Wet winter day offerings

Mud Hike with Jellies, Flowers, and Scats

It was cool and gray today, and even though we knew it would be muddy, we headed up the ridge to see what could be found on a December day after a rain.

Yellow & Brown Jellies

My favorite rain-hike item to find is jellies. There are always yellow and brown ones here, and if you catch them before they start to dry up, they are gorgeous and shiny.

Brown jelly fungus
Brown jelly fungus
yellow jelly fungus
yellow jelly fungus

Dried Winter Wildflowers

I also like to collect and identify the dried, brown skeletons of wildflowers.

Today we saw lots of Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod, milkweed, heal-all, and what might be bee balm. I’m not sure about that last one, because my experience of bee balm tells me it looks different from this in the winter, but…

I also photographed some vibrant, curvy turkey tails.

Wet winter day offerings
Beechnuts, Queen Anne’s lace, golderod, a curl of grapevine, and an oak apple gall on a mossy stone
curly turkey tails
curly turkey tails

Scats!

By now you may know how I am about animal scats. I’m forever identifying the different creatures that live here by what they leave behind. Today we saw bear, raccoon, and deer poops.

Here’s what I think is raccoon scat. It’s not bobcat poop; cats tend to be carnivores, while raccoons eat everything, and this is chock full of berries, seeds, and maybe some kind of root tubers. It could be possum scat, as they are also omnivores, but I rarely see possums here; the raccoons are much more numerous and active.

Raccoon scat
Raccoon scat (I’m holding a hickory nut)

Finally, here’s Beezus.

Bee loved hiking with us today, and while we ended up sliding on our behinds here and there on the mountain, she was ever graceful.

Beezy on our December hike on the mountain
Beezy on our December hike on the mountain

We’re wishing you a December filled with winter treasures.

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