Brenda and Rod to Bent Tree
May 11-12 , 2008
Brenda and Rod drove up to Bent Tree after church on Sunday to spend the night and clean up for the visit of Jeff and family next weekend. The woods were fully leafed out and very beautiful. We had the treat of standing at the window and watching three deer graze across the slope above the house. Strong wind gusts kept the trees moving and immersed us in the sounds of nature rather than sirens and car horns. It was a wonderful night to be up in the mountains - we slept with the window up to hear the sounds of the wind during the night.
Walking in the woods on Saturday, I found the mayapple plants making their move to take over the forest floor, and most of the small wildflowers that we saw in April were gone. Only dandelions gave yellow color in the woods. In the interim between April 19 and May 11, the bloodroot flowers had come and gone, so I missed them again.
Now the mountain laurels along Buckskull Court were about to burst forth.
Large bunches of pink mountain laurel buds were poised for bloom. White mountain laurels were also budding, mixed with the majority pink buds along Buckskull.
From beauty to the beast! Ever on the lookout for opportunities for "small game hunting", I spotted this unusual spider near the bottom of Buckskull Court. I've never seen one like it. A first I thought it was some sort of bee because of the striped tail.
Leaving Buckskull and moving down the old logging road to the streambed, I confirmed that all the early flowers were gone except the white violet and a few rue anemones. I have been intrigued that the juvenile phase of the white violet is actually violet as shown at left. It turns pure white with maturity.
Moving on to a mature white violet, I saw what appeared to be a liquid droplet on it. It turned out to be an aphid-like insect shaped like a water droplet.
I scrambled back up the steep slope to the house from the streambed and we continued our cleaning routine after my brief walkabout. We would occasionally step outside just to revel in the beauty of the woods. The above view is to the back of the house up the mountain. The big poplar tree stands as majestically as ever, celebrating its new spring covering of green. Below is a view past the front of the house. In any direction from the house you were immersed in vibrant green.
We packed up and headed back home after an overnight trip that was exhilirating even though we had worked really hard at cleanup. We found that the white mountain laurels had almost fully bloomed out at the level of the gate. The variation with altitude adds to the fascination of watching things bloom out in the mountains.