9 September finds us at Round Hill, Nova Scotia, appreciating Bev Wigney's old Locust trees. Bev reports that three or four Pileated Woodpeckers have been coming every day in the late afternoon to search for beetle larvae in the crevices of the deeply grooved bark, bright red heads glowing in the evening sun high among the branches as they propping their stiff tails against the bark. I haven't been very successful at photographing them today, as they are constantly on the move.
Now they are gone again and I'm sitting on a stool between the van and the trailer to paint the eldest of the Black Locusts that surround the yard. Its hard corky bark flares like the edges of fabric, and criss-crosses in places as if braided. In mid-trunk it looks as if the tree has pulled both sides of a shawl around itself. We have two Black Locusts at home in Bishops Mills, but none large as this one. Around the base of its trunk the ground cover is Goutweed, or Bishopweed, which also grows beside our house in Bishops Mills, and which we eat in spring. Chokecherries, Bird Cherries, Black Cherries and Sour Cherries grow with the Locusts in this fencerow. At home Cathartic Buckthorn would have crowded all of these out long ago.Arriving at Bev's place yesterday was much like driving into her blog - in addition to actually being able to hear the high-piched voices of her collies from the house, and feel the cool soft grass of her lawn, and stand in the shade of the towering Locust trees.
We established the van and trailer on the afternoon-shaded side, and took a tour of the path down to the brook, noticing the berry-filled droppings of a small Ursus americanus (Black Bear) on one of the stones in the creek (now at low-water because it hasn't rained for a while) and a Procyon lotor (Raccoon) skull at the base of a bush coming back up. Bev introduced us to the odd stones that turn up in the brook, and picked up another one for herself - a small ball within a ball of reddish conglomerate, the outer one eroded away on one side to reveal the inner one.