We headed out into the old farmer's field whose last crop of corn was harvested seven years ago. It's now full of goldenrod (note, you may click on any of the pictures to see a larger version and then click on the back arrow to return to the blog):
A brave aster rose above:
We walked along a deer path while we could:
And still we were swallowed by the goldenrod:
And a mantis with one green eye and one black eye:
Here's one with both eyes the same color:
When the deer path petered out, we made our own:
Of a new-fallen tree:
At times the forest gave way to swampy areas inhabited by tall, reedy grasses. Here are a few at the edge of a much larger patch:
A raccoon had crossed the still-muddy bottom of a drying creek bed and left his prints:
Moss peeked through the detritus covering the forest floor here and there:
As did other interesting things:
This mushroom looks as though something tried to eat it:
The colors of fall aren't up in the trees yet, you have to look around more closely to see the colorful bounty the plants have worked all summer to produce:
A large tree fall. We've seen this one before:
When we emerged from the forest again we encountered a type of thistle with the softest fluff:
And other interesting things:
My daughter captured this beautiful flower with her camera:
And that's not all that she captured:
Here is an interesting, if gruesome, story. Last winter in about a foot of snow, we trudged through the goldenrod field. At one point we noticed that our footprints were bloody. The blood was not from us. It was a large area in which the snow had been soaked in blood and then had been covered by fresh snowfall. Icky. Upon reaching the woods, my daughter spotted more blood. She found a deer with a newly missing leg which had somehow hobbled to a place underneath the branches of a fallen tree, lain down, shut its eyes, and died.
We don't know how it lost its leg, but it had traveled quite a long distance without it, as evidenced by the blood trail. We hadn't been back to that spot since winter, so we went to see what was left of the deer. We found its bones in the same spot, though they had been moved around a bit by scavengers:
We found the part of the leg bone with the trauma caused when the deer lost the rest of the leg:
Here's a comparison of the injured bone with the same bone from the other leg:
We don't know what happened. It looks more like a clean slice rather than something that might have happened in an encounter with a car. If a car or truck had done this, I would think that it would have been smashed, rather that have such clean-looking trauma. But I'm no expert. To us it's a mystery.
Well, we didn't find the bubbling spring, but it's been very dry here for the past few months. We'll go looking for it again after the fall rains have replenished the water table. We did, however have a run-in with one more deer. This one very much alive.
On the way home, we skirted the goldenrod field at its edge where we could make use of a deer trail so we wouldn't have to blaze one of our own. I said, "Thank goodness for the deer," and as if on cue a giant buck jumped up from its resting place not five feet away, off to the left in the goldenrod. He rose, facing us with a huge rack of antlers, then instantly turned and bounded off into the expanse of goldenrod, velvet hanging from his antlers and swaying as he leapt.
I will tell you that it was scary facing those antlers for that split second. My daughter remarked that it's getting to be rutting season and she was glad he wasn't feeling crazy enough to attack. We wouldn't have fared well in the encounter.
The goldenrod was too tall for our dog to see what had happened. He was so startled that he just froze. Usually he'll try to chase deer if he sees them. I'm glad he didn't this time.
It all happened so quickly that I wasn't able to get a picture of the buck, but I snapped this shot of his nest of squashed-flat goldenrod where he had been bedded down before we startled him. I know, it's not a great picture, but I was holding the camera up over the goldenrod in front of me so I could take it:
And that was our adventure. We made it back home, tired and full of little burrs, but happy. Thanks for letting us share our adventure with you.