Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When I look Into The Sky...

...from the fallen tree I lay on, I don't see much sky. Mostly trees reaching their leaves towards a sun that only comes down into small blotches of light. The plants and animals don't seem to mind.

Things I thought of while laying on the tree trunk:
  1. Taking a nap
  2. All the creatures that have walked through that very spot
  3. If I will fall off
  4. What it's like to never have 'human' needs (like groceries or toaster ovens)
  5. If what all the old people in the FOXFIRE book say about how people were happier back when they took care of themselves without using any money is true?

Rare Native Orchid: Pink Lady's Slipper

I knew when I saw this flower next to a creek behind my cabin it was something awesome... it has a presence that would have made Georgia O'Keeffe swoon with sexy flower delight! After some investigating, like asking peeps on facebook and calling friends to describe my find - " it's a pink flower on a tall stem that looks super sexual, almost like a guy's nutsack") I soon found out this was a rare endangered orchid, native to the Appalachian mountains & surrounding states.

Coooool! I have found a Pink Lady's Slipper (also known as the "moccasin flower", cause somebody thought it looked like a shoe because they couldn't admit what it really looks like)!
"The plant has two wide basal leaves that stay horizontal and a single stalk growing to about a foot high bearing the pink flower. Transplanting from the wild is strongly discouraged because of the rarity of the plant and the almost nil chances of success. New plants are difficult to start because of the need for symbiotic fungi in supping nutrients to the seed. It takes years for the new plant to develop leaves for supplying its own energy. " -

In other words... LOOK but do NOT touch this pretty flower! Even if ya like to normally touch things that look similar to this. ;)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blue Dragonfly (AKA- Mosquito Hawk)

It's eyes look like they are made of blown glass found in some exotic far away land.

Here is a random bug question: Do different color dragonflies mate with each other, or are the colors each a distinct species that only mate with the same color as themselves?

Another Dream Come True (and it's just a pair of used boots!)

I have looked far and wide --- I have scoured Ebay & Etsy for years trying to find hiking boots that would fit this one weird idea(l) in my head.... this idea of tall & cute knee high military style canvas boots that had good shoe soles for gripping the ground while walking in these mountains.
I finally have come to my hiking boot climax after all this time!
The title of these boots (pictured) from Etsy says it all... i mean really, it ALL! Like every keyword i have ever used trying to find something just like this:::::

"Vintage Denim and Leather Boots Canvas Hemp Buckle Combat Retro Knee High Riding Boots Safari Hiking Boots size 6"

I am gonna confess my enthusiastic girlie-ness for shit like this, when I find a sweet pair of boots I need badly and happen to also be hot to trot (freakin' sexy with leather straps), i am totally taken back in time to my mom's shopping bonanzas where she would have us model our score for my dad when we got home from the Lakeside Mall. He was not thrilled ($$$), but we felt awesomely adorable & prepared for all the events city life may throw our way (catholic church on sundays, school functions such as bingo night, seeing my boyfriend on the Westbank, going out to eat at Impastato's with my parents).

Confession #2 : I will wear (now as an adult) high heel cowgirl boots when hiking in the woods, and walking miles along the road. Why? Cause I like them, they are so pretty I can't take them off even when it's an inappropriate terrain.
These old canvas boots I found are gonna save me from this reckless fashion love/consumer zombie/ hurtin' shins fate.

BTW- these are used/vintage boots I got, I haven't bought brand new shoes in over 5 years. I try to stick to an eco friendly plan when buying footwear cause usually the thrift stores, ebay and etsy are full of amazing footies for alot cheaper. And much more interesting looking. Don't ya think?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Animal Tracking: Bobcat... Coyote or Fox?

Finding tracks by a canine is pretty common, and usually easy to identify because their claws show up in the print above the toes...

the deal is, bobcat prints are very similar to that of a coyote, dog or even a fox --->
They all have 4 toes and a pad underneath, the main indicator that separates the bobcat/large feline from the canine is the claws that show up. It is rare I find a bobcat print (maybe once in my life) and the pics i took here in my muddy bog don't appear to have claws. But what do ya'll think? Bobcat? Canine? (Or maybe the infamous and disbelieved local mountain lion?)

Pictured in the black and white drawing below are a rendering of bobcat prints::::

The mammal print above is a coyote and the one below is a common fox. You can see both leave distinct claw marks in their tracks.
The track you see below is the second track, ahead of the one in the first two pictures - appeared to be a stride. These tracks were large, only a tad bit smaller then ones I have seen from a large domesticated Pit Bull Dog. Get guessing!!!!

Xoxoxo ROar! Woof! puuurrrrrr!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Animal Tracking: Itty Bitty Birdie Feet & Mystery Trail

Tiny bird tracks! Aren't they cute? There is a perfect area a little ways behind the Luck Cabin that is all muddy, mushy and bog like - many creeks branch and converge in this area making it a tiny wetland that attracts alot of animals & birds. The cool part is they all leave perfectly shaped tracks in the smooth wet silt.
This second track looks more like a slither... but I am not certain that it is a snake trail? The slither track is coming up out the water of the creek, in a spot that is shallow and slow moving.

