BLUE SKIES AND BLUETS!
I doubt if you will pinpoint this scene taken on Patriot's Day here in Maine. I was out early on a cool morning, even needing my winter jacket and gloves! The sun came out and warmed things up. It was peaceful and beautiful. This particular scene is