Interrupted Fern posting. . .

If you haven’t already, please check out my Interrupted Fern guest blogger post on Mon@rch’s Nature Blog!

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And please stay tuned there for his other guest bloggers. I’m really looking forward to their posts.

Thanks again, Mon@rch for allowing me to post about this wonderful fern on your excellent blog!

P.S. I turned off comments on this post only, not because I don’t want to hear from you (I do!), but so any comments you would like to make can go on Mon@rch’s blog.

Flicker

Jayne asked me to “come out and play” so I thought I’d pop my head up for a minute and post a Flicker I saw last week eating ants in my lawn. Photos aren’t that good because she was far out in the lawn. I figure it’s a she because I don’t see the little black mustache in the photo!

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And here’s her pretty backside:

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I apologize for taking a blogging break, and a commenting on your wonderful blogs break, but I will be back soon!! I promise!

I’ll leave you with this gazing ball that’s in my Mom’s fern garden. I love how it shows her Sycamore tree!

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Watkins Glen State Park

Yesterday we went to Watkins Glen State Park to hike up the many falls until we reached the top. This is where we started, at the bottom, where this water eventually makes it way into Seneca Lake.

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And when I turned around, I saw the beginning of the awesome sites we were about to see:

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We started out on the Gorge Trail, and as we climbed to the first bridge, we saw the first waterfalls which is at the bottom of a series of waterfalls that fall in steps. This waterfall is really cool because the water goes through the narrow curves really fast:

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The stone walls drip with water and are covered with all kinds of plants, including liverwort! Excuse my excitement, I’ve never seen liverwort in person that I know of:

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I absolutely love how the water has cut through the rock in this next photo:

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And speaking of love, my heart belongs to. . .

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Is that awesome how the water has cut the rock into a heart shape! This is at the foot of the next waterfall:

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At the next waterfall, which we walked behind (but no pics because my camera doesn’t know how to swim), the early morning sun was shining on the water just right for us to see a rainbow – see it?

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Once we walked behind this waterfall:

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We had to climb up the spiral tunnel staircase built within the rock wall. We saw tons and tons of ferns, including Maidenhair Spleenwort (another favorite of mine):

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Trees were hanging on the sides with their roots for dear life:

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The wildflowers were gorgeous:

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The roses smelled wonderful:

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Check this out! These ripples on the walkway were actually ripples of sand at the bottom of an ancient sea!

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They also are in the streambed:

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There’s lots of moss along the stone walls. Here’s an interesting one that’s a little longer than the rest I saw there:

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Here’s the next waterfalls we encountered:

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This is the same waterfalls looking down from the stone bridge:

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At this point there are several pools, called the Glen of Pools, such as this one. Oh my, I could have dove right in the water looked sooo refreshing!

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The next waterfalls we saw are the Rainbow Falls. You have to be there just at the right time of day to see a rainbow here. What I love here is the waterfall coming down the side of the wall, too:

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Here’s a better view of the waterfall coming down the side of the rock wall:

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Oh, and now we saw the wall full of ferns. I’ve never seen so many ferns like this on a rock wall!

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There are several fractures, or joints, along the rock walls:

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These joints were caused by a great continental collision between North America and Africa three million years ago that pushed up the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania and the Allegheny Plateau, a large area that includes the Finger Lakes region. The tremendous pressure of the continental collision fractured the rocks of Watkins Glen and the rest of southern New York State and lifted the land up.

Here’s another pool which I think is really cool:

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Here’s another waterfall we encountered.

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Looking back once at the top of the waterfall, we saw more beautiful curves of the watercut stone:

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And after climbing all of the stairs (I’ve heard there are 800 stairs on this trail), we decided to go the top along the Indian Trail:

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The thing I like about the Indian trail are no stairs! We climbed up and down trails. Here’s where we tested out my hiking / trekking poles for the first time. My brother suggested that my Mom buy a pair since they’re going hiking in Yosemite, so she wanted to try them. She took off like a bat out of hell going up a hill with them, so I had to try them out, and I took off. They really work!

