Sunday, October 9, 2011

Down to the River

2011 09 19 It really isn't the river but one of many bayous connected to the Grand River. 
Little Robinson Bayou.  Long ago I spent much time here fishing, mushroom hunting, working in a big garden (actually I didn't do much of the work but played in the tall grass) and just wandering.

Today we parked at Clark School with permission of our cousin Joe, who now owns the school.  My Dad went to this school way back when, so did some of my brothers and sisters, but not me.

First, across the field near the school then into the woods.  In the past we had good solid trails through these woods, most of the trails had names, but since then the land has been logged off and several of the trails have been obliterated. 

It was a very wet day in September when we were here.  Very wet.  By the end of the day my sister Marie was actually pouring water from her boots.  Needless to say we were a bit out of our comfort zone but since we were in this place, special to us, we handled it.
We went toward the "boat path" which is near the "marl pit".  What is the marl pit?  Did they dig marl from here?  I don't know.  Some special plants grow in marl (like in calcareous fens), this place is not a fen though.  We didn't really know what we would find. 

It wasn't easy to get to the marl pit or for that matter to reach Little Robinson Bayou on the boat path.  It was a nearly impenetrable thicket, we fought our way through the tangled mass of verdant vegetation and found what is left of the marl pit. 
This is what we walked through to get to the marl pit (below)
Not much to see, hardly any water, choked with grasses but there were a couple of flowers blooming right in the middle of all this.  Bur Marigold and watercress. 

We had to back track, then bushwhacked our way over toward the field where the Fringe-tip Closed Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), grow.  It was so wet but we were having too much fun to notice and luckily it was around 64 degrees, so not too cold.

             Field where the Fringe-tip Closed Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) grow.
On our way to the field we found skullcap, False Climbing Buckwheat, Wild Basil, Tall Rattlesnake Root, Flowering Spurge,
Cardinal Flower, and Turtle head, these were all blooming.

I rushed ahead to find the first of many Fringe-tip Closed Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) we saw that day. 
 This is the kind of place we need to look for flowers, wet meadows.  Sandhill Cranes were flying around being rather noisy.  Lots of Joe-Pye Weed,

                    Nodding Ladies' Tresses,
yellow composites of some sort, Bouncing Bet, White Campion,

  and we even found Deptford Pink flowering.

This snail was liking the rain.

  But this grasshopper was hiding out under a leaf.

We wandered down to the "bridge" - years ago there was a wooden bridge here, I guess to take cows across the water to graze on the other side.  In the past, we fished here many times.  It was beautiful even on this gray day.

I wanted to explore more and so did Marie even though we were getting tired, we pushed on.  We tramped along where we thought the garden had been.  We went way back in the field, it wasn't easy, and kind of scary since we were in grasses and shrubs well over our heads.
Then up into the woods, here were tall Pokeweed growing. 
I found the green leaves of hepatica, we called it Mayflower when we roamed these woods long ago, and I think we even ate the petals of the flower. 

Hepatica blooms in the early spring and has a wonderful purple flower. 

Back to the car at Clark School.  Then home to get dry. What fun!
A day earlier I had a Monarch butterfly emerge from his chrysalis.  These photos were taken about one hour apart!

              He has one foot on his old home.


Dave said...

Amazing what ya can find when ya go "down to the river" :-)

Plants Amaze Me said...

"Down at the River" was your post title, I guess there are lots of rivers. :)

Anonymous said...

Looks like quite an adventure. Snails and grasshoppers- oh my! I like the observation about how your butterfly still had one foot on his old home. Cool flower pictures as always! Everything looks so green compared to now!