What do you think it is? Can anyone give a positive ID on this meandering track...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Like...

I like big huge rocks and large amounts of water moving really fast...
decaying trees...
decaying buildings...
stained glass...
when a guy flint knaps me a pretty glass arrowhead...
and i super like community centers and their (just my speed) events!

Slitherin' Mania: Copperhead, Black Snake, and 6 ft Snake Skin

The snakes are back! Yesterday I was in Big Sandy Mush... me and Bort were talking about how we had not seen any snakes yet this year, which I guess summoned them from the depths cause not an hour later we had a snake fest.The first snake spotted was a copperhead under some thorny blackberry bushes on a concrete path that leads up to the Silo. It was sitting all coiled up and very alert. I did not feel as though the snake was at ease and I kept a good distance and left it alone. The eyes on this one actually look like they are made of metallic copper colored material - which is probably why Bort was utterly 'creeped out'- (understatement on his reaction to copperheads).
We also stumbled upon a large black snake warming itself in the woods on top my favorite tree. It had some unusual markings on it's side that we didn't know was from a fight/injury or if it was getting ready to shed it's skin... it slithered down the tree trunk and literally did a disappearing act (hole in the ground, hide under the bark, hole in the tree???) It slithered into the oblivion.
When Bort tried to show me another black snake that lives in his well house it wasn't in sight, but the skin it shed was hanging from the rafters and I pulled it down. It was split in two pieces (in the middle of the belly it had broke), but Bort held it together and the snake is about 6 feet LONG!
Not only that but the skin was fresh and new enough to have the head totally in tact! How cool is this??! Even the eyeball skin is on there!
I got to keep this snake skin and brought it home. It smells gross like an old fish, but I can't stop myself from loving it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Do Tadpoles Get THIS BiG?!

um, what the hec? I have tadpoles in my pond that are bigger then most frogs!?!! This big honkin' tadpole pictured above is at least 4-5 inches long, and let's just say it's head is huge/wide. And I have seen others like this so big I thought they were funny tailed fish.

See in the picture below, there are some grown normal sized tadpoles in the upper right hand corner, and in the lower left hand corner the dark shadow making a ripple in the water is the giant tadpole! That big one could eat the others for a lite snack!!!
Have ya'll ever seen or heard of these ginormous tadpoles?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Black Snail & Giant Snail

In an old pile of rough sawn wood, mixed with leaves and decay I found some really neat snails yesterday morning!

Have you ever seen a black snail? I hadn't ... it's shell was tinted slightly darker then the common colored snail, i think cause of it's dark black body wrapped up on the inside. These black snails were really striking and fun to watch - they seemed to be quick and not too shy.
Even it's eyeballs are black!
and there was more then one...
I also found a GINORMOUS snail, most likely the biggest regular snail I have ever seen in the forest. I didn't even know they got so thick, old looking and bulky!
That is my hand and a regular sized snail next it it for size... the splashes of white on it's shell, I could not tell if that's something growing on it, or bleached out spots from sunlight?
Have you ever seen the "snail scene" in Microcosmos (the movie about insect life close up and beautiful?) Watch it, it's hawt!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dear Mole, I loVe YoU.

Dear Mole,

I am so sorry my cat Toots brought you into the house, as I could tell it made you very uncomfortable to be here. I was happy to see she had not hurt you, and carried you like a baby - and when I found you head first burrowing into a corner, although terrified, you were also endearing.

I am writing now to tell you why I love you....
I love your funny wiggley little nose, so red and soft. I love the way your eyes are blind ... hec I don't even know if you have any eyes. Your coat of dark gray is so shiny and smooth, even though you live underground in dirt tunnels you are so perfectly clean!
But even more so then all these things I mentioned that make you such a handsome fella', it's your giant clawed feet, web like, thick, and resembling flippers for swimming that really caught my eye.
I sincerely hope after I lifted you up from the corner, to put you back outside that no cat spit had penetrated your skin to only later kill you. Even if your dead though, I still love you for the beautiful little critter you are.
xoxo- Leslie

Friday, May 14, 2010

Long Red and Black Striped Millipede

Long + Striped + Insect = Awesomeness. Not to mention all those legs and the amazing way they move...
I can not really imagine what it would be like to be a millipede and have to move all those freakin' feet in order to walk anywhere. (All the lazy humans would be screwed 100 times over, on each side!)

When I see bugs like this it reminds me of childhood references which were not from the natural world, but were inspired by it --- things like the giant sand snake in Beetlejuice ! Jim Henson, Tim Burton, all those creative guys musta' looked to the stunning and mind boggling creations of nature for their artistic inspiration... the more I see creatures in the natural world, the more I remember their movies.
BTW- i picked this millipede up out of the road and put it back in the wildflowers...just in case a car came by and didn't notice it crossing. ;)