The past three days have featured some glorious weather. I was out in it (for at least a little while) on all three days, but didn’t manage to post anything here until now. So let’s back up and see what’s been happening here.

On Sunday we had a Pathfinder meeting and began constructing our cardboard boat, or rather, boats. We’re going to try building two of them this year, both of them being molded on my canoe and kayak.

Cardboard boat-building begins

Cardboard boat-building begins


Last time we did this (back in 2009), the whole thing was built inside. We didn’t have summer weather in March in 2009. Step one was to wrap my canoe in plastic so we don’t end up gluing a bunch of cardboard to it. I didn’t bother with the kayak, because it’s already plastic, and I don’t think the glue will stick so much to it.
The first layer

The first layer


Then we started wrapping them in cardboard, and tying that down with rope (on the canoe), or duct tape (on the kayak). We’re trying two techniques simultaneously so we can compare results afterwards. That was about as far as we got Sunday. Next week we will continue by gluing cardboard onto the cardboard, until we have four or five layers on there. But I am getting ahead of myself. We’ll talk more about the process as we make progress.

When we got home, Beth and I took a walk through the Northfield Town Forest, the purpose again being to bring the GPS and map out some of the trails. The purpose was also to go for a lovely walk. We succeeded on both points.

We hiked the trail that includes this bridge over Little Cohas Brook (as I call it).

Penny crosses the bridge!

Penny crosses the bridge!


As you can see from this photo, Penny went right over the bridge. This is a first for her. In the past she has been terrified of this bridge, far preferring to swim the brook even when it is choked in ice. I have tried pulling on her leash to get her to cross and I’ve even carried her over more than once (when I thought the chill of the brook would likely kill her before we got home again). But today, she just trotted across. This photo is actually showing her crossing the bridge on the return trip. She was acting like it was no big deal, but that is not at all how she has acted in the past. It’s nice to see she has overcome her terror.

The town forest abuts Sandogardy Pond, and some of the trails lead to the beach. So of course, we found ourselves there in our quest to map the trails. It’s still iced over.

Sandogardy Pond, still iced over

Sandogardy Pond, still iced over


Penny’s nonchalant crossing of the bridge has nothing to do her fear of hypothermia. As soon as we got to a place along the beach with open water, she plopped herself right down in it and drank. Dogs are insane. I didn’t manage to get a picture of that though.

When I got home, I uploaded the GPX file recorded by my GPS and traced out the trails. Now the trails through the town forest are completely mapped (on OpenStreetMaps anyhow).

When we got back to the house, I went into my front woods looking for the pile of slime mold I posted last time. It was nowhere to be seen, so by that, I assume it really was a slime mold. They look like fungi, but unlike fungi, they move.

That takes us to Monday. I had Va bring Beth to my office after school so we could collect some seeds. She needs 15 different species. We had collected several on our walk Sunday, but she still needed some more. When she arrived, we did my normal lunchtime walk. The advantage of having phenology as a hobby is that I have memorized the id’s of several plants along that path – and I can now recognize them even from the dead stalks that are still standing.

Collecting Seeds

Collecting Seeds


Here she is collecting some hawthorn berries. The seeds are inside. We also grabbed a horse chestnut, some common yarrow, rose, cherry, black locust, round-headed bush clover, maple, and an oak-leaved hydrangea. There were three others too, but I can’t remember what they were at this point.

We both stopped and photographed some crocuses before heading back to the office.

Crocus

Crocus

That brings us up to today, the first day of Spring (or was that yesterday?) I took a nice walk around my woods when I got home. Rather than sticking to my path, I zig-zagged all over the place to see what I could find that would be different. I found what I think is a patch of pyrola.

Pyrola?

Pyrola?


This stuff grows in my woods, but I have not been able to put a species name on it yet. Pyrola’s are pretty difficult to distinguish (at least for me). They are an evergreen though, and I’ve found that the evergreens in my woods are really starting to green up. Here’s another example:
Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)


Trailing arbutus is among the first plants to flower in my woods, but that’s still several weeks away.

I also found two piles of deer sign:

Deer sign

Deer sign


I’ve not seen the perpetrator of this deed, but it’s nice to know they are around. There are a lot fewer deer here in NH as compared to VA. When we lived in VA, I’d see at least a half dozen deer per day. Here I see them about once per year. That makes them special for me again, which is a nice change.

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