Bonus post


Here’s the rescued turtle, almost certainly an Eastern Box Turtle (good info from Wikipedia and also Davidson College Herpetology Lab). And male.

Oh, and…


Once again, I was reminded during Sunday’s hike that much as I enjoy examining fungi, lichen, and moss, I really know very little about them.

Yesterday’s hike in northwest Georgia should henceforth be known as the Rambutan Romp. The signature food (well, sorta) of the three intrepid participants was freeze-dried rambutan. John described the rambutan bits as resembling Amazon-box peanuts, although I think they have bit more flavor; for better or worse, they’re mostly carbs. We all were concerned, upon learning that the rambutans had been shelled and seeded by hand, that TJ’s is relying on child-labor to accomplish this (product of Thailand).

Also, I should confess this regarding yesterday’s outing: I fell in the creek during one of the maybe twenty crossings (remember, this was soon after a long rain). Brr. A bit bruised, but okay. Lots to laugh about, that!—and no pictures of that wet spring-sprawl, thankfully.

Post-rainfall bosque*

trail_creek.jpgYesterday’s rain stopped about nightfall in northwest Georgia (in contrast, we had rain almost all night in ATL), so we knew that the trail might be damp. I did not expect, however, that the trail would compete with the creek to drain the landscape! Despite the constant overcast, we had a great 6.7 mile trek, with, we agreed, just the right amount of up (meaning “not too much”).

We rescued a box turtle who was trucking down the gravel road (never know exactly where to put them and which way to face them), and saw many active, humongous millepedes. Otherwise, the critter-count was pretty low, although on the drive back to ATL we saw a pair of wild turkeys dusk-grazing in a newly-green pasture.

We found a fine early spring assortment of wildflowers beginning to bloom (I don’t remember most of their names—sorry), and few of the flowering shrubs—none of my favorite wild azaleas, for example, but maybe they just don’t grow in that terrain.

* Bosque is Spanish for forest or woods



This time of the year, I always stop and admire the jasmine vines covering the fence in front of a neighbors’ house. The blooms are so glorious in the sun (yesterday, not today, I admit).

Most people from around here call this yellow or Carolina jasmine, and sometimes pronounce the latter jess-ah-min, so it has the alternate spelling jessamine. I did not know how toxic the plant is until I read that Wikipedia entry….

* Pitiful reference to the line: Why is the sky Carolina blue?

Spring dining


I finally pulled a carpet of noxious weeds from the (empty) flower garden last evening, and this morning I noticed a robin out there grazing.

Poor robins. Their scientific name, Turdus migratorius fortunately means something more high-fallutin than it sounds. Turdus means thrush and it’s a genus with many species….

And, yes, it’s the state bird of Michigan (includes sound files)!

Seasonal drift


I can’t even guess what kind of phlox this is. BTW, phlox is a funny word, with its roots in the Greek word for flame. Appropriate, no? Yet, phlox varieties are native to North America and northeast Asia!

Today I heard lawn mowers for the first time, both to the south and to the east. Believe it or not!

Of course, the operators could have been conducting last-minute leaf-herding, instead of trimming spring-fresh grass….

In neighborhood news, Dish, once a favorite upscale restaurant of ours, is gone and defunct. A carpenter working on the redesign says the new restaurant going into the former gas-station location will be called Diesel. Still, I’m not warming to the idea of a restaurant named after a poison.

I’m not sure I’d feel that much better if it were named Biodiesel….

Flower sex


I’m not a tulip devotee, or at least I haven’t been historically, mostly ’cause bulb-growing in the upper Midwest—my place of origin—means annually replanting them so they don’t freeze (guess I haven’t much Dutch heritage).

Now, down here in the mid-South, I have learned to just leave ’em out there to do their thing. And this is the current version of their thing—look at all those nekkid flower parts, trying to survive the dessication phase! And the central stalk trying to swell from successful concupiscence.

Late breaking news: Lake Allatoona, north of Atlanta, is at near summer flood-pool levels (indicating a part of the year when it’s affected by seasonal drawdown), and at a level it has not reached since MAY 2006. Let’s hope for more rain!

Spring marches…


Our tulips are fading, but some of the neighbors’ still look tip-top. I saw the first drifts of yellow pollen yesterday (sneeze).

Today’s vocabulary: aliquot (‘alikwət)

(noun) a portion of the larger whole, especially a chemical sample

(verb) to divide a whole into parts, or to take parts from a whole

Big but…


…is that They* are predicting temps below freezing overnight….

* They in this case are meteorologists…which sounds like a term that should refer to scientists who study meteors, but instead refers to science-types who focus on “the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere,” and, therefore, actually means more than just weather stuff. But (third but of this entry), meteorologist does sound a bit tidier and more, well, serious and empirical, than “weather forecaster” or even the more colloquial weather-dude or weather-babe.

Flower taxonomy


I suspect this is a dog violet; this type takes over our yard this time of the year (since we don’t do heavy chemical treatments, and, geeze, yeah, who manages to make time to do much weeding!).

I know some people are obsessed and/or fascinated by violets, but I only look at them once or twice a year, then move on.

So, I check my ol’ buddy Wikipedia for general reference info on violets, and find out they are more properly referred to as a group as violas (which I thought a musical instrument), and that pansies are a kind of viola-flower. Well, duh, they look like big violets, so I guess that makes a bit of sense, but I’ve also learned that simple large-scale morphological similarities aren’t always enough to indicate close relationships in modern taxonomics….