Sunday morning was bright but chilly. The fire in the big black range had gone out overnight and the kitchen felt unwelcoming when I came downstairs.
I pulled on an assortment of wooly garments and set about making a fire in the stove. I didn't want to wait for water to boil and coffee to perk on the slowly heating cooktop, so pulled out the electric coffee machine.
With coffee over, breakfast eaten and the cats tended, I put on my boots and headed outside to dump compost in the woods beyond the barn.
Heading back I met Jim on the path.
"Are we going for a walk?"
When he nodded affirmatively, I plunked down the compost bucket and dashed back to the house for my camera.
The tortie sisters and Willis fell in behind.
The 'girls' always turn back after a short trek but Willis is good for the long haul.
I stopped to take a photo of some tight green stalks emerging from the dry leaves beside the path.
Jim remarked that they looked a bit like asparagus in early spring.
Once I had noticed these I found more--several colonies in various stages of emergence.
When I saw this one with its leaves unfurling like an umbrella, a possible identity drifted up from the ragbag stash of memory: 'May apple.'
A later check on google confirmed the name.
The google images show may apple in flower and with a small yellow fruit later in the season.
Perhaps I will brave the possibility of ticks and a snake or two to visit the area again.
A clump of bloodroot.
The flowers are creamy white, but if picked, the stems exude a sticky orange sap.
Leaves still cling to the many beech trees in the woods.
The woodland floor is host to an abundance of this plant--I was unfamiliar with it, but research seems to place in the 'toothwort' family, possibly 'slender toothwort, dentaria heterophylla.'
Our house sits in the narrow 'valley' between steep wooded hillsides to the east and west.
Trees grow thickly on the slopes, with thick roots pushing out of the soil in odd conformations.
Another odd mossy tree root--like the claws of a huge prehistoric monster [?]
The entrance to a hobbit house, perhaps.
I have not seen hepatica since leaving my native Vermont.
The several photos I took did not capture the flower well.
I was clambering about trying to work around my own shadow.
I wonder if Willis was inspired by some animal's scent left behind near this log.
He wallowed and thrashed in the dry leaves.
Willis with his back turned and ears expressing his annoyance as I coaxed him to pose prettily.
Willis and Jim headed home, walking along the creek bed, while I plodded steadfastly behind hoping to spot more spring blooms.