Roses and Red Foxes: Wildlife in Howard County

Wildlife spottings all around Howard County:

Hawk, heron, groundhog, and rabbit spottings are in abundance now. Deer and chipmunk spottings are increasing.

Dayton, MD:

I saw a red fox at my grandpa’s house.

Centennial Lake:

Lots of rabbits, a deer, a groundhog, a great blue heron, and a chipmunk were spotted on Monday the 10th. I also saw a baby turtle but it swam into a murky spot before I could get a picture.

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WILD FLOWER SPOTTINGS:

Centennial Lake
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Roses: Pics From Grandpa’s House

The following are plants from my grandpa’s house from mid May.

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His azaleas were past their peak, but still not too bad looking.

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I missed the peak days for his poppies too but he had one or two still hanging in there strong

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Looks at these beauties! Are they big and beautiful! They were growing on the stump of a tree my grandpa chopped down.

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I don’t know what kind of flower this is but it’s a sweet little thing. My grandpa cut most of them down unfortunately.

Roses: Backyard Wild Flowers – Year Two

Last year I planted wildflower seeds in my backyard, my first contribution to the “garden”. Stalks sprouted but that was the extent of growth last year. THIS year however has grown much better results. The following pictures are from the last few weeks as that part of the backyard has progressed. Some of the pictures are through the kitchen window because for a little while we had a mud wasp nest next to where the window opened up. Todays picture is from the other side of the window because I didn’t think to take it while I planted ANOTHER section of wildflowers and I was just too hot to feel like going back out again. lol.

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First signs we noticed of wildflowers coming up. Just one white one and a half white, half pink one.

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The next time we looked there were four bunches of flowers: two white, one half white and half pink, and one all pink

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Close up looks of the flowers

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Todays photo with two bunches of pink flowers, two of white, and still only one of the half pink half white ones.

Favorite Local Places: Maryland Appalachian Trail Section #2 – High Rock to Wolfsville Rd

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These are the photos for my latest Appalachian Trail hike that I took this last Saturday (2/9). A magnetic feild zapped my phone about 10 or 20 minutes into the hike and erased all my battery life, so all but the last two pictures are the only pictures I was able to take. The first four are of High Rock and/or the view from it. There are two pictures of shelter, the top being a new example of one  and the next being an old example. The last picture is of Devil’s Racecourse. Essentially, its a boulder covered stream. Apparently, from what I was told, they were deposited there during the last Ice Age. When you walk across, and as you are descending the slop before you get there by where the old shelter was, you can hear the stream running underneath it. It’s pretty amazing.

There was a poem inscribed on the inside of the old shelter. I copied it down because it’s beautiful and profound. Here it is:

“Be the silence
woo the dream
bear the thought
become the thing”

I don’t know if the person who scrawled in on the shelter wrote it or if it was already an existing poem. Let me know if you have heard or seen it before.

I injured my knee on this hike. Funny how I keep injuring myself on hikes, this and the last one (which was my first hike). I guess that as I keep on hiking, I will stop accumalating injuries, at least I hope so.

I also collected a few rocks on this hike too. I will take pictures and post them soon.

Oh, to reiterate from what I said in my last post abotu hiking the Appalachian Trail: I went hiking with a group of people through Howard County Parks and Recreation. It cost $17, and they drive you  just about all the way there and back. I hope my bad luck with injury does not keep you from trying this amazing experience. I was the only one out of 24 to get injured the last time (1/12) and the only one out of 17 to get injured this time. Howa

