Monday, August 30, 2010


 Monarch Butterfly

Beyond living and dreaming
there is something more important;
waking up.

-Antonio Machada

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Though the prairie is gloriously in bloom right now and will be for the next several months, I felt like heading up into the woods today. Maybe, in this oppressive heat, it was thinking about all that shade under the dense canopy of oaks, beech and maples. Maybe it was the rattlesnake plantain I thought might be in bloom by now. Or maybe it was a gracious, divine prompting, leading me straight to two new discoveries on the property!

As soon as I crossed the pine entrance into the woods, all was a calm, drastic change from the fluttering , hopping and whizzing of things in the prairie. Except for the cicadas hidden and droning in the trees, there seemed to be nothing going on. No longer was it the place I kept coming to in the spring to spot colorful yellow-throated vireos or scarlet tanagers high overhead. Today, all things interesting and beautiful were to be found on the floor of the forest…and almost missed!
Rattlesnake Plantain
The first time I checked on the rattlesnake plantain, one of the 7 orchid species native to Ohio, was in the spring. A small, perennial cluster was just emerging at the base of a tree off the path leading to a place we call, The Woodland Cathedral, and they leaf spread was no more than several inches in diameter. Unfortunately, it didn’t look that much different a few months later. And many of them looked like they had been stepped on, perhaps by deer or some other animal. In fact, I couldn’t find them at first they were so insignificant, but that looking is what lead me to my next exciting find…Indian Pipes! 

Fungi, such as the whitish Indian Pipe, are interesting because they do not use chlorophyll to create nutrients through photosynthesis. They feed off of the nutrients created by decaying organic matter.  Plants like these used to be called saprophytes...but are actually no longer considered plants and have been given the name saprobes.  I also discovered the dried remains of Sqauw Root, another important decomposer…and another “first” for the Prairie Pond Woods species list!
Hard to see but it's dried up Squaw root
From there I was hooked on a quest to see what else might be erupting from the leaf litter…so on I went. Below is a gallery of the phungi photos I took around dusk!

This was quite interesting...
Very ethereal


Turkey tails

Box Turtles love fungi!

The underside...kind of reminds me of coral