Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Beauty and Toothwort

Nothing says spring like the early spring wildflowers.  I went up into the woods this morning to collect wood to start a fire  I was delighted to see the first native wildflower:

 From a distance, you would not see the Spring Beauty at all.  The lance-shaped leaves and 5 petals are small.  After a week, the woods should be covered with them and you still will not notice them until you look down.

Next, I spotted the toothwort not far away, just beginning to bloom.

 It wasn't long before the flowers opened.

 A couple of hours later, toothwort was in full bloom and attracting native bees (too fast for me to take a photo).

Spring is really here but weather changes quickly.  As I write this, I hear thunder.  And, the weather forecaster is calling for much colder temperatures tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Signs of Spring

The snow finally melted and gave way to crocuses, glory-of-the-snow lillies, and daffodils.  I set out some violas but I don't think spring really arrives until the wildflowers bloom and trees leaf out.

 The woods look like spring will never arrive. The small American Beech tree retains its leaves all through winter, only dropping them when the new leaves unfurl.


Coltsfoot is always the first flower here in our mountains.   Coltsfoot was brought here by early settlers and so is not native.   The flowers come up long before the foliage.  I usually see these yellow flowers emerge in late February.  However, this year snow covered the ground until March 9 when these flowers were photographed. 

 I found this mushroom which was woody, not soft in texture like most mushrooms.  I have no idea what kind it is.
Unlike Coltsfoot, Golden Ragwort leaves are seen most of the winter.  The flowers will not appear until late April or May.

 Kookie and our new dog, little Molly, find the waterfall created by the snow runoff.  They love a warm spring day because they can get outside more.

Toothworts, true native wildflowers, are up with buds so the real Appalachian spring will arrive soon!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter Weary!

We have had snow on the ground since Valentine's Day.  I hadn't taken much in the way of photos--winter is not my favorite time of year but I decided I better get out and take a couple of photos before it melts.

 Castle Rock, Pembroke, VA
Last week, I photographed a few of my favorite places in Giles County.  This is Castle Rock on the New River in Pembroke.  At one point, ice covered the river but it is slowly melting.

 Pearis Mountain (on left)

This view of Pearis Mountain is from the top of Guinea Mountain near Eggleston.  On the right side of the photo, Peters Mountain (more than 15 miles away) shows the gas pipeline clearing that goes to Celanese Plant in Narrows.  That pipeline is only 12 inches in diameter.   Locals are fighting a proposed 42" fracked gas pipeline that will go a similar path but crosses 15 miles of the county.  None of the gas will benefit the county and be exported.  There are 5 similar pipelines proposed for the state.

Descending down from the top of Guinea Mountain, I stop to take a photo of our Rye Hollow with Walker Mountain in the background.

Finally, here is a photo of Walker Creek. 

A good sign---3 immature Red-Winged Blackbirds came to our feeder today--the first of many migrating birds I hope.

Stay warm!