Photo Source for Old Shelter: http://www.cnyhiking.com/ATinMD-HighRock.htm

Photo Source for Devils Racecourse: http://www.meretrix.com/~harry/images/at07/

Favorite Local Places: Appalachian Trail Section #3 – Wolfsville Rd to Route 40

On January 12th, I started my attempt to hike the all the Maryland Appalachian Trail Hikes (offered through Howard County Recreation and Parks). The first one offered was Section #3. February 9th is Section #2 and in March will be #1. There are 7 sections I think. Either way, by the end of the year, I hope to finish them all. If I do, in a three year time span, I earn a patch. I earn a 100 mile patch if I accumalate another 60 odd miles on Virginia and Pennsylvania trail sections offered through Howard County Recreations and Parks. I hope to get both, though that won’t be easy if I transfer where I’m planning to transfer (as of last fall – UNLV). It was (is) January so the landscape was drawn in browns, whites, and the pale blue of the sky. It was also incredibly misty/foggy so when we reached a summit to look out over, the distant line of mountains was nearly invisible as was almost half the view. The mountains in the distance, when you could any of it, was merely a dark blue line tracing the horizon, weaving in and out of fog. I highly suggest hiking the section though I’m sure it looks much prettier in the spring, summer, or fall. It’s 8.4 miles and begins with a steep hike up, which was a bit dangerous when I went with the snow on the ground, hiding rocks everywhere. It’s moderately difficult terrain and I suffered some foot injuries so make sure to tie your boots tie, expect stumbling on some rocks if you want to look away from the ground, and don’t go if you can’t or don’t think you’re ready for an 8.4 mile hike. It was tough, even for the four youngest people there (I am included). Most were 40 and above with some late 20 and 30 year olds there. I fell back on the second half or so till I was the last while the 3 other youngest ones were at the front. Like I said, I was at the back and I’m 21, turning 22 on the 29th. Age means little, it’s your health and fitness that make a difference. When I jogged at Centennial Lake, I always got lapped by joggers and runners older than me, some surely into their 60’s and 70’s.

I hope you look check into going on these trail sections. We go in groups and you drive to the park n ride in Long Gate (Ellicott City) where we take a van the rest of the way to the starting point. It’s $17 to $20 and you do have to bring your own snacks and lunch. They start in the morning (8am) and end in the middle of the afternoon (4pm or later depending on traffic and other complications of the sort). Plus, we stop for ice cream at Baskin Robbins on the way back. 🙂

Unfortunately, my pictures are a bit worse than usual. I wasn’t thinking about how hard I had sweat and that it was getting on the camera lens and I had forgot to extra clean the lens before embarking leaving the house. Sorry.

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Book Reviews: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver

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This book, title and authors in Post Title, is absolutely amazing. It’s about a family spending one year deciding to eat nothing but local food, whether from the farmer’s market or from the farm land on the farm they move to. It includes miles of information on currant environmental issues, information about the food we do and can eat and where it comes from, helpful hints and handy information on gardening/farming and raising livestock, and best of all it also includes recipes. The diversity of the information provided, coupled with humor as well, is what I love about this book. It’s not just informational, like a textbook, but ties it into a real story.

Description from the inside jackets of the book and copy and pasted from Goodreads.com.

“Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

“As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain.

“Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel. . . .”

Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that’s better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

“This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air.”

A librarian reccomended it to me and I now reccomend it to you. I thuroughly hope you enjoy and love this book as much as I did and reccomend it to your friends too!

Roses: Squash Plant Clippings

So, there is thing garden plot outside my front door that used to be maintained by a woman a few doors down. She planted flowers and other plants (not vegetables or food plants) in there for years, ever since I can remember. It was last year or the year before that the people who run the neighborhood had the people who cut the grass and other stuff dig everything up out of the garden plot and dig up the plants in some people’s yards. We don’t know and there really isn’t any reasonable explanation for why they did it. They put in a few common and cheap flowers in there but mostly mulch.

This year though, this vine like plant with huge leaves came up (early in the spring). It grew fast and soon we noticed these orange flowers after awhile. My mom called them squash blossoms and sure enough, somehow, it was a squash plant. No one in the neighborhood grew it, heck, you’d be lucky if half the people in my neighborhood recognized a zucchini if they saw one. It grew and grew and grew and at one point, the mailman was scared of it, having the idea that maybe one day when he went to put the mail in the mailbox that it would grab him, pull him into the thickest part, and eat him. We kept seeing flowers, but no squash. No bees on the flowers either. One day, my mom had the idea to fertilize the flowers with each other so my dad brought a couple of the flowers together, shaking the pollen into each other. Voila, not a whole lot later, maybe a couple weeks, we noticed that squashes had started to grow! So, I decided to snap a few pieces of the vine and me and my dad put them in containers of water so they would sprout and we could have our own squash plant. My parents think it’s pumpkin but I’m going more for acorn squash. Anyway, it must have been a bird that started this all (having eaten a seed and pooped it or dropped it in the garden plot). My aunt says a tomato plant mysteriously started growing one year in her backyard thinking it was most likely a bird too. Yay for birds!