Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wood Pile Adventures

Just a few minutes after deciding I would reactivate this blog, a beautiful blue beetle emerged from the cedar I was splitting for kindling.  It was as if it knew it would soon be on stage.  I gathered up several pieces of the pecky cedar, a kind of Wabi Sabi exhibit, and the beetle herself, and brought them indoors to my studio, also known as my dining room table.  The stick on the left shows a typical habitat where beetles spend the winter, and I'm sure my beetle barely escaped the axe to land on the chopping block intact, but dormant.  I thought it might be dead, but after a few minutes indoors it started crawling around.  Very satisfying to watch.
 Here the beetle is crawling on a cedar stick that shows the slime mold or other fungus that does the work of turning cedar into an art form.
 There are several California Black Oaks right next to my wood-splitting area, and the trunk on this one has "come alive" since the recent warm rains.  How many species can you spot in this photo? The subject chosen was the slug, but much more was revealed once I viewed the photo on my computer screen.  Click on the photo for a closer view and more detail.  The fruticose lichens to the left of the slug were a particularly nice surprise.
 Another slug on the ground at the base of the tree seemed at home among the filaments of slime mold and fir needles.  And you thought "slugfest" was a name for a high-scoring baseball game.
 After spending time beneath the surface during the recent snow storms, the large earthworms have returned to the surface to hang out beneath the boards I leave around for that purpose.  You can see the outline of the board.  I always replace it after taking pictures because something new is likely to be there each morning until freezing weather drives them underground again.
This was the first critter to emerge from the woodpile at daybreak.  It was still so dark that I had trouble focusing so the head and antennae are a bit blurry.  When I saw she was still pretty sleepy I went to the house to retrieve my camera.  After taking a few shots I was hooked then gathered all the above photos and more before getting the blog started again.  Then I went back to splitting firewood and feeling life was back to normal.

If you're in the area (of Quincy, CA) I invite you to the Plumas County Museum where I have a show of 36 nature photos with accompanying natural history notes running through December.  The museum is now open Wednesdays through Saturdays.   I also have a display on the theme of nature journaling in the Plumas County Library - main branch in Quincy - and two framed photos and photo greeting cards available at the Main Street Artists gallery on Main Street.

Watch for an announcement of my next class in Adventures in Nature Journaling, offered through Feather River College, probably beginning in late January or early February.

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