Sunday, October 10, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Learn to tie 3 new knots

 if you didn't just wander in here, a few minutes ago, you know that  i am very much about the knots.

i have biners and doohickeys that help you not have to tie knots, but if you know how to tie knots, you won't loose a mattress on the interstate, and if your fancy clips break, you'll still be able to tie things down.

but i'm a hammock sleeper. i camp in hammocks and i sleep at home in hammocks and last year for my birthday my mom bought me a sweet custom built hammock, and once you're looking at a hammock custom built for you, you start to think about how well you like it's suspension and assorted accoutrements.

my lovely custom hammock comes with a cinch buckle i don't love as much as the buckles on another hammock i have, but those buckles are proprietary, so i bought a set of buckles and made myself some continuous loops, which are basically just rope circles, which means i had to learn to SPLICE.

a neat splice is not technically a knot, but then bends aren't technically knots either.

anyway, i did a whole bunch of hammock related rope stuff.

here's a dogbone daisy chain. it's a spliced daisy chain with a locked brummel splice at each end. it's super handy and you can girth hitch it to anything and have a little daisy chain to hang things from. i use it for hangign my taarp from my free-standing hammock rack.

this is a continuous loop. it's just a spliced circle, and it's handy for anytime you need a ring.

this is a marlinspike hitch, which is handy for tent pegs or rope ladders or if you just need a handle somewhere on a rope. the stake or whatever that goes through the center is what holds the hitch together.

here are two views of a j-bend. the continuous loop is in the place of the stick in the marlinspike, which is the base of the j-bend. basically it gives you a strong and flexible and hardware-free way to hang your hammock. usually i like the adjustability and ease of my hammock buckles, but each buckle weighs something and if i were seriously backpacking, i'd want the weight savings.

the good thing about the j-bend is that it will hold the body weight of a whole adult person and still come undone when you pull out the slipped bit.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Hike to a summit of a hill or mountain

 things used to be easier for me, physically. i used to march up and down mountains for funsies but these days things go better for me if i can drive pretty near the top.

enter mount ascutney. 

it has a lot of summit-y goodness and you can do it without breaking yourself up too much.

we hit it around sunset. 

in fog.

Friday, October 08, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Watch the sunrise or sunset from the summit of a hill or mountain

 the whole reason we camped at mount ascutney state park was to make easier the whole "watch the sunrise or sunset from the summit of a hill or mountain" thing.

it was a lovely day and right about the time we arrived at the summit for the sunset, the clouds rolled in.

so this is what our sunset looked like.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

2021 venture vermont: tell your best campfire story

Here's my best campfire story of 2021: I call it The Story of Our First Family Night at Camp Happy

If you didn't walk in ten minutes ago, you know that I do a lot of work for a well-known youth organization, and that I am the naturalist at a place we'll call Camp Happy in Nearby Town. It's right on the border with Other Town, and the Camp Road is the main way to get between the two.

Anyway, it's the summer of 2021, the summer after the pandemic shutdowns and nobody hardly remembers how to be civilized, let alone run camp and we are understaffed because everything, especially camps, are understaffed. But we're doing it. We're doing ok. our entire staff consists of one whole professional, one volunteer, and two teenagers. I am going to refer to them as "Bird", "Plant", and "Candybar".

We're a good team. We're getting things done and camp program is happening and we are feeling organized going into Family Night of Week One, which entails getting all the kids who are going home on the bus onto busses and lighting a fire and roasting hotdogs with the kids who are staying before their families arrive to make s'mores and do skits and songs. 

Candybar is the bus supervisor, so she has left Camp Happy for the day and is riding the bus.

Bird and Plant have taken the kids who get picked up by their parents to the pickup area.

And I have just sent the kids who are with me down to the woodshed, which is halfway down to the pickup area. Camp Happy is a very, uh, vertical place.

