Image #139 – Carnival Candy Slime

Image #139

Like Halloween caviar, the Carnival Candy Slime fungi brightens the base of a rotting tree in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Carnival Candy Slime!!!  Where do these mushroom specialists come up with these names??  Its Latin name is Arcyria denudata.  I may not have it correctly identified and encourage any slime lovers out there to set me straight if I have the name wrong.  A truly spectacular growth, whatever its name might be. ☙

#97 – A Parasol for a Warm Day

Image #97

Still in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest — land of giant, ancient trees that pre-date the very existence of this wonderful land we call home. Tucked under a crevice, near some ivy and not far from a bubbling brook the delicate and exquisite parasol mushroom presents itself…for a day, a week?  The blink of an eye when you stop and look at the trees around you. But does that diminish its beauty?  Not at all.  As a wise person once observed, “It’s not how much time you have but what you do with it.” ☙

Image #94 – Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

Image #94(a)

“I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree”.  They are verses from my childhood.  The poetry of Joyce Kilmer, or at least his poem “Trees”, was a mainstay of my youth. Last week I had the good fortune to visit a forest that is named in his honor. The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is tucked away in the very corner of western North Carolina. It has some of the last virgin forest growth on the east coast.

It is, simply, magnificent.

From the website:

A walk through Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is a journey back in time through a magnificent forest with towering trees as old as 400 years. Some enormous yellow-poplars are over 20 feet in circumference and stand 100 feet tall. The floor is carpeted with a garden of wildflowers, ferns, and moss-covered logs from fallen giants.

The only way to see the impressive memorial forest is on foot. The figure-eight Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail covers 2 miles and has two loops: the 1¼-mile lower loop passes the Joyce Kilmer Memorial plaque, and the upper ¾-mile loop swings through Poplar Cove, a grove of the largest trees. 

We enjoyed the full two-mile hike and look forward to returning. It is the kind of place that will never be the same, no matter how often you visit. Even Tango was amazed.  Image #94

For the next couple of blogs I will share images from the Kilmer Forest. Not all of its wonders are gigantic. Many are small and captivating.  All are wonderful.☙

Image #88 – The Swarm

Image #88Autumn is close at hand. Migrations and changes have begun. Yesterday a neighbor called to ask if I was being over-run by starlings. Her deck, with its many feeders, was covered with starlings–young, adult, old, they all vied to get as much feed as they could before flying away. Birds migrate mostly at night, using the stars for navigation. So these starlings were “packing on the carbs” before the night’s flight.

A few starlings visited me but my swarm was quite different. It was bees!  Hundreds of bees had found their way to my hummingbird feeder and drained it dry. There were so many bees that the birds were intimidated and perhaps even stung. They would fly in, furtively, grab a quick mouth of seed and fly away with bees on their tails.  The bees massed in great numbers on the hummingbird feeder and some even climbed into the feeder through a feeding hole that had lost its tiny plastic “flower” which narrows down the opening, drowning themselves in the process and making quite a mess.  You can see them in this picture, bunched at the top of the liquid.

I was puzzled as to why they had suddenly decided to descend on a feeder that has been in place for two months. The answer presented itself today.

A short distance from the hill on which I live is a small business that specializes in erosion control and surveying properties. The owner also has bee hives which he put out in a field last May during my visit. In the past couple of days the number of beehives has increased dramatically and so has the activity at the business during the night. The annoying beep-beep-beep of a lift backing up has pierced the night, disrupting the sleep for many of us here on Fawn Hill. We could not imagine what this company was doing in its work from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. but today, as we drove by the place returning from a delightful day trip to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest we noticed that the number of hives has increased tremendously. They line the driveway and stretch onto the fields. Suddenly it all became clear. The bee hive keeper was collecting his flock, preparing it for a move south. Hence the bee population in this neighborhood has skyrocketed and they are going for whatever they can find eat.

Just another part of the cycle. I’ve been told I need a special feeder that has holes so small that only hummingbirds with their small proboscis can access them. I’ll make that investment and, next year, the hummers will have two feeders until the bees return in August. Then we’ll put away the feeder that calls many to their death.  Just part of the learning process here on Fawn Hill and, after all, life is for learning. ☙

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