little pond at the end of the driveway and then back away from the road and collected some samples, one of which, according to my notes, was a sedge.

I’m going with C. gynandra.

Then the next day i went for a walk up in the Preston Pond Conservation area, on the west side near the beaver pond. Of course i forgot my camera so there are no pictures of the samples in situ.

I wrestled with this one a long time and still don’t know what it is. Something maybe in phacocystis?

Both of these specimens are from the margin of the beaver pond. The left page i THINK is a group one, and if i got that correct, it’s probably from sect. Ovales and i tentatively settled on C. scoparia.

The right side sketch has an error that had to be crossed out. It is not a weird spikelet or fancy bract. This is a small, slender plant and it’s drawn more or less actual size. The little star-shaped spikelets separated along the stem make it, i think,  group 1, sect. Stellulate?  So i’m going to guess C. interior.

These two specimens are also from the area next to the beaverpond. On the left is a graceful plant that i put into group 3 on account of unisexual cylindrical spikelets. I’m tentatively calling it a C.baileyi.

I got all excited at the one on the right because OH LOOK! It’s really different and has all these fuzzy little spikelets on the one stem at the top and surely that will be easy! (insert hollow, bitter laugh here) after staring it in the face for the better part of a week, i am uncertain at best what to call it. I think it’s maybe an eriophorum, and possible E. virginicum?

This week i am coming out from under the anvil of overwhelmedness and starting to see some system here. I don’t have much to say to your posts because outside of “yep, that’s a C. lurida”, i don’t have much useful to say yet. I do read everything you post, and i look at your photos and diagrams, and you are helping me learn to think about both the sedges and how to make good observations.

One thing  i have learned is that i will need to pay more attention to the root systems and habitats.


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