Mostly we see large flocks of invasive starlings in winter. Sometimes, though, an occasional hawk or group of vultures passes through. Such was the case during my nature walk early in January. The sky was so blue and cloudless.
I went for a long walk in mid-fall this year. Around the same time, a pair of fawns were also going for a stroll! I was lucky and took several pictures of them. At one point, one of them was walking right towards me so I had to back up (be respectful and keep your distance from wildlife!) It was a beautiful day and I got some lovely pictures of the deer.
Another image from the recent dreary weather. This was taken during what is normally one of the brightest times of the day.
On another walk, earlier in fall before all of the leaves had turned and fallen, I spotted this young oak. This is a particular breed of oak tree that grows in swamps. Supposedly, its roots are shallow and so the tree is more likely to fall over in a storm. I think that the leaves on this sapling are most interesting shapes, as they have a slight rippled texture to them that I believe was from the harsh summer we experienced.
Along one of the places I walk, there are some wild American persimmon trees. These persimmons are different than the ones you see at the grocery store, which are Japanese persimmons, generally. American persimmons are smaller, about the size of a ping pong ball, and a much more muted orange color, like the color of pumpkin butter. T The alligator bark on the very tall but somewhat thin trees is unmistakable. Persimmons grow way up high, so you’ll have to pick yours off the ground.
They are ripe when they look overripe- when they are so soft and squishy that their skin wrinkles slightly and splits or squishes easily when touched. You’ll think that you’ve gotten to them too late, but that’s exactly when a persimmon has reached its perfection. They have a texture like homemade jam or over-evaporated fruit butter- not solid and very thick without exactly being a liquid. There are about 4-6 seeds in each fruit, and they are large and easy to pick out while eating.
There are many things that a persimmon can be made into, however, I’ve only eaten them raw so far. I took a very small harvest this year, dodging drunk wasps who also feast on the (slightly fermented) fruits. These persimmons were delicious.
Here is a sycamore tree from one of my walks. Sycamore wood isn’t great for firewood, nor carving, for it is weak, however, it is a faster-growing shade tree and therefore a popular landscaping choice in some areas. This can be a problem as it frequently sheds its weak branches in storms! As unhelpful as it may be for practical purposes, I still am fascinated by the patterns you find on sycamore bark. It’s almost like camo print, and I’m sure that a camo print based off this bark would be quite effective. The tree produces a ball seed pod almost like a sweet gum tree, but the way you tell the difference is that sweet gum pods are painfully spiky whereas sycamore pods are more soft, and you can crush a sycamore pod easily in one hand.