I promised myself I won’t write every day, but it’s addictive. And I promised myself that I’ll try to sketch tree buds this year–as the season begins to change. We’ll see how long this lasts. But today was the perfect day to spend some time outside at my sit spot. Sketching. Sunshine. Soft Snow.
And then I took off on my snowshoes to get up close and personal with the birch trees.
Paper (aka white) Birch catkins usually come in groups of three.
Yellow Birch buds are long, pointed and hairy. Encountering these trees means it’s time for a scratch and sniff test–wintergreen.
Gray Birch (which some also call white) is actually dull grayish-white. The lines or lenticels, which help the tree exchange gases, give it a dirty appearance. The bark doesn’t peel like a Paper Birch or Yellow Birch. And it often features those triangular-shaped chevrons at the base of its branches or branch scars. Gray Birches are known to lean and their short, slender branches bend toward the ground. In my brain, it’s easy to differentiate it from Paper Birch, but then again, there are hybrids. I haven’t figured that one out yet.
Birch Polypores doing what they’re supposed to do. I love how they’ve oriented themselves so that even after the tree snapped, they are parallel to the ground, thus allowing their spores to drop.
This is one of the most common bracket fungi. It looks like nothing else and only grows on birches. Though an annual, the fruiting body exists for several years.
Before heading home, I stopped by the vernal pool on our neighbors’ land. We were given the opportunity to purchase some acreage from them three months ago, including this special spot, but alas, it wasn’t in the cards for us. I worry about what will happen to this special place. For as long as I can, I’ll continue to visit it. Hard to believe right now, but it won’t be long before the wood frogs, salamanders and spring peepers return here to mate and deposit their eggs.
I don’t want to see winter go, but there’s always the next season to look forward to and wonder about.
Thanks for joining me again and I promise not to write every day. I wonder if I’ll keep that promise.