Beautiful green of the creek in the ravine

Beautiful green of the creek in the ravine

Shhh….there’s no dogs around today, are there?  Since they’re back at home, I’ll tell you about what we saw in the ravine yesterday.  First of all, I LOVE this ravine.  It’s such a special place.  It looks like a green wide expansive park through which flows a beautiful moving stream.  In mid-summer, it often almost dries up.  Right now, after all this rain, it’s a roaring little river with mini-waterfalls. 

Fascinating inner circle of Fern

Fascinating inner circle of Fern

Tall ferns grow majestically here.  So do giant mosquitoes.  Here’s the secret to walking in the woods at this time of year:  Walk.   You’re safe if you’re walking.  If you stop to, say, scratch, or take a photo, or pet a dog, you’re in trouble.  The mosquitoes dive-bomb in with their radar-like accuracy for a blood-feast.  Just keep walking at a steady pace, and they generally stay at bay.

Across the road from the ravine grows a massive thimbleberry patch.  About four or five years ago the blossoms multiplied beyond imagination and grew fat red berries.  Enough to make jam.  Imagine that!  It takes so many thimbleberries to cook up jam that you need an active patch.  I became blissed-out picking maybe two or three quarts of lovely berries, lost in thimbleberry plants which grew over the head.  Do you think these plants will produce much this year? 

Hmmm...doesn't look like too many blossoms in the patch, does it?

Hmmm...doesn't look like too many blossoms in the patch, does it?

I promised you a slug photo, right?  The picture of the tentacled fellow still isn’t ideal, but it shows you the creatures which have appeared all over the woods in the aftermath of the days of rain.  There are slugs on the trees, slugs on the plants, slugs on the wildflowers, slugs on the car…well, you get the idea.  This slug was crossing the road yesterday, aiming for the other side.  Hope no crazed driver (like myself, trying to get the dog home yesterday) ran it over. 

Slug

Slug

Very odd ant hills

Very odd ant hills

Perhaps some naturalists can share with us why the ants suddenly began constructing skyscrapers.  Instead of their usual ground-level rounded hill condominiums.  It probably had something to do with the rain.  This morning, upon going outside, I noticed dozens of upward-built ant hills.  Perhaps, sodden by the many days of rain, they determined to save the queen by building upward.  (In a sudden moment of absolute memory loss, I googled “Do ants have queens?” and learned that, yes, of course, indeed they do. They also don’t have lungs.  Want to read more about ants?  Try this website.)

Today’s outdoor activity consisted of a) a ten minute wander outside this morning, b) a lovely chat on the telephone on the deck for a half hour with an friend from gaia.com.  His name is Ben and we’ve never chatted before.  He was also sitting outside on his deck.  Very satisfying.  And c) unloading the truck and stacking the wood in the wood pile this evening. 

But in between my friends, Jan and Joanne, and I enjoyed a thoroughly lovely tea party!  Yes!  I know it’s not an outdoor adventure, but we did have to open the door and walk outside to get to our car in order to drive up to Houghton.  We went to the Four Seasons Tea Shop and experienced the most delicious tea, salads, croissants, wraps, soups and sweets.  Oh luscious.  We all ordered something different and divvied up the food into thirds so we could all sample each of the offerings.  We’ve been trying to arrange this trip for more than a year.  Thank goodness it worked out today! 

Jan, Joanne and Kathy with their little fingers up in the air like proper tea drinkers

Jan, Joanne and Kathy with their little fingers up in the air like proper tea drinkers

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