So this is the point at which Bird comes flying up the path and she says "BEAR" and I'm not sure what she's on about only suddenly I realize that she has just seen a bear in the general area that I have just sent the children.

It's not entirely clear to me what happened in the next few seconds, but we rounded up the children and put them inside a building and I had to explain to them How Bears Work.

Short version: we know this bear. She lives at Camp Happy and she pretty much knows our schedule so she can avoid interacting with us on her daily commute between the top of our hill and her evening hangout down by the pond across the road, where she does bear things. The proper thing to do is to simply stay out of her way and let her go about her business.

But also if you need to get a fire lit and hotdogs roasted you sort of need to get on with that, so one of us (me) had to go outside and walk the general trajectory of the bear while shouting "hey bear, hey bear" just to make sure the bear has cleared the area and it is safe to let children outside.

The shouting of "hey bear, hey bear" serves the dual purpose of warning the bear of your location so she can avoid you and also to let Bird and Plant know that you are still alive and inform them of your rough location while they do some tapdancing to entertain the children and keep them calm.

So THEN it was time to roast hotdogs and we are a little behind schedule, so we're not quite done that as parents start filtering up. I am minding the fire and the cooking process and Bird is handing out and organizing the food and Plant is down in the parking area checking in families and parking cars.

So when Plant called me on the radio I had hotdog skewers in both hands. "Plant to flask," my radio crackles. "I'm going to call you on your phone." I found some random dad and I handed him a half dozen skewered hotdogs and said "Hi. You've just been elected to roast these hotdogs. There is a little girl named Lila around here who will expect to eat one" and before he could answer, I marched off to take the phone call.

When i pick up my phone, Plant tells me that Officer Friendly from the state police wants to talk to me. this is day three of Plant's first job ever.

"Hello, my name is Officer Friendly from the Neighbortown Barracks of the State Police. We are pursuing an adult male suspect who fled on foot onto your property from Camp Road. He is about forty years old and wearing cutoff shorts and a blue flannel shirt. Can you look around and make sure nobody up there matches that description?"

So I real coolly take a look at all the dads wandering around to see if the suspect may have just wandered in from the road and decided to blend in. I agree to meet Officer Friendly and show her the assortment of game trails, abandoned roads, and hiding places we have up there. And then I have to hand Officer Friendly off to Bird for the incident report and Bird tells me to get the crowd together and run a singalong and suddenly out of all the THOUSANDS of songs I know, I cannot think of a single one that is appropriate for children.

After a few seconds of stalling and clowning, I manage to think of one, and start leading it. but I am noticing a weird bemused look on the faces of the parents, and I think I see some winking.

Because any parent who has come up the road to gain admittance to Camp Happy knows what I do not yet: THERE ARE ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIERS AND ROADBLOCKS and if they're at family night, they have come THROUGH all that. So the parents KNOW about the manhunt, and their kids are telling them ALL ABOUT THE BEAR and it's like we've all been trapped in some weird surreal theater where were just going to eat s'mores and sing songs as if none of this is happening and for the rest of the summer, every week on family night some of the parents come up to the campfire and say conspiratorially: "lot better than week one, huh?" 

Which means they get to tell the story to all the parents who were not there that first week and THOSE parents turn to me as if I am going to tell them it's all a running gag and all I can do when they say "WAS IT A REAL BEAR???" is shrug and say "Sure. She lives here."

"She lives here? Does she have a NAME?"

"Probably. But we don't know it. We're not on a name basis with her."

That's sort of where the story ends, but in week two on the morning after family night I was in the woods just OUTSIDE of the area we generally use and we found a HUGE pile of fresh bear poop. The bear had simply adjusted her route.

