|Wild Asparagus along Munger Trail|
|Lady Slipper seed pod, Munger Trail.|
I learned this trick of finding Wild Asparagus in the late fall from this article about foraging, which is something many animals and hipster humans do. I know there's lots of asparagus along the Munger Trail, because I've seen folks gathering it in the early spring, but I've never been sure exactly where to look, and now I know! I found several patches. I've used the voice recorder on my phone to describe, for future reference, all the places along the trail where I've found it. (Note-taking is always a good idea!)
In the winter, I keep an eye on the Lady Slipper seed pods along the Trail. Sometimes, I can find new patches of Slippers by looking for the pods. This year, the snow hasn't been very deep, so I've been able to see lots of pods. They have a fairly distinctive shape, so they stand out against all the other stalks and branches.
|Wild Clematis seed pod|
Many Wildflowers have interesting seed pods. Another that I keep an eye out for is Wild Clematis. I've been watching a particular specimen for several years now, without ever having spotted it anywhere else along the Trail. This winter, while searching for Slipper seed pods, I stumbled upon another patch of Wild Clematis, and I can't wait to see it bloom in the spring. Wild Clematis is a kind of vine, so the plant coils around other plants and climbs up trees. Its seed pod looks like a big gray spider with a thousand legs.
Of course, I always see a lot of Milkweed pods along the Trail, as Munger is infested with Milkweed. There are lots of big patches of this plant that the Monarch butterflies love so much. I also come across many empty bird nests along the Trail. Sometimes, they're high up in the tree-branches; sometimes, they're hanging low, at my eye-level, because the weight of the snow bends the branches down...
On these winter walks, I've been trying to learn how to use a GPS mapping app that will let me record the exact location of various plants on topographical maps that I download onto my phone. I haven't mastered this app yet, but I've got plenty of time yet to try it out before Orchid-hunting season begins. I want to use the app when I go back into the Pennington Bog, where there are no trails.
Someday, when my students are all using e-readers and electronic texts, we'll be taking notes electronically, and we'll be able to search the full text for keywords. Finding the perfect quotation to use in that second body-paragraph won't be quite as challenging as it is now.
|Milkweed seed pod|