Jan 28– spring in winter

Yesterday, the cold snap broke– balmy and 40 degrees.  I wanted to explore the woods but I had to cook.  Last night,  we got some some icy slush for a few hours, then it rained, then it did something sort of in-between. By the time I had taken care of my morning duties, the rain had stopped and the morning was warm and very moist.  So I walked down into the woods below Tupelo and saw:

Oysters are growing again.  It seems like as soon as the temperature gets above freezing, they start fruiting.  The brown one below was growing upside down, cup-shaped, and was frozen solid, filled with snow when I found it.

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The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but this blowdown rootball looked extra spooky with the roots all hanging down with water dripping off of them.Image

Although the trees are still bare, parts of the forest floor are quite verdant.  This moss-covered log was loving the damp day and seemed to glow in the non-sunlight.   The ground cedar provided a bright green understory in places.  Years ago, someone told me that the ground cedar, although plentiful at Twin Oaks, was endangered in the area.  I have since grown skeptical of that claim, but I do see a greater concentration of ground cedar in the woods of Twin Oaks than I have seen anywhere else in Virginia.

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Most interesting, I found what I’m pretty sure is a spring (and I’ve seen a few).  In a low, boggy area below Tupelo, I came across cold, clear water pushing out of some sand.  I think the the ground was so saturated with water, then was frozen for a few days, and now that the ground is thawing out it’s releasing a bunch of water.  So it would make sense that there would be springs like these that only flowed when the ground was really wet.  Now that I know it’s there, I’ll check to see when it’s flowing and when it’s dry.  Not quite the Itchnetucknee, I guess I’ll call it Tupelo Spring.

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