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On Indian Trail we saw an interpretive sign that said it takes 25 years for the water we saw here in the glen to make its way out to the Atlantic Ocean! That blew our minds.

We also saw many different species of trees, including Chestnut Oak.

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At this overlook on Indian Trail, we had come down the hill a ways, but still, I took a photo of the same hill as I show in the first photo, and you can see we were up and far into the glen quite a ways!

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Here’s another one of those faults (joints) I mentioned earlier:

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And another view of the first waterfalls.

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I took a ton of photos, and what I’ve shown you are just a few of them. I hope you enjoyed them, and I hope you can make it to Watkins Glen someday! It was very refreshing to breathe in the fresh air there, and to smell wonderful smells of wet dirt and water.

Last Week’s (and some of this week’s) Plants in Bloom

Remember last week I forgot my camera when I went to my Mom’s house, but I used her camera, and finally brought the photos home. Okay, so last week the Quince flowers were open:

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And the rhododendrons were beautiful (the heat killed the blossoms way too fast this year):

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And the azaleas (same deal with the blossoms and the heat):

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And gaznia, which the woodchucks promptly ate (grrrr):

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And Solomon’s Seal (I wanted a macro of these, but I didn’t use Mom’s camera right to get a good macro):

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And this week, I started taking photos and then it started raining so I didn’t get to finish. Here’s some flowers from the Weigela shrub. The first one has a little bee inside:

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The beautiful German Iris we planted last fall are starting to blossom:

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I enjoy iris buds, too:

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A different view of some of the ferns:

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And then the storm hit (wind and rain):

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As I was planting seeds this damselfly was flitting about, making it really hard to get a good photo – this was the best I could do:

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What I Do When I Have a STUPID Day. . .

what else, instead of hiding under the covers and praying for a quick end to the day, but to go for a walk in the woods! And that’s just what I did. After a stupid day at work. Stupid stupid stupid. Stupid. Stupid. There, now on to my walk. I went to 1000 Acre Swamp. I’ll be searching out other woods, because swamp = mosquitoes, and how the heck am I supposed to get decent photos with them sucking my very life’s blood out of my body.

Anyway, I came home from stupid (yes I really do appreciate having a job) and ate an early, quick dinner, and headed out to the swamp/woods. I felt an instant serge of peace and energy flow through me as I walked down this path to the swamp / woods.

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I saw buttercups, and columbine. This one was being shy, but I love the purple.

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And fleabane, which looks white in this photo, but it’s actually a very light purple:

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As I started walking on the boardwalk,

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I heard the frogs rebel and hop into the water. Someone’s looking at you!

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I love these cinnamon ferns on this log in the middle of the swamp:

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and this little island with the reflection of the blue sky on the water, and the sunlight:

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Christmas Fern:

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I love this photo of the boardwalk. I set the camera darker than it really was. Don’t know why I did that, I just felt like it.

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There was a bird here, a lifer too, one beautiful bird. I sooo need a quicker camera.

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And a fern I didn’t id:

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Lots of fungus on a log:

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I saw a jack-in-the-pulpit. Sorry, I wasn’t in the mood to get down in the mud to photograph “Jack.”

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Another fern I didn’t id:

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It was at this point that I started seeing leaves of three all over the place. Nooooo, I won’t be taking any more walks in this swamp for now. I am not going to get poison ivy again this summer if I can help it.

And then I saw the partly fallen tree that goes over the path I had to walk on. I forgot about that, too. It makes me VERY uncomfortable to walk under it. All I need is to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak.

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Ohhh, rocks, but nothing like what I saw at ASP last Saturday.

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Okay, so I’ve been waiting very patiently to show you this. Remember the tree on Trillium Trail that looks like it’s running away from its issues?

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It.

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Has.

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Leaves!! And it’s a maple.

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How awesome is that!

All in all, what a peaceful end to a, ummm, what kind of day was that again?

