Leaf Litter: Marking my territory

An orange blaze designating the property line.

As part of a forest land tax reduction, I had to mark the property boundaries and create a 10-year plan for my land. I hired a consulting forester to help assemble the plan and learned a hell of a lot in the process. While I was out doing that, I also planted ramp bulbs and started thinking about how trails will run.

One thing is certain: There will be switchbacks. The land is steep, with the two houses on a ridge that sits like a saddle above two hollows, one south facing, the other north, creating two micro-climates with different trees and conditions. The north-facing hollow has a lot of potential for mushrooms and ramps.

The forester also created some scope creep in my schemes, suggesting that a rope bridge would be awesome over one of the intermittent streams on the property. So I’m thinking about how that will play into my trail system.

Sunny welcomes spring … her hips are in bad shape and she can’t climb, so she can’t descend down into the hollows with me when I go exploring there. Well, more accurately, she can descend. It’s the climb back out that’s beyond her.

I did a little mushroom foraging yesterday. I’m really, really hoping there are a few patches of morels out there, but the soil isn’t warm enough here yet for them to emerge. So I had to settle for elf cups, devil’s urns, and witches’ butter (a jelly fungus), and a few other specimens. Great hike overall.

Elf Cup (sarcoscypha) peeking out of the leaf litter.
Two more elf cups emerging next to a red oak leaf.
Devil’s Urn (urnula craterium)

As I walked the nothern hollow, I was amazed at the poplars there. They shoot skyward on straight trunks that culminate in tight crowns. A few of them cling to the rocky hillside in ways that defy gravity. I found a cluster of three old poplars that stopped me in my tracks. Two of them already are snags, and I think the third is going to join them soon.

Here are a few other photos taken during recent peregrinations …

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