Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sassafras Leaves, Carolina Locust

Another beautiful fall day at Middlewood!  Daisy, Dukie and I headed out around noon to enjoy the bright colors and cool breeze.  It was best kind of hiking weather. On the pipeline, I can (and do) easily switch from hiking on the shady side (cold) to the sunny side (hot, if there is no breeze). I wove back and forth today.  After we crossed Meetinghouse Creek (cold) we headed up the other side and walked to the sunny side of the far hill to settle down, me to draw, dogs to nap. After about ten minutes, Daisy and Duke moved from the sun to the shade.  Later, Duke wandered off to explore in the woods and Daisy came to sit in front of me to make sure I was safe.

I put my face into the sun and enjoyed the toasty silence with occasional rustling oak leaves and Crows cawing in the distance.  Opening my eyes I noticed in the distance rippling heat waves rising from the warm, sunny side of the pipeline. Suddenly, a loud BZZZZT! broke the silence as a Carolina Locust sprang from the grass beside me, flew about 30 feet, and landed back in the grass.  You always know a Carolina Locust by his black and yellow rear wings, which are only seen when they fly.  Otherwise, they are just average looking grasshoppers.  This guy flew his short "hops" around me for the whole hour I sat drawing.  BZZZZZT!

Sassafras leaves come in various shapes, all on the same tree. Here are three examples, but the possibilities are endless.  These leaves are past the color stage, but aren't the shapes beautiful?

By the time I'd finished drawing, I had taken off my fleece jacket, put my hair in a pony tail, but still felt hot, so we trekked home on the cool, shady side of the pipeline.  On the windy hilltop I felt cool and put the jacket back on.

Here are some photos of our trees, and my sweet guard collie.

Nature Journaling Workshop

A day-long workshop at Heathwood Hall with 54 fifth graders!  Everyone had so much fun learning how to slow down and pay attention to nature's details.  At the end of the day I sat and talked to some of the girls waiting for their mom's to pick them up.  When they asked if they could write me a note in the back of one of my journals, I was happy to let them.  What a wonderful read later that night.