Stepping out on the porch this morning we saw about the only resident of the hollow that gives us pause: a horsefly. (I naively call any big fly a horsefly.) Tricky fellow was difficult to see on the black plastic. Horseflies sure do bite hard. And always on the back of the neck. Red wasps? Not as bad as advertised. Copperheads and pygmy rattlers? We invite them to lunch. Horseflies? Mean and smarter than a chimpanzee.
Crossing the yard, we scanned the skies for the needed and promised rain. We saw few clouds but could feel change on the breeze. Near the tiny apple trees we saw this bumblebee on a thistle. (I naively call any big bee a bumblebee.) I normally cut down thistles, but missed this one. Old Chandler sure hated bumblebees.
We circled through the blackberry field (ate a couple ripe berries) to the pond (still empty). The yellow dog dramatically froze and scented the air, so I paused until he barked twice and trotted forward. Back down through the field above the house he was still snuffing around with extra vigor, so I knew something was near (something is always near). I stopped to look at the leaves on a big mulberry tree when a heavy bodied deer exploded out of the brush. It must have been lying down and I think it had antlers, which surprised me. The fat dog tore off through the trees in fruitless pursuit. A normal day.
Yesterday I found myself at a deserted Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield near Springfield, Missouri. For misanthropic reasons, I enjoy any park best when I’m the only person about.
Standing at this sign I was unprotected from the wind and the 40 mph gusts (per KSMU radio) tried to rob me of my $3 baseball cap. Looking straight ahead and slightly to the left, there is as pretty an Ozark springhouse as I can remember seeing. When I stepped inside it I heard something slip into the water and believe I could see a frog floating in the dim light. My night vision isn’t what it once was, and I was avoiding soaked boots on such a cool morning, but I now wish I wasn’t such a coward. All my frogs are asleep this time of year.
Walking across the windswept field to the springhouse, I couldn’t help but notice ample evidence of armadillo activity. I returned to my vehicle using a slightly different route and found one armadillo finished with its earthly digging.
In narrow parts of the hollow, the north facing slope and the south facing slope are in close proximity but very different. Halfway up the north facing slope I noticed this unused split cedar post near an old fence. On the south facing slope, it wouldn’t have the moss growing on it like this.
Higher up I saw my yellow escort was awaiting an indication of our direction. He is generally quite mission oriented on forest incursions.
Out of nowhere Percy Cat made his presence known on a low bluff.
I followed him along the face of the layered rock wondering his objective. Apparently, he wanted to show me the close relationship between stone and tree.
Down in the hollow this morning, everything just looked wet and muddy. It wasn’t until I stepped out on the porch and looked up that I saw the ice. The house and mud is at about 1350 feet above sea level. Here I’m looking from the garden spot toward the north rim of the hollow, which is about 1500 feet elevation. Just that small difference in height and the trees have ice.
I took the following photos in the vicinity of our mailbox on the county road at an elevation of about 1525 feet. The pines and cedars were especially weighted down, but there were also a few branches down off hardwoods. Please be advised that I don’t know how to photograph ice, and these are evidence of that.