Monday, September 28, 2009

Resurrection Fern

Today is all blue skies, dry air, and wind waving the treetops. A great day to be outside. Radu, Daisy and I headed out around 11:00 to hike to the rocks in the woods at the far end of the lower pipeline. My family refers to this ridge as the "Lion King Rocks" because of the way they jut out at an angle from the top of the hill - smaller versions of the the big rock in one of our favorite movies. The scent of rain soaked earth still smelled sweet as we walked. There were lots of wildlife tracks in the dirt, and many mushrooms rising from fields and the woodland floor. We passed two that looked like small irish potatoes nestled in the ground. Will they grow taller? Guess we'll have to wait and see.

In the woods near the rocks I almost stepped on a 5" long Eastern Box Turtle who was crossing the path. The dogs ran right over it at first and continued on, so I sat to draw the little guy. However, it wasn't long before Daisy and Radu came running back to investigate why I had stopped walking. TOO bad, too. Sniff sniff sniff, paw paw, a growl or two from Daisy... I felt very sorry for the turtle so I decided to keep moving and let him get on with his day. Wild critters are hard to draw when you have dogs with you.

Arrived at the big rocks and saw that the Resurrection Fern, one of the Polypody Ferns that grows on this ridge, was lush and completely unfurled. The fern grows on the granite boulders, on ledges that accumulate old leaves that break down into and humus. In other places I've found it growing on tree trunks and branches. Its leaves are leathery and evergreen when there is enough water. During dry spells the leaves roll up and look quite dead.

While I was drawing a strong wind blew the treetops around. Occasional CRACK's and THUD!'s told me where branches were snapping and falling in the wind. A Red-Bellied Woodpecker chirred and pecked in a tree nearby. After investigating the hilltop, Radu and Daisy both took naps. On the way home we hiked with the wind in our faces... wonderful!

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