2021 venture vermont: . Write Haiku or other nature poetry based on things you observe in nature around you

 one turn, one flower

pine forest in deep sorrow

relieve pain? maybe.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

2021 venture vermont: find frog eggs or tadpoles

 i flat out do not have any good pictures of frog eggs or tadpoles.

but let's recap my season.

i marched up and down notch road all through the migration season, helping amphibians cross the road.

i monitored a beaver pond from february to july. there were frogs there, and certainly breeding ones.

i spent two and a half days off trail trying to confirm the presence of two vernal pools way up in the camel's hump state forest, and boy howdy did we see frog eggs and tadpoles.

but there are no good pictures of them. there's a picture of some from eggs i found where a pond had partly dried up.

Monday, October 04, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Section off a square foot of forest with string. How many plant & animal species do you find?

 we were walking up in the huntington community forest and got to a nice grove where it was a little level and a little clear and laid out our string and whipped out approximately seven and a half pounds of field guides that i had been carrying, as well as some magnifying lnses.

for some reason we did not take a picture of ourselves doing this, but here's the inventory list we kept.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Pick up litter by the road or in your town

 i'm just going to combine this post with "Attend and support a local event".

so let's start here: i'm the land steward at a town forest, which makes it my JOB to go out periodically and pick up litter from my parcel. i'm also in charge of monitoring trail use and conditions. my only photo of me having picked up trash is from greenup day, though,  which is a local event that i attended and supported.

i HAD been planning to simply GO to greenup day, but then the coordinator of greenup was having a family emergency and all questions came to the conservation commission, and since i was the one who had time to do the scouting, i was the one who drove the town roads looking for the hotspots where we planned to send the volunteers when they came.  then i spent greenup day driving town roads, picking up full bags, handing our fresh bags, and being generally helpful to the volunteers.

fun fact: if volunteers come to do work for you, you can get a lot more work out of them if you adequately support them.

here is a group of volunteers on a project spot:

and here i am with a full trash bucket.

Saturday, October 02, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Identify 3 native Vermont wildflowers

 this is kind of my jam, because i seem to be incapable of going for a walk without carrying fifteen pounds of field guides.

ok, i wondered how much of an exaggeration that was, and i weighed a selection of field guides that were in my pack last time i went out: 7.2  pounds,  or approximately 3.26 in civilized units. plus assorted lenses and collecting apparatus and well, you get the idea.

anyway, i just checked my inat observations to see what i had in vermont native flowers recently, and i'm going to go with

pale jewelweed, imaptiens pallida, which i looked a lot of this fall because i was asked to participate in a study about leaf traits.

bottle gentian, gentiana clausa:

and pinesap, monotropa hypopitys, which is a new species for me. no, it is not a fungus. like its cousin ghost pipes, it is a wildflower. it does not contain any chlorophyll, which means i cannot make its own food like other flowers.

Friday, October 01, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Build a campfire

 i built a LOT of campfires this year, but for some reason i only have pictures or the one campfire from our weekend at ascutney.

in my work for the Girl Scouts, i taught both children and adults how to build fires, and i specialize in one match and no match fires.

last fall i taught barb how to do a spark ignition, and she's now pretty proficient at it. i'm claiming our cook fire at ascutney as my "build a campfire" because that's the only one i have a picture of, and because barb did the actual ignition, i'm not trying to claim the bonus points. we both built it, we both tended it, and barb did the ignition.

the dessert in the photo is a doughboy filled with strawberries and whipped cream.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

2021 venture vermont Learn how to set up a tent or teach someone who does not know how

 a lot of my present life is the result of my first venture challenge. i needed something to get me out of the house and i sharpened up my outdoor skills and now i do less full-on camping than i used to, but i do a lot more teaching about camping.

so this summer i taught tarp pitching for the GSGWM staff skills weekend, and at camp i taught some tarp pitching, but then after that barb and i took her 13 year old grandson on a roadtrip.

we took him camping in another state and put him in a free standing hammock rack with covering tarp and i taught him how to pitch it.

