I last posted about the treehouse we built for my daughter in the redwoods near our house. It's a lovely spot and, in addition to being a great place to relax beneath the trees, one of its bonuses is that, once you're in it, the surrounding forest opens up to you. Our family recently took a little walk through it, lured by the beauty of the shafts of sunlight that beamed through the tree branches and by the call of owls -- perhaps the same ones who spent part of last summer living in a tree close to our house.

We walked on the forest floor, which was soft with needles, leaves, mud and duff. We came upon these whimsical Trilliums (also called Wake Robins), an early spring wildflower that proliferates in the shade.





Forget-me-nots are another sweet shade-loving flower. Our property will be blanketed with them soon.





Three-cornered leeks (wild onions) have a lovely bell-shaped flower and a distinctly sharp spring smell.



We started to see owl droppings, and looked up to find our friends. We spotted their nest, high up in the redwoods. (We believe there to be at least one pair of Northern Spotted Owls, because we saw a male and a female last summer, and heard them now.) On the ground were owl pellets, the remains of small animals and plant material that the owls had eaten. We identified mouse bones. (I promise I will go up again and get a better picture!)



We looked up to see the owls' nest.



While looking for the nest, we saw a basket high up in the trees. This is a very isolated spot and we were mystified as to how it could have gotten there. A person could have placed it there, but that's not likely -- it's more than 50 feet up in a very isolated spot on private property. We wondered if the basket would be light enough for birds to have carried up, in the hopes of making a nest out of it. It has since been suggested that perhaps a long-ago child placed a basket in the crook of a tree, which grew over time to this great height.





After a while, the land opened up as we reached another path, which was sunnier.



Pretty yellow Goldfields were sprinkled along the path.



We saw Miner's Lettuce, which of course we imagined generations of people before us -- Native Americans, trailblazers, miners -- eating. (We later learned that Miner's Lettuce is appropriately named, and edible, but I remain very hesitant about grazing for food on paths and roads.)



We circled around and came home, knowing that, with the weather turning warmer, and our newfound knowledge of the woods and path by our house, we would be back often.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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Comment by Sarah Crutchfield on March 19, 2010 at 6:15am
How wonderful!

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