A 65,000 Acre Backyard

What does one do with a 65,000 acre backyard? Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Mon@rch (Tom) and experiencing first-hand some of what he does in his *huge* backyard! We hiked to many very interesting places. First we went to an old growth forest, where he taught me so much more about old growth forests, so now I hopefully can spot one when I’m in one! One of the many signs are the mounds created from fallen trees. Saplings grow on this rich soil, eventually this soil is washed away, and this is an example of what is left:

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And this:

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You will also see buttress roots on the older trees, like this:

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Another sign is when you look up a tree there are no branches down low. You have to look up at the canopy to see the leaves of the trees, like this:

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The old trees will be nice and straight, like the one above and this one:

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(are you getting than I’m in heaven here with all of these trees and learning!)

You’ll see newly fallen over trees, which leave a huge hole in the canopy. The saplings that have been waiting for this opportunity start growing, and eventually the strongest sapling(s) win.

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You see a variety of trees in the area. One of the trees that I was really surprised to see (and I didn’t capture a photo of) is a HUGE cucumber magnolia tree!

On the way down and back up the old ski slope we saw lots of interrupted fern:

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And Mayapple:

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along with a large variety of other vegetation, including club moss, that I didn’t capture (I know, well, I’ll just have to go back, won’t I?)

Next, Mon@rch took me to see a 200 year old Sugar Maple tree. Mon@rch showed you his up-tree photo, so I’ll show you other views:

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Check out these buttress roots. Aren’t they gorgeous!

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I love the rocks laying all over the place. Makes it hard to walk through a field of rocks like this, but I still think they’re wonderful:

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Next we saw Bridal Veil Falls, but it was raining so we didn’t bring the cameras there. Hopefully I can take photos another time!

Next stop was at Thunder Rocks. Are you getting the theme, I love trees, flowers and rocks, and of course, birds! Rock polypody grows on these boulders, along with moss, lichens, trees, etc.:

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And a tree that looks like it’s sitting up down on this boulder:

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Next we went to France Brook and saw a beaver:

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And when it got scared it disappeared under the water and didn’t show up again. We also saw a pair of grackles removing fecal sacks from the cavity of a dead tree. Here’s a beaver dam in a pond down further:

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While Mon@rch was talking on his cell ordering us some food, I took photos of the Administration Building:

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And the bridge at Red House lake:

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Then we went up to Stone Tower:

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This is the view from the top looking north:

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There is an arrow in the stones pointing to (magnetic?) north:

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And here’s the view looking southwest:

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If the trees weren’t there we could have seen Red House lake!

We stopped to see a ton of Blue Cohosh, a favorite herb of mine!

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Then we went up to the top of another hill with a restaurant on it and took some photos of the view:

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After that we headed for the store for (vegeterian – thanks Mon@rch) pizza, and met Grace who is the naturalist at Allegany State Park and does the ASP blog here.

If anyone wonders why I love New York State, this park is a fine example of why I think NYS is one of the most beautiful places to live! Many, many thanks to Mon@rch for the wonderful day of learning and hiking!

This Week’s Plants in Bloom

Mom and I were going to go to the Lilac Festival last week, but the day we picked to go it was all of 50 degrees, so we’ll go to the park this week or next to see what’s in bloom there. For now, here’s some more of what’s in bloom this week at my Mom’s gardens, starting with one of her lilac shrubs, which smells as good as it looks:

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Her little irises are in bloom and beautiful:

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Her one rhododendron is in full bloom:

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While another one is just starting to bloom:

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The quince tree is just starting to come into blossom, maybe this weekend they’ll be out in full force:

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It’s been fun watching the ferns unfurl over the last couple of weeks:

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Even though the sun wasn’t shining the day I took these photos (Sunday) it is today, and I also “wrote” another haiku in my sleep about my Dad:

Sunny skies
Beautiful days without you
Life goes on

Hmmm, that wasn’t it exactly, drats, you know, I need to write them down as soon as I think of them.  It is in the ballpark, though.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful week, wherever you are!