here's his setup.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Camp in a tent or lean-to at a VT State Park

 you never know really what a site is going to be like before you've seen it, but we happened to plop right down last weekend on what is arguably the best site in mount ascutney state park.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Build a tripod for your camp lantern using sticks and rope

 barb figures prominently in a lot of my accounts here because although i've done the venture challenge for EIGHT YEARS, this is barb's first time doing it, so we did a lot of the stuff together.

in truth, she's often been along when i've been doing it, which is why it just seemed silly for her not to do the challenge herself.

anyway, we were on our campsite at mount ascuntney state park and build a tripod for your lantern was on our list so while i was making dinner (hotdogs, mashed potatoes and cheese in a dutch oven, thanks) she went and found some sticks.

and then, continuing to make dinner, i gave her instructions about how to size and position them, and how to start the lashing (she learned a clove hitch and now i can just say "put a clove hitch on one of the sticks"!) and then i helped her do the whipping and finishing, we used it all weekend to hold a plethora of lanterns inside the leanto and also to hang some kitchen tools.

very handy, a tripod.

2021 venture vermont: . Cook on a campfire

in my work for the girl scouts, i spent a lot of my summer cooking on campfires because i am skilled at it and teach it to children.

mostly hotdogs and popcorn though.

and i'm trying to broaden my repertoire, because i like food, and i like cooking on a campfire.

at coolidge state park last month, we made a delicious low country boil with scallops and shrimp, but my dutch oven biscuits didn't come out well, because i didn't have a barrier on th ground under the dutch oven and not enough heat.

but i'm learning.

this past weekend at ascutney state park, we made lobster mushrooms in a light cream sauce over fettucine. my dutch oven biscuits were better, but still not enough heat for the oven on a cold day.

Monday, September 27, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Go on a rainy-day hike

 barb and i were camping last weekend at mount ascutney state park and it rained our first night and continued to rain well into the next day, so we figured that was a PERFECT way to pick up this item.

since we had gone up to the observation tower the previous night at sunset, we figured to go over to the west peak via the hang gliding tail and look at that.

for some reason it decided not to be raining when we started out, and we were still going to count it because it HAD been raining and was likely to be raining again, but no worries. by the time we got over to the hang glider platform it was flat out raining.

the view was somewhat spectacular in that it was simply a blank white.often when it's rainy or cloudy you can see terrain or forest or something beneath you, but no. the mountain drops off so completely there that there was just simply nothingness in front of us.

not the view we would have had on a sunny day, but still a rather spectacular view.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

2021 venture vermont: . Read a book outside

 outside is an awesome place to read books.

a hammock is an awesome place to read books.

a vermont state park is an awesome place to read books.

this particular outside location is mount ascutney state park and the book is The Tree by colin tudge.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Find and photograph these 3 leaf types

 toothed, lobed, compound.

the first one is a beech leaf. it is tootehed, but not doubly toothed like birch leaves.

the second is a maple leaf, which is lobed.

the last one is an ash leaf, which is compound.

i'm a big fan of leaf morphology.

Friday, September 24, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Find out when the International Space Station will be overhead and watch it

 i always think this is not going to feel like a big deal because the ISS has been up there orbiting for a LONG time.

i've been looking at nice nights and the NASA app to figure when to go out, but tuesday night it was mostly clear and i was thinking of it, so i went out and looked.

and it's kind of amazing, because they tell you what time down to the minute the station will appear and -BOOM- it does. and it stays visible for just how many minutes it says and then -poof- it's gone.

i wanted to wave at them. to say "be well up there. come home safely."

