Today after church (and after lunch), I grabbed my camera and hiked down the Sandogardy Pond. None of the kids wanted to go, but Penny sure did. We have about a foot of snow on the ground still, but it was raining a little (no wonder they didn’t want to go!). Actually, it only looked like it might rain, but it never did more than spit a little. My hat and coat kept me dry, and I was glad to be doing something outdoors for a change.

Most of that hike is along the road we live on, but then there’s a trail through the woods that I always take. It’s not any shorter, and may in fact be a little longer. But that’s the way I usually go because it avoid us having to walk in front of a house with loose dogs. They bark and threaten, but they seem pretty harmless. Sometimes they come and exchange sniffs with Penny. But just the same, I’d rather avoid the confrontation, and the trail through the woods is generally a lot prettier than walking along the road anyhow.

I was a bit surprised that no snowmobiles had been on that part of the trail yet. It was pretty much virgin snow. I was wearing my hiking shoes too, so the snow filtered in easily enough. Oh well – it was maybe a quarter mile to the next trail where the snowmobiles had been.

We crossed Sandogardy Road, and I let go of the leash. Penny will stick around as long as there are sticks around. I threw plenty of them, and she dutifully retrieved them. Here are some of the photos I took:

Foliose Lichen

Foliose Lichen


The foliose lichen is on the right. That’s a fruticose lichen on the left. Other than the conifers, lichen was the only green thing in sight, and there was plenty of it. I noted that most of the branches that had been torn from their trees during our ice storm this month were lichen-covered. The lichen was there before the storm. I don’t know if the lichen attacks weakened branches, or if it weakens them in the first place.
Alder Cones

Alder Cones


These little cones grow on alder trees and they do contain the plant’s seeds. The alder is a deciduous tree, so it’s a little odd that it has cones. I don’t know of another cone-bearing deciduous plant, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

Creek draining Sandogardy Pond

Creek draining Sandogardy Pond

We walked around the edge of the pond (throwing sticks), and then hooked up with the trail that runs along the creek that drains the pond.

I also took this shot of… a fungus? I’m not sure if this is a fungus or a lichen. It’s prolly safe to call it a fungus since lichens are a symbiotic relationship between a fungal species and an algae. But I thought it looked cool. There was a lot of this too, and I saw that it was growing only on the underside of tree branches.

Fungi on the underside of a branch

Fungi on the underside of a branch

Soon we came back to cross Sandogardy Road again, so I picked up the leash. Penny missed her freedom. I decided to brave walking along the road this time, as the untrodden snow really was a bit too much for my low cut hiking shoes. The dogs barked, but they stayed put. When we got close to the house I took the leash off. Penny associates the leash with free passage over the invisible fence, and without it, I wasn’t sure she’d want to cross the line. But she did. On the way up the driveway I checked that the gutter heaters were doing there job and found that they were. I do need another 30 feet or so on the back of the house. The last 10 feet of gutter plus twenty feet of downspout are icing up. The eaves are fine though, and that was the main reason for putting the heaters up there.

After all that, I forgot to take a nap.

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