Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A walk in the woods

The other day it was hot and I figured the dogs would love to roam in our neighbour's wood lot.

Here's Bliss as we start out - he thinks he smells something.

The dogs usually end up running around until they are completely dragged out and finally walk quietly behind or beside me on the final few minutes. Though Bliss sometimes runs off to find the creek where there is water before I can get him back in the car.

I often pull up garlic mustard weed as I walk, my way of saying thank you to the owner of the property. Garlic mustard is very invasive and is taking over some spots in this bush lot.

Spirit has already been running- his tongue is hanging out - black and a bit heavier than Bliss, he often seems to feel the heat more. Of course he moves around less quickly than Bliss as well - calmer in some respects, but a worrier.

Their personalities are very evident when we walk. Spirit races off first, Bliss follows, but then Spirit checks back first as well, and often returns to me quicker than Bliss who once he's in full hunt mode as he became this day, will not come back until he figures he's done the job he is meant to do, chase something till it can't run any more or has escaped.

You can sort of see the path ahead through this mixed bush. Unfortunately a lot of the beech trees - the ones with the smooth grey bark - are dying. Several large ones - there is one wolf tree that must be about six feet in circumference - are dropping limbs like leaves in fall unfortunately.

This is not a large bush lot, and it has been logged but carefully. There is a lot of understory that is filling in when one of the bigger trees that creates a solid canopy overhead, dies and falls.
A youngish beech - at least thirty feet tall has cracked at its base and fallen over. I thought perhaps someone had started to cut it down but I looked at the stump and it was nature at work. The dogs can go under this tree, I struggle over it.

The disease that affects beech trees most often is beech bark disease, caused by a non-native fungus that creates a canker which allows insects to get in but also allows the fungus to get inside the tree and eventually kill it.

This is such a beautiful piece of wood lot, and the dogs and I enjoy it - other species that are prevalent are sugar maple, ironwood, and a few hemlock - all of the pine has been taken and most of the big maple as well.

The ground in here is covered with all kinds of woodland plants, and in early spring it's filled with red and white trilliums... just beautiful. There are also fawn lily/dog tooth violet, Herb Robert, which is also invasive but very pretty, smells terrible when you pull it, black cohosh, and jack-in-the-pulpit violets to name a few.

This walk ended as so many of them do with a pair of panting hot dogs that find it difficult to even jump inot the back of the car... happy, hot and tired after only 30 minutes. As I said the wood lot isn't very big and I can walk right around it in about 15 minutes at a leisurely pace, but usually dawdle and enjoy the smells, sounds and sights. Soon we'll be walking in the pine bush lot that adjoins this one... even more territory for happy dogs.

Don't you wish some days that our responsibilities were the same as those of our pets? To be companions and not have work in front of us?

And today, all our American friends do have that - well most of them do - Happy Fourth of July to you all. May it be peaceful, happy and filled with great memory-making activities.

1 comment:

  1. A nice walk in the woods with you. It is nice that you share this with your dogs. They love being able to explore! We have severe beech bark disease in our area. It's been years since I've found a tree in this area that has escaped this devastation. Many trees survive to mid age and then perish, much like the tree you observed.