Thursday, September 23, 2021

2021 venture vermont: do at least 2 hours of volunteering

 oh, i laugh.

i'm just going to go and give myself a pass on this one.

let's start here: i work as a volunteer naturalist for the girl scouts of the green and white mountains, and in that capacity i was over two hours by the time we got to dinnertime on the first day of staff training.

past that, i worked four weeks full time as camp staff doing camp and naturalisty things.

past that, i am the land steward on the sarah holbrook floodplain forest in the town of bolton, where i live.

and past THAT, i was appointed to the conservation commission in the town of bolton.

there are no photos of me doing that, but it's a matter of public record.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

2021venture vermont: Attend a state park interpretive program

 i always love to do this anyway, since i live kinda close to little river state park, and because brian, the interpreter, is very knowledgeable.

i have never been to one of his programs without i learn something, even if families with small children are in attendance and he has to present to a level appropriate for kids.

barb and i wanted to go to the dragon fly program, but then i noticed mushrooms were on the same day and these days i'm into mycology so we made a whole day of it and went to both.

i got to see species i'd never seen before and learned field marks for species i'd seen but couldn't conclusively identify.

brian, man. he is great.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Visit a ‘new to you’ VT state park

 couple of weeks ago - last week? ionno.

anyway, barb had reservations at coolidge state park, where i've never been.we stayed at the park, drove around some towns to do 251 related things, and went to the coolidge historical site. i had been to the gravesite, but not to the plymouth notch things. 

all the things.

because apparently if a building existed when calvin coolidge lived there, it has been preserved.

Monday, September 20, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Go river tubing

 barb and i went up to little river to go to a couple of brian's interpretive programs, which are always wonderful, because brian is awesome.

and when we were done it was like four o'clock in the afternoon and barb said sure, let's go tubing on the river.

so we had to go back to my house to get the tubes and change into swimwear, yeah, it's late in the day and about 65 degrees out, but sure.

it was awesome.

we had the river to ourselves outside of the one fisherman in chest waders and a puffy jacket.

took us about an hour and a half, and then we went to get cheeseburgers.

Friday, September 17, 2021

2021 venture vermont: hike to a waterfall

 used to be i would plan a camping trip and then call barb up and see if she wanted to come and it would be way too much trouble but sometimes she'd come and always if she came she'd have a good time.

so all of a sudden barb's all like "i'm going camping and i hope you can come"

so this ONE weekend she decides to go camping and i ask her what kind of camping she wants to do and she's like LET'S GO BACKPACKING. i know, right? car camping or canoe camping was on the slate and barb was all hot to go off for her first backpacking off trail up into the came;'s hump state forest and i had some research to do up there, so yay! there are a lot of areas in CHSP where you can't camp because they're too high up or too close to the long trail or whatever, but if you plan ahead and map your control points, you can do just fine.

two nights. we were out three days and two nights and our total distance traveled was under five miles. a lot of it was bushwhacking on hard terrain, but we also weren't in any special hurry.

anyway, on day three in the afternoon we arrived at THE CASCADES, a lovely waterfall and sometimes popular swimming hole. so while we had not sought to hike TO this waterfall, we did walk over the mountain and off trail for two days to get to it.

it happened to be a control point on our way out.

we sat on the ground and had a snack and changed socks and refilled our water and i have never been so happy to see any little waterfall in my life. because below the falls, there's a trail. and we picked up our packs and walked on down it to the parking.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Donate to your local food bank

 my local grocery store always provides the opportunity to round up to the nearest dollar for the food bank, and that raised about $10,000 last year.

i always round up.

sometimes i buy one of these coupons that lets me make a little more of a donation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Put together a picnic lunch using local ingredients

 barb and i were down in coolidge state park and instead of having to be responsible adults who bring their own food, we decided to check this off on the list.

so we went to the tyson store and bought a plymouth cheese and then we went to the honey festival in proctorsville, where we bought some honey kombuchas, smoked cheese,  some maple smoked sausage bites. and a jar of pickled eggs.

then we went to the cavendish town green by the phineas gage monument and sat on the grass to eat it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

2021 venture vermont: hike a trail you've never done before

 barb and i walked the section of long trail between the bolton canoe launch and the footbridge parking on route two, which with the exception of the portion that goes through the sara holbrook town forest, i had never been on. 

back in my long trail hiking days, the trail cam right down robbins mountain and into jonesville, so it was nice to see where the trail goes now. some of how it comes down camel's hump is still a mystery to me on the south side of river road.

and it turns out that all that bottomland with the pastured animals is actually part of camel's hump state park (according to the ANR atlas) which totally makes sense in terms of why a chicken would let hikers walk through the pastures, but if the land is leased from the state park, it makes sense.

anyway, here i am on one of the stiles.