In Search of The Sweet Smell of Dirt

After reading Julie’s post about her visit to the conservatory in Pittsburgh, I really got an intense craving for the smell of dirt and the wonderful feel of conservatory humidity. When you live in an area that feels like the artic at times, you really get to missing the smell of dirt. My soils professor would have a cow that I call it dirt instead of soil. But that’s what it is to me. Dirt. I dig in the dirt. I don’t dig in the soil. La te da to calling it soil.

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I went to the Lamberton Conservatory to smell and see dirt and plants and color, and to feel high humidity to get warm. Real warm. Sweaty warm. It was all good. I didn’t remove any layers of clothing, it felt so good to revel in the heat.

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And to play with my camera. I won’t blog about that now because I have to figure out what I did and didn’t do right. Or should I say what I like and don’t like!
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Everything I saw soothed my soul.
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The water features provided great opportunities for movies. There were more water feature movies I took, but they turned out very loud!


Click To Play


Click To Play

Here’s the turtle statue in the first water feature.

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Across from the turtle in the water – a bird “house!”

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With the sweetest little birds. Here’s one for you:

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I love epiphytes, ferns, orchids and plants from other countries (inside conservatories for the exotics is okay to me).

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A Brazilian tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) that looks like an octopus.

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A fern.

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Flowers way up high:

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Bananas anyone?

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Close-up of the banana flower:

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I love the leaf of the Cut-Leaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa). It looks like it would survive a nasty wind storm. It has an interesting latin name, too!

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A peaceful place to sit and enjoy the plants:

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Cute Bunny-Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys) for all of the bunny lovers:

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Outside the Lamberton Conservatory.

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Lamberton Conservatory is located in Highland Park, which is known world wide for its Lilac Festival which occurs in May. And, I just remembered – there’s a castle with a sunken garden in the park!!!!!! Woo Hoo!!! I’ll be going back there soon!

My Favorite Little Christmas Tree. . .

isn’t a tree at all, but a Club Moss called Northern Tree Club Moss, Lycopodium dendroideum. I *love* this little plant. Thanks to Mon@rch for reminding me of this little plant. It grows 12-16″ tall, resides in moist, shaded woods, northern hardwood woods, edges of wetlands, and bogs. It has 6-8 leaves in a whorl.
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Here’s a photo showing its’ roots – I got these two photos from the Internet:

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In New York State, Northern Tree Clubmoss is labelled as exploitably vulnerable – meaning it is threatened and endangered. This is *very* important to me. So important that when I was taking a class in Silverculture and the old man professor said they sprayed a general herbicide on the forest floor to get rid of all of the plant life so the young trees could grow, and the forest floor I was standing in was literally covered with rare clubmoss and ferns, I wasn’t happy. I asked the professor about the rare plants to which he replied, hmmm, good point, and then I dropped the class when I got back on campus. I know, I know, the point in a silverculture class is the culture of trees and not all of that “unimportant” understory stuff. My first clue to the fact that these forestry students I was taking this class with didn’t care about the understory was when I saw them stomping all over the clubmosses and ferns. I really couldn’t take it. Here is one of the many photos they took on that day. We were in Heiberg Memorial Forest on August 31, 2005, it was raining very hard all day – this was during Huricane Katrina. This was an awesome, man planted forest. I loved being in this forest, but, well, it wasn’t meant to be.
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I’m the one in the white hardhat, yellow jacket and blue pants – soaked to the skin even with all of the rain gear.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Day!

Fern Field Guides

Lynne of Hasty Brook asked me if I had any favorite Fern Field Guides. I do! My favorite for my area is Fern Finder, by Anne and Barbara Hallowell.

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I also like Peterson’s Field Guide to Ferns:

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(Cover images from Amazon)

I have a couple others I like, but I can’t put my fingers on them right away. What is/are your favorite Fern Field Guide(s)?