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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In December I came upon this opening in the woods marked by tall grass rustling in the early morning breeze.  I thought about how winter could not last forever and it would'nt seem very long until green grass started showing through these weeds.  That morning seems years ago.  It is now March and there is not yet a sign of grass under those weeds. 
In fact, I recently passedd the same spot and was taught a lesson in regeneration.  The seeds from this tall grass may blow away with March winds if the blades remains standing tall.  While it is good for some of it to blow away and disburse to start new colonies of grass, there is the risk that none of the seeds will land on a spot that suits them so perfectly as does this small spot in the woods.  The grass needs to have a way to be sure that most of its seeds will land close by where it has already been proven to have good growing conditions.  A good way to assure that is snow, snow and more snow. 
     Snow is a good gentle weight on the grass.  This year it was a consistent weight also.  We had snow on the ground every day but one in February, resulting in the grass being bent as seeds were pressed into the earth below.  The dirt turned to mud under the snow as the ground changed from frozen to thawed and back to frozen. The weight of the snow assured that many of the seeds would stay close to the parent plant. The spot was barely recognizable as I walked past.  It looked more like a home for a small tribe of people living in brown teepees scattered across the ground under giant trees. As I walked across the area, my feet pressed seeds into the mud under my shoes.
One of my goals this morning was to see what tracks surrounded the dens that I suspect may be coyote dens. The closest full track I found did not quite fit the description.  It may not have been left by whatever lives near by, but, other than deer, it was the most common track that was close.
It is three-four inches across and while it is deeply pressed into the mud, there are no signs of claws which should be present in dog or coyote tracks.  It looks much more like a cat print, but is way to big for that.  The pad behind the toes does not show up very well in the photo, but it was well defined in real life.  There were several of these tracks leading toward the dens with this being the clearest.  I've been left more confused than ever.  If any readers can help me, I welcome your knowledge and comments.
Speaking of seeds, I cannot resist sharing this walnut shell I found perched on a small stump. A perfect half, it rested there shiny as if sprayed with a preservative so that it would remain through the winter waiting for me to come upon it to admire its beauty. 
I did.


sonia said...

loved the picture of the walnut it looked sinister and fascinating at the same time.

Beyond The Garden said...

Thanks Sonia, I loved that it was so shiny, looking as if pollished