The Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
A member of the pine family, this coniferous species can be identified by its unique qualities -
Prefers growing in cool, moist areas. Often found in gorges along sandstone cliffs where cracks in the rocks release cool air from deep underground. A native from Canada, these trees were brought to the area thousands of years ago when the glaciers moved through the area.
Important resource for food, nesting, and shelter for many animals including - barred owl, white-tailed deer, turkey, grouse, rabbits, porcupines (not around here), and others use as places to live. Squirrels, mice, and voles eat the seeds.
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
"Eastern hemlocks are currently under attack by an exotic sap sucking insect that originated from Asia. The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is a serious pest in Shenandoah National Park that threatens to eliminate all eastern hemlock stands. First observed in 1988, it has since been found in all sections of the park, at all elevations, and on all aspects where surveys have occurred. Hemlock woolly adelgid has caused significant decline in hemlock crown health and tree mortality has increased Park-wide. Without intervention, there is a very real possibility that this insect pest could directly or indirectly eliminate eastern hemlocks from Shenandoah's ecosystem. Efforts to extend the lives of our remaining healthy hemlocks in 2005 will be accomplished through soil and stem treatments with a systemic pesticide that remains at effective levels to kill adelgids for over a year. Some vehicle accessible areas will also be sprayed with an insecticidal soap. The battle to save a lasting remnant of Shenandoah's hemlock gene pool for future generations continues."
Different from the herb poison hemlock (completely different species).
The bark has been cut and used for its tannin to aid in tanning leather.
A combination of my worlds. My nature journal notes and drawings combined with images captured on noted adventure days!
With the warm weather, there has been some slight growth with the early bloomers. These hepatica leaves, though, are from last year's growth - at the base of the cluster is where the new bulbous starts are filling out.
For the past year I've been contemplating how to merge these two mediums. While I'm sure it'll evolve over time I do like where this is going!
Both Noah and I have had the great pleasure to be accepted into the 2nd annual Wayne County Artist Exhibition at the Wayne Center for the Arts!
The show runs through February 7th. We highly encourage you to take some time to visit, there is some spectacular art there!
Those of you familiar with the blog (and if you're here you probably are) will see these two beauties at the art show. I love how framing and printing an image can give it so much depth! Go check it out and you'll see what I mean.
For the WooWeekly paper I gave this description of my work for an excellent article written by Barb Lang:
“For each of my series I dedicate an entire year to getting to know an area, from the natural history and wildlife down to each plant species and when they bloom in that particular year. Once I choose a location I approach each natural area with a deep sense of curiosity, making notes on what birds I see, what plants are emerging, blooming, or seeding, any signs of animals, scents, sights, anything that I find interesting or that I want to learn more about, each time I visit and compile them into blog posts at www.throughthewoods.net .
Each area I’m learning about I chose a view that either has a recognizable element or that I think could have some very notable changes that would be visually appealing throughout the year, I pick a spot and capture an image. Every month when I’m out walking and observing, I will stop in the same spot and capture another image trying to visit at the same time each day. After a year is up I have not only a concise record of observations from each location but also a visual guide telling of the ebb and flow of the year. Each slice may show just one day of one month but put together a rich tapestry is woven, the quiet winter months, the remarkable quickness with which spring arrives and bursts open, summer’s deep greens slowly fading to yellows, fall sweeping in for a brief bold show, all ending again with the peaceful rest of winter.
We are very lucky here in Ohio to have such great seasons, each should be appreciated for all its worth."
"Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection."
There are a few things that happen at the turn of every new year... changing of the calendars, eating sauerkraut and sausage, the first bird of the new year, and our annual new year's day hike.
This year didn't disappoint. For not snowing much so far this winter, it was wonderful to wake up on the morning of the new year with a fresh sparkling layer over everything. After our pork and kraut breakfasts, we bundled up to see what the new year had to offer.
The first bird Noah saw this year was a titmouse, however, my first bird remained illusive - every time I looked at the bushes or feeders at home, not a bird to be spotted. So as we were driving, about halfway to our destination, something stirred up a large flock of starlings from a tree, then just down the road a large red-tailed hawk appeared. I know it's the FIRST bird of the year but after a few more interesting encounters with the red-tails, there's something I need to learn from each of these birds.
If you're into the spiritual significance of birds/animals that appear, read on.
If not, skip down a bit.
So the very first bird was a Starling, this bird is known for traveling in large groups and teaches us, or rather brings awareness to how we behave in large groups and reminds us to pay attention and not behave inappropriately (note the starlings' tendencies to swarm and mob other birds). It also reminds us to mind our words as they are great mimics of others.
- Clearly a lot of good to meditate upon there, especially in such a busy gathering season-
The second bird being the Red Tailed Hawk. The messenger, the protector, and the visionary of the air. This bird can lead you to your life purpose so when it shows up, pay attention.
So on the way to the bog, we saw these birds, and enjoyed a cool crisp walk along the boardwalk, where ours were the only tracks most of the way. Taking the loop off the boardwalk two more hawks appeared, one first soaring between the forest and the field singing its song, then another appeared and they flew together side by side, one singing, the other strolling, I just picture them as a married bird couple promenading (just like me and Noah!) on this new year day!
Along this hike we found a good number of red-headed woodpeckers (it's been a long time since I've seen so many in one place - okay there were 4, but still!).
It was a lovely start to a new year. Life's purpose, I'm open to whatever you may be!
I hope you all have a beautiful 2020. Thank you for being here with us!
January: Named from the Roman god Janus, who is represented with two faces looking in opposite directions - as retrospective to the past and prospective to the future.
A new year, starting slow - the cold, muted snow, bit by bit will begin unfolding new traits, the rains come, a flower opens, the skunk emerges from its slumber. While it's easy to get caught up thinking about the future, don't forget to pause and enjoy this ever so brief moment of stillness.
Let yourself stand out in the cold, breathe in the cool stillness, only now, right now, on this day (whenever you're reading this) this breath is just for you and only you and will never be exactly like this, these scents, these sensations, ever again. How full yet fleeting a mindful moment can be.
Happy New Year one and all!
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.