Monday, February 25, 2008

Funny sentences I have read lately

"Note that exploding head syndrome is not an example of spontaneous human combustion, nor does it involve the head actually exploding."


I've been busy getting ready for the first spring craft show (Cottontails), so haven't been out and about much. But I can't believe I forgot to post these pictures from a couple of weeks ago:

You may have to enlarge the picture to see it, but this is actual snow.

It only stuck this much, though.

People in the north probably have no conception of this, but around here, whenever snow is mentioned, you have to also discuss whether or not it will stick. (It usually doesn't.)

In other terribly exciting weather news, it has been raining.

Recent view...

which is better than this...

but still not back to this... which is what we used to call "normal".

We didn't have nearly the number of winter Hooded Merganser visitors that we are used to. But lately there have been quite a few Wood Ducks hanging around. (They're extremely camera-shy though.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Luna luna

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
-Sylvia Plath

The moon's an arrant thief,
and her pale fire she snatches from the sun...

I see the moon
and the moon sees me.
-Nursery rhyme


It was cloudy most of the time, but every now and then we got a few nice glimpses of the lunar eclipse last night. Or as one of my friends calls it, the Moonar Clipse.

Clouds were ok though, since it meant that we got lots of rain, lovely rain, today.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Winter finds

Evergreen from a distance, that turned out to be...

American holly (Ilex opaca).

We've only found two of these on our property, and neither one has berries. Possibly the birds ate them all before we found them, though.

Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana)

I've never actually seen this one in bloom, since I don't venture into the woods a lot in late summer. (100°+ heat, dewpoint over 75°, thousands of bugs that bite, poison ivy galore, whine, moan, complain, etc.)

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata), a.k.a. Pipsissewa.

I have pronounced this incorrectly for years, saying Pippessewa instead of Pipsissewa.

The botanical name always makes me think of chimpanzees. (According to Wikipedia, though, "from Greek: cheima 'winter' and philos 'lover', hence 'winter lover'".)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I heart

I'm too busy to do a Valetine's post. And why should I, when so many others have already done it so much better... Click through for the absolute finest in Valentine's Day photos.

Gnumoon says Love Hurts.

Dr Flowers says this wood's got heart.

And of course it's Valentine's every day at Farmgirl Fare.

Beanie the chicken is back, you know. Here is Beanie's Valentine note. (And if you missed Jim and Beanie's Chopsticks duet, you should really see that too.)

Sorry if I missed your wonderful Valentine photos. It's probably just because Bloglines was slow serving up your offering.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Things that howl in the night

The video is here if you can't see it. (Sound only.)

That's Jasmine barking in the background, trying to be scary.

Yesterday, when I opened the gate to drive out, a very worried look came over her and she ran out like a shot. I believe she has a psychic power that tells her when I'm on my way to a meeting (usually in a hurry and without the need for a lot of extra dog hair), because that's the only time she ever escapes. She hadn't done it in a long time though, and I couldn't figure out what had possessed her.

She rushed down the driveway to bark at the neighbor's big red cooler, that was sitting on our side of the ditch. She quickly had it cowering in submission, apparently, and zipped back inside the gate before I could even work up a good amount of curse words.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

So excited

The first Trillium of our spring, Trillium decumbens.

OK, it's not really spring yet. But I'm cheering the effort of this bedraggled little Hepatica1.

It's not all sunshine and bluebirds yet -- these were the only examples in our two-hour walk today -- but we'll be there before you know it.


1 I think the name has actually changed to Anemone acutiloba, but I'm in denial.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Rain! We've finally been having some rain. Combined with overly warm weather, it brought out the Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer).

The video is here if you can't see it. (Peepers wait until it's getting dark to start peeping.)

This is in the area we call the swamp. Really it's just a pond that was allowed to go wild. It's been completely dry until just recently.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Of mud men and moss maids

I recently read on the Ellis Hollow blog about Craig's plans to build a Mudman.

He was inspired by photos of this sculpture called The Giant's Head at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, England.

Then when I was searching for online information on Moss Maidens for my post last week, this photo popped up on Google images:

Two living garden sculptures in one week! Synchronicity started playing in my head. I had to learn more.

Clicking through, I found the Waterfall Cottage site, where I read that Australian sculptor Belinda Villani had created Lily (above), inspired by another sculpture at Heligan.

Here's the original Mud Maiden at Heligan:

The Heligan sculptures were crafted by Sue Hill and her brother Pete, who also have works at The Eden Project in Cornwall.

This one is called Eve. On this page that includes several photos of its construction, it's called the Apples sculpture, though.

The photo below resembles Eve, and was also created by Sue and Pete Hill. It was part of the "Garden of Dreams" in the 2006 Chelsea Flower show, and is called The Dreaming Girl.

One source says that after the show, the figure was bought by Olivia Harrison for her own garden. (Click the link for another view and more info on the plants.)

Then there's this.

It's at Bute Park in Cardiff, Wales, and been called a troll, a warthog, and a mudbeast. I can't find any information on the maker, but it seems a bit too rough-hewn to be by the Hills.

Still cute, though. Apparently it had to be fenced in, to prevent people from climbing on it.

Check here for a series of photos showing the creation of a garden scupture called Terra M Firma. The last the artist mentioned, it's not growing moss as well as she'd hoped.

I've been inspired by these living sculptures!

My idea though, is to find rocks with moss already growing on them, and then arrange them artfully to resemble, say, a turtle. Or a snail. Have to start small.


additional links:
Heligan Gardens website.
The Eden Project website.
Search flickr for "Heligan head" to see how that sculpture changes over time and season.
Other views of the Mud Maiden at Heligan are here and here.
Another view of the Mudbeast.


Photo credits:
The Giant's Head at Heligan by Ollie O'Brien.
Lily at Waterfall Cottage by Jeanne Villani.
Mud maid at Heligan by Liz Jones.
Eve at The Eden Project by Patricia Hamilton.
Dreaming Girl by Caroline, aka Elfleda.
Mudbeast at Bute Park by Mart, aka Late Night Movie.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Chicken sign

Before we got the game camera, we had to rely on our own skills to determine what animals passed through our property. We bought a couple of tracking books, but found that animals rarely leave crisp, pristine tracks that resemble the drawings. (Unless it snows, which apparently is never, ever going happen here again.)

The animal sign that we encounter the most is actually scat. I should have been more careful, though. In-laws will think you even stranger than they already do, if you stop in mid-hike to carefully examine animal poop.

Other signs we see a lot are scrapes, or disturbed areas similar to this picture. What a huge scrape, I thought. I wonder how in the world that was made!

I hate to admit how long it took me to realize that this "wildlife sign" was actually made by... chickens.


The best tracking web site is Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Moss Maiden

Stop trying to look up her dress!


There is really not a lot of information online about Moss people.