Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wet Snow in the Sugar Bush (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

13 December finds me walking a sandy trail along the edge of the Agroforestry Sugarbush, south of Kemptville, Ontario. I am looking for a closeup scene to paint, and soon find a charming arrangement of Maple leaves tumbled over a mossy log and  patterned by wet snow dimpled with circular depressions made by large drips from the branches above. Some of the leaves are rich and bright like new leather, but others are pale and limp, translucent from repeated freezing.
A Raven, passing above the tree tops, utters four grawks, perhaps in comment at our presence in the 'home woods'.  Before I begin my painting Fred and I take a tour to the end of the track. Second growth and wetland lie to the west, and the older forest of the managed sugarbush to the east. A huge White Pine, heavy limbed and massive of girth looms darkly through the Maples and young Hemlock, and a thick little copse of Cedar huddles within the lofty room of the forest interior. The thick shaggy stem of a large grapevine curves like a fantastic Mammoth's trunk near a Cedar. Their bark is of similar texture. Nearby stands a short barkless stump with a little Cedar growing from the exact middle of its sawed flat top. A little farther along a taller stump has a few thin-stemmed baby Hemlocks sprouting from the split between two sawn levels.

Fred points into the woods in the direction where he found the Yellow Spotted Salamander in 2001, and walking back, we talk about Salamanders - how they are absent from woods that were once pasture fields, or where cattle grazed among the trees. These woods feel special to us because we know there are Salamanders.  Redbacked and Blue Spotted Salamanders live here, and in 1980 Fred found three of the locally rare Yellow Spotted Salamanders, and another in 1983. Bev Wigney and Eric Snyder found another in 2005. Bev has taken some nice Salamander photos . The Redbacks here all seem to be of the dark-backed ("leadback") colour phase.


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1 comment:

  1. Here's Bev's link to her pictures of salamanders from here. I'd also found Newts here, and Eric found them in 2005, as well, so it's the richest local site for Salamanders of which we're aware.

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