Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Higher twigs are whispy with Usnea lichen, moving with the breeze like downy feathers. Lower on the trunk the bark is 'painted' in patches and splashes with softly weathered grey-green crustose lichen. There is none of the frilly Lobaria lichen that festoons the trunks of some of the other trees. Most of the lower branches are broken, and a section of broken branch as thick as my leg hangs in crotch of another branch and sways in the breeze. A Blue Jay flies soundlessly overhead to one of the upper branches, and then away again.
Not shown in my painting, a large side branch juts out horizontally and then rises vertically in the shape of a conventional Conifer on one side of the crown.
Other old Hemlocks stand spaced about 15 - 20 metres from each other, but the smaller Maples and Birches grow closer, crowded by Spruce and Pine which actually push at their trunks with needled branches. Moose Maple seedlings spread their flat leaves above the forest floor. Pillows of dry fluffy moss cover old dead wood and Wintergreen raises its hard shiny leaves in clusters.
As I paint Fred discovers three Redbacked Salamanders and a few very small slugs, Arion and the native Pallifera in the process of turning flakes of Hemlock, rotten branches, and curls of Birch bark. He replaces all cover turned and does not disturb the rotten logs. He reports that everything looks very well processed here - slug droppings, and tracks gnawed into the cap of a Russula mushroom - but we would have to come during or after a rain to meet the larger slugs and snails.
Posted by Aleta Karstad at 11:27 AM