Friday, May 14, 2010
Having settled myself down with stool and easel and decided on the orientation of the canvas, I find myself noticing how this and the other moss patches are obviously in the process of expanding to cover bare clay littered with poplar leaves and twigs. At first I thought that the lumpy surface with crumbly spots showing among the dry leaves must be the work of earthworms, invading the forest even here in the northern clay belt - but Fred reminds me that the action of frost can also produce extruded-looking pellets on the surface of soil.
It takes the forest a long time to reclaim bare clay. The initial cover was Aspens and Fir, and the White Spruce is coming up underneath. The Aspen all around here are dying. They are not shade tolerant at all, and lots of Fir trees die young. Their fallen bodies help to give organic structure for mosses and other forest plants to get started. Off to the right of this scene, I can look into a more mature Spruce/Aspen forest with a much more diverse undergrowth.
Posted by Aleta Karstad at 10:51 AM