Thursday, January 27, 2011

MORNING IN THE FOREST

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The early morning sun slowly pushed the night time away and the shadowy forms cloaked by darkness took shape and meaning.  I love to watch the transition from night time to the light of day in the forest.  The dark of night brings silence to the woodland but, the coming of light entices the happy song notes of the various birds who reside here.
A cardinal alights on a tree limb, his scarlet red form is highlighted by the darkness under the tree's branches that he is perched upon.  As the sun climbs higher in the sky, the colors of the forest come to life.
  Green, red and various shades of brown are predominant.  The scene is like watching a florescent light tube slowly brighten in a dark room.  Vines and other clingy things wrap around trees and dangle, some green and some brown, from outreaching limbs.  A squirrel emerges from a hole in a tree and appears nervous and begins barking in dismay.  He has a right to be upset as there is a golden dog laying at the base of the tree looking up----watching him.
A trail exhists to the right of me that appears much used.
It begs to be followed.  I love to follow these almost invisible paths in and around the forest.  It's interesting to see what a deer sees as he walks along through the tangled growth.
There is a sapling with the bark scraped off where a deer rubbed his antlers in attempts to remove the velvet that clung to the new growth of calcium rich horn.  This path appears to be a daily roadway for the deer leading to wherever....







The contours of the land in this forested area creates flat valley floors covered with fairly large trees.  The valleys usually extend to the lake.  The marks of man are imprinted at every turn.  Man's failed endeavors are prominently displayed throughout these woods.




Relatively steep hillsides surround most valleys and remind one of a horseshoe with the valley being the bottom of the horse's hoof.  The animal trails can be found on the tops of the hillsides following the edge of the horseshoe where a good view of the valley floor can be acquired.   Animals aren't stupid and keep vigil on all avenues of approach to their territories.
We wind through the deer trail and find it is not a difficult route.  The deer use this trail frequently and have pushed away offending bushes and scrub.  The trail seems to be heading toward the old ruins area.  There is much beauty to the left and the right of the little path.
There are rotten posts with old, rusty barbed wire deeply embedded into the rottening wood;  proof that even back here, man has made a go of it but, failed.
This forest has character.  I like it because, so far, the old has outlived the new.  I hope it stays that way.
 We exited the forest and entered a meadow of tall grasses.  There are two dogs in the photo below.  Can you see them?
I caught a movement far away at the end of the field and observed a white tail deer running into the thick brush at the edge of the forest.  He must have been laying in the grass and saw us when we stepped out of the tree line.  Deer always watch their back trail.  Always.
The camera I have today is insufficient to capture any distant subjects or fast moving animals.  I would have never been able to get the big camera to my eyes in time even if I would have had it.
 Something must have been very hungry.  There were Osage Orange fruit (hedge apple) all about, some crushed and some with the meat torn off.  This is a very bitter fruit.  Winter makes animals do whatever is necessary to survive. There were no apparent deer tracks, although a heavy cover of leaves were on the ground and could have covered the tracks.  The fruit balls contain a very large quantity of seeds and I suppose it's possible for turkey to hack away at the fruit balls to get to the seeds.

Across this field lay the ruins and a short walk back to the truck.  The lane to the left goes the long way to the truck.  The old roadway to the right leads down the hill and directly into the lake.
We chose the left path and eventually walked through the fields of tall grass back to the truck.  Tennessee Wildlife Resources has had a controlled burn on some of the acreage.  This will provide room and rich soil to support new grasses in the spring.  It's a good thing.  You can see the blackened areas in the photo below:
We stopped for a drink of water and a breather at the ruins area and Shade and Douglas promptly started digging out moles.  Shade pulled four of the critters from the soil in short order.  She harmed none of them.  She brought them one by one to me and laid them down within ten feet of me.  I promptly took them one by one to a great place in a hedge and watched each one rapidly burrow down into the soil out of sight.  Oh;  I kicked the soil back into place before we left.  Mole hunters!  My great dogs are mole hunters.  Funny thing....I tried to upload a video but there was an error.  I'll try later.