Trail Work

Doing trail work, especially cutting new trail, is a bit of a challenge in the work swamp. Legs, arms, and faces get scratched and punctured with alarming regularity. Sometimes you find yourself wishing you had a magic wand that could swish its way through the unbelievably thick tangles of greenbrier, grape vine, and blackberry bramble and slice through fallen tree trunks and dense stands of cane. Sadly, we are not issued magic wands ;-)

Picture-taking opportunities are scarce when your hands are full of cutting and chopping tools.  I did manage to take a few photos this week though...

I haven't had an opportunity to ID this fungus, but it was a spot of sunny color on a gray day. If you know what it is, by all means make a comment!!

A perky little moss caught my eye. I haven't keyed this one out yet either. It looks like a sphagnum of some sort...

An impressive Supple-jack vine, Berchemia scandens. I've also heard this called American rattan.  This vine was easily as big around as my calf.  I love supple-jack.  It is my favorite vine in the swamp.

The deer love it when we do trail work. As soon as we pass through an area they swoop in to see what we've dropped for them to munch on. For a cow, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. For a deer, the leaves are always sweeter higher up the vine.  And check out the "goggles" on the young deer in the center of the frame.  I see him quite often and he always looks worried.
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Next week will find me far from the swamp. It is time once again for our annual law enforcement refresher training. Instead of trail work, I'll be busy with defensive tactics, firearms and legal updates. Now doesn't that sound fun?


A Chilly Stroll

On Sunday afternoon I dusted off the camera and headed out for a stroll with Treebeard. The sun was shining but the wind had a definite chill to it with high temperatures only in the 30s F. It has been a very cold winter.

A few birds were moving around. We saw this yellow-bellied sapsucker checking out a sweetgum tree. If you look closely, you can see how puffed out this bird was. See the belly feathers? He looked like he had swallowed a tennis ball.

A bit farther down the trail, Mother Nature provided us with a collage of leaves accented with a whisper of Spanish moss and a couple of sweetgum balls.

A young crossvine was climbing a tree.  The leaves looked a bit winter-weary but it was still nice to see a little green in this gray season.

In a field adjacent to the trail, sunshine had the broomstraw glowing.
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Down in the swamp ice was everywhere.  Like I said, it's been a cold winter.




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An oak leaf sporting a fuzzy gall...

Looks like just a stump, right?  Come spring it will sprout cottonmouths :)  The snakes use stumps like this as winter hideouts.  In March we start seeing sluggish snakes out sunning nearby.

This little pond is a borrow pit. It was pretty in the afternoon sun.

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We enjoyed our walk despite the chill.


No Snow

Yay! No snow on the ground this morning. A little ice, but not a significant amount. I am thankful that we seem to have dodged this particular bullet.

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This cold, cold winter has me looking for any spots of color I can find. Luckily, we have a nice variety of smilax vines in the work swamp. There are pictures of berries from three different species of smilax here. The green leaves belong to a species with the common name laurel-leaved greenbrier.

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One of the things I like about my job is that you just never know what a day is going to bring. Take yesterday for example. I was on bridge duty signing in hikers and bikers when in rolled a truck full of sled dogs. Sled dogs, in a southern swamp? I guess it's just one of those bloom-where-you're-planted sort of things.

Hurry up, Dad!
A final adjustment of a harness...
And they're off!
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Like I said...you just never know what a day will bring.