Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hiking the ROW Part 2

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Wild Cherry Nipple Gall caused by eriophyid mites on chokecherry leaves.

In this post, I continue the photographic essay on hiking up the right of way on our land up Barton Mountain. An introduction is here and part one is here.

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White Cohosh (Actaea pachypoda)
also called White Baneberry

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Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Also called squaw root or papoose root.

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A colony of Artist's Fungi (Ganoderma applanatum)

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Under an Artist's Fungus.

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A quarry cut block of granite far from any quarry and now buried,
over a century later, by the forest.
See more Barton Mountain granite quarry history here.

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Hickory Tussock Moth larva (Lophocampa caryae)

To view the other photos:
Introduction: Strangers on the mountain
Hiking the ROW: Part 1
Hiking the ROW: Part 2
Hiking the ROW: Part 3


Hiking the ROW Part 1

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Fairpoint Communications telephone pole ID

On our property there is a right of way (ROW) up to the ridegeline of Barton Mountain for electricity and cables to the cell towers up top. This past September, Fairpoint put in fiber optic cables on those poles. I wrote about this invasion in an earlier post. Because of our concern about the Fairpoint activity we saw from the house, we decided to climb up the ROW to see what damage had been done to the land. We saw plenty. Unfortunately, I didn't take photographs of the damage, but it is still visible and will be visible for years. I will return after mud season to document the damage better. The photos here in this multipart photographic essay are of our activity on the hike — of John, me and the cats Buddy and Oscar. Despite our anger at the invasion, we had a wonderful afternoon. I took only my 70-250mm lens, which was inadequate for most of the macro photos here. Next time I'll take the whole kit and caboodle.

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Looking down the ROW.
Our home is through the woods to the left.

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Looking up the ROW.
All trails end at the bottom of those cliffs, which is where bear and bobcat live.

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Buddy wanted to rest here.
He actually wanted to turn back and go home, but continued on with us.

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A couple of chickadees kept a close eye on us the entire hike.

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We found even more apple trees from the orchard a century ago!

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White Worm Coral Fungus (Clavaria fragilis)

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Bear scat full of chokecherry pits.

To be continued . . . .

To view the other photos:
Introduction: Strangers on the mountain
Hiking the ROW: Part 1
Hiking the ROW: Part 2
Hiking the ROW: Part 3


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Latest Worldwide Meteor/Meteorite News: Breaking News - MBIQ Detects Large Bolide Entry Over New England States and Canada 28FEB2012

Latest Worldwide Meteor/Meteorite News: Breaking News - MBIQ Detects Large Bolide Entry Over New England States and Canada 28FEB2012

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John saw a huge white flash in the northeast, over the mountain, at about 10:30 tonight. The cats were excited and wanted to go outside (Oscar did escape). John thought it was lightning at first, but reported a clear and starry sky. I posted the question on Facebook, and saw that Fox44 had already posted it. Dozens of people had already responded. One lady shared the link to the site above and we saw that the entire continent was empty except for northern New England and southern Canada. Reports of the light are coming in from all over the north country. Reportedly what everyone saw was a bolide: "A large meteor that explodes in the atmosphere."

I'll let you know what we find out.

11:58 PM Feb 28, 2012

7:37 AM March 1, 2012


Monday, February 27, 2012

Two Hoppers

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Two-Striped Grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus)

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Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chasing Porcupines at Night

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When the quills lie up on the back, you know the porky is upset with you.

John saw this porcupine one night in September. He shined his large flashlight while I followed the porky in the dark, seeing the land only through the viewfinder. I literally could not see a thing and relied on John's directions of where to step. I was happy to get such clear results. I had set the camera on automatic to avoid as few shooting errors as possible under these circumstances.

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We were invaded by porcupines this year. We thought they came because of the apples, but we have since found three porcupine dens that show evidence of them being here a long time. Perhaps they had a population explosion or something. But they are eating the apple and maple trees. And the barn. Buddy the Cat won’t even go outside when a porcupine is around (probably because of his last encounter with one, seen here).

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Monday, February 13, 2012


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Spaghetti Sauce

Our first garden in Vermont was successful. Before the blight hit in September, we got enough tomatoes to can quarts of spaghetti sauce and tomatoes. We had over a couple of hundred pounds of cucumbers and made sweet relish, bread and butter pickles and dill pickles.

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Making pickles.

With all of the apples and chokecherries, John made apple, cherry, and apple-cherry jelly.

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John had planted a lot of squash seeds that he brought from New Hampshire. The trouble was, he had no idea what they were. They turned out to be Red Kuri squash, which I now like better than butternut. It is sweeter and more solid than butternut. It makes terrific pies. John processed and froze so much squash that we had to get another huge chest freezer!

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Red Kuri squash on the vine.

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A Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) on a squash leaf.

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Bumblebees would often pile up six deep in a squash blossom.

I never did take photos of the apple sauce, apples, pies and cider that John preserved. But I do know that he made over 20 gallons of cider! It was a very fruitful harvest!


Friday, February 10, 2012


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The photograph above is of the branches of a tamarack (American Larch) tree, one of my favorites. This is a deciduous conifer (a cone-bearing tree that sheds its needles). Native people used this tree to make canoes and kayaks. We are cultivating every seedling here that we find. The tamaracks glow orange in the late fall long after the other trees have shed their leaves in the autumn.

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Large female cones

Tamaracks have male and female cones on the same tree. Above you see the large female cones. It is winter now and the ground is covered with snow. The tamaracks are bare — except that they still have these cones on them.

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Male cones

In the photo above you can see (perhaps; you may need to click the photo and see the original size on Flickr) the itty, bitty male cones.The National Phenology Network tells us on their tamarack page that

The small, yellowish male cones bear pollen and the reddish brown female cones mature and become pale brown. Cone production begins when the tree matures at about 15-40 years of age, and pollination occurs by wind.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Puffballs for Supper

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Giant Puffball Mushroom (Calvatia gigantea)

I can't tell you where because it's a secret that we will keep, but in late August we found a small stand of giant puffball mushrooms. These are one of John's favorites, so he happily picked them for supper that night.

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I've seen photos of these bigger than basketballs!

When we returned home, John thinly sliced his 'rooms and melted a quarter pound of butter on the stove. He fried the puffball slices and soon had a full tummy!

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I tried a slice but my refined, junk food city girl taste buds found the mushroom too earthy and tasteless. Maybe next year I'll be able to choke some down.

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