Monday, September 13, 2021

2021 venture vermont: play a game outside

 i was camping this weekend with barb at coolidge state park and before we left the park we went up to the meadow by the picnic pavilion and had a little lunch and played a game of similo, which is a clever cooperative card game that i enjoy very much. you can play it in both the card game and an online version that plays just the same.

i bought it because the animal decks are a good way to talk with kids about characteristics of animals, so that fit in well with my naturalist work.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Make a camp lantern out of a clear water jug and a headlamp

 barb and i went down to new jersey to see the brood x cicadas and we made some lanterns out of water jugs, which was very handy on the picnic table in our campsite.

we stayed at turkey swamp campground, which is a monmouth county campground and it is lovely.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Sign up for iNaturalist and use it to find or ID a species new to you

 well, the signing up part isn't a thing anymore, because i LIVE on that app.

but i did identify a whole bunch of new (to me) species this year!

here is the bicolor bolete, baorangia bicolor, which is a new taxon erected in 2015, so my BIG MUSHROOM BOOK doesn't cover it.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

2021 Venture Vermont: Go to your local farmers market and treat yourself to a fresh and delicious snack

 saturday barb and i went to the caterpillar lab at north branch nature center, which kind of fantastic.

and since we were in montpelier, we went to the farmers' market to pick up some lovely lunch and for me a quart of plums. 

we ate our lunch on the statehouse lawn, and then kind of accidentally fell in with a group of people who had some self-guided tour videos of the statehouse and they invited us to join, so there we were.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

2021 venture vermont: Climb a tree or boulder

 so it's the most wonderful time of the year again.

sometimes things are hard for me, but i do love a checklist. the venture vermont challenge is a handy list of fun things to do that give me some ideas for what to do and some days just flat out it's easier for me to get out and do a thing if it's on the list.

anyway, climb a tree or boulder is on the list.

i was out for a walk with my friend barb in the mount mansfield state forest and here we are. she took a picture of me on this boulder and i took a picture of her and we traded.


Saturday, May 08, 2021

it was aliens

 uh, hey, so.

great party. you are NOT gonna believe what happened to me on the way here. i was crossing the big flat space, right? and these THINGS. i tell you, they were huge. they were so tall you could barely see their heads. and get this. they WALKED UPRIGHT.

and the lights. it was weird and creepy and very wrong. it wasn't as bright as sunlight, like a whole bunch of little moons. and right up close. AND THEY COULD CONTROL THEM.


AND THEN THEY LIFTED ME UP.  right into the air, like i didn't weigh anything. and i thought they were going to eat me but all they did was look at my genitals. seriously. THEY PROBED ME.

and then all of a sudden they put me down. on the ground. only closer to here.

it was crazy.

yeah, great party.

want to dance?

Saturday, May 01, 2021

ramp harvest: an instruction manual

 ok, so conservation is kind of my gig.

and i am seeing a LOT of posts these days about ramps and the harvesting of ramps, and why not? ramps are not just trendy; they are delicious. i harvest them to use and to share. they are one of the best things about spring.

but this is important: when you harvest them, please treat them like a precious and fragile resource. they are renewable, but they're very slow. their deliciousness and their slowness to reproduce mean that they are on the decline across the entirety of their range.

they can be cultivated, but the slowness of their growth and the terrain on which they like to grow make them a bad match for most gardeners.

but flask,  i hear you say, how slow can they be??

ramps can divide and form new bulbs, but they require at least seven years of root growth before they can do it. mostly they grow from seed, and it takes about seven years for a plant grown from seed to come to maturity and start reproducing.

