Today was not as hot as the past two days, thank goodness. Yesterday, it was sunny and 87 degrees, with no breeze. That kind of heat is a little much this early in the spring. Luckily, high clouds throughout the morning today kept it cool. The breeze was delightful.
I was up and out earlier than usual today to dig up the last of the give-away perennials for some friends. The phlox and siberian iris I'd dug out of the garden yesterday and they waited in a plastic tub, but I could not for the life of me remember the third plant I'd promised. In the middle of the night it came to me - Ginger Lilies! So early this morning I went out and dug up tubers and tossed them into a grocery bag, then did some other garden chores while I waited.
My friends were right on time. After we'd visited a while, and their car disappeared around the big curve in the driveway, I called to the dogs and said the magic words: Wanna take a walk? Oh, the frenzy, the hysteria! Leaping, running, wiggling and whining, Daisy and Radu were definitely ready for a walk!
We headed towards Lawson's Fork to look for spring ephemerals. I had a feeling I would find something good, and, I did! Rue Anemone grows all along the shore, the delicate white blooms easy to see against the brown leaf litter. I settled near a small patch and started drawing. As I drew, I had to fend off the dogs when they returned to me to make sure I was still there. It is amazing how they will come and sit on the one thing in the forest I wish they would NOT sit on. The tree-tops along the river were a lime-green haze. Low-growing young oaks, some just one to two feet high, had fuzzy red leaves at the tips of their branches that were as beautiful as the wildflowers. At the base of a huge red oak was a round-lobed hepatica, the bloom reaching for the sun, the leaves drooping down the steep slope. Christmas Fern grows everywhere along the river, and at this time of year the new leaves are uncurling into fuzzy and graceful fiddleheads. I found a short bunch that would fit on my paper, and drew in the journal until Daisy went into her manic mode and started running as fast as she could in a big circle that passed right in front of me, and right over my fern fiddles. Geeze. I quickly packed up and moved on before she tore up the whole hillside.
Next, the dogs went swimming in Lawson's Fork. As I watched them, I noticed that the lowest edge of the riverbank is covered with mounds of bright-green moss, slender grasses, and wildflowers. The only ones blooming today were the Blue Violet and Bluets, but I saw other plants with promise and made a mental note to come back to see the blooms of Foam Flower, Pipsissewa, Partridgeberry, and Rattlesnake Plantain.
By the time we hiked back up the steep hill it wasn't cool anymore. My long sleeves were hot, so I pushed them up, readjusted my backpack, and trudged on. Radu and Daisy ran slower now, except when they spotted a turkey hen and took off like a shot. "Stop harassing the wildlife," I called to them and pulled out the treats I'd brought. By this time the turkey had flown into a tree."Daisy, COME!" I called. Daisy heard me and ran to me. Radu wants to be like her, so he came too. They each got a treat, then the three of us finished the uphill trek to our bench. I sat for several minutes so we could all catch our breath, then we followed the Middlewood trail back to the house.