so imagine you've just come across a hillside and there are a couple thousand plants, so you pull up a hundred.

and then someone comes along next week and pulls up another hundred. unless you're way out in the nowheres, it's very likely that five to ten people will come by and each will take some. so it's not unreasonable to think that a quarter of them will be taken. last year i watched, unable to do anything, as a young man took fully a third of a hillside. 

i'm sure he thought he was harvesting responsibly. he spread out his harvest and only took a third of the patch.

but he wasn't the only one to harvest that patch last season.

now add the losses up over three or four seasons. if a seventh of a patch gets taken each season, total, by all the harvesters, that patch is maybe breaking even. it's probably in decline. add it up over multiple seasons and what you have is the extinction of that patch. add it up over the whole of the appalachians northward into ontario and what you have is a native species circling the drain.


there's good news: a ramp plant that is healthy and mature and has three leaves can give up one leaf every season and still live to go about its rampy business. the leaves are the best part anyway. they wilt a little faster if they're not on the bulb, but that's a small price to pay for sustainability.

and here's another advantage to cutting just leaves: it serves as a signal to other harvesters that this patch has already been harvested. if i'm in the woods and i see cut leaves in a patch, i know to leave it alone and go somewhere else. nobody needs to have been monitoring that patch to know if it's declining or not.

and that's important, because if you're not coming through like a bulldozer, other people coming after you may not know that you've already tapped this patch out for the year.

so i'm gonna ask you: please don't take any bulbs if you don't really need them. you'll still be able to make pesto and ramps 'n' taters and nearly every other delicious thing.

if you need to take some bulbs, cut down above the roots so they have a chance of growing back.

be mindful if you are gathering on public land that probably other people will gather here too.

if we all take just leaves from mature plants, our patches will grow.

that would be FANTASTIC.

Sunday, April 25, 2021


my usual study location is still closed to me, so i have found a new study location that sits right on the border between state forest and town land. since i'm now an appointed conservation commissioner in my town, i feel this raises my observations up from the level of frittering away my time looking at cool things right into actual work. you know research and monitoring.

but still i'm just mostly frittering away my time looking at cool things.

anyway, there's a pair of canada geese at my study location.

this is a picture of the male.

why yes,  there are beaver involved, thanks for asking. anyway.

i was pretty near this spot one day when the female on the nest suddenly appeared. i mean, she'd been sitting on the nest for at least twenty minutes completely motionless and it took me that long to spot her when she decided that i was not a threat and stopped being invisible.

they don't have a magic cloak or anything; it's just that one of the things geese do really well is blend in with the environment. 

but on april 6th i was sitting for a while watching her on the nest when she moved around some, and THERE WAS AN EGG and i watched her cover it in feathers, so i'm guessing she had just laid it. i don't know if that was the first egg or the last one, but they lay one a day until the whole clutch is there so now we're twenty days out which means sometime next week there are going to be goslings.

a couple few days after that i was out there with my friend barb  and we were sitting there listening to the frogs and watching the female on the nest when all of a sudden we saw the male's head pop up out over the pond, which indicated a level of alarm.

he started coming closer and eventually we heard it- the honking of another pair of geese coming in for a landing which JUST WILL NOT DO so he came charging out at full speed all snappy and honky and the interlopers did not seem dissuaded but the female stood up on the nest and also snapped and honked at them and the pair decided not to land on this pond after all.

now, when he got all aggressive and started going after the other pair like I WILL KILL YOU she could have said "honey? it's the petersons. do you remember the petersons? they were next to us in the V during migration?"

but no. she did not say that. instead what she said was something along the lines of YESSSSS.  THAT IS SO HHOTTTTT. I WILL HELP YOU KILL THE PETERSONS.

and then he continued to be very aggressive for several minutes while she postured and displayed herself to him and then they did a thing that ornithologists call "the triumph ceremony".

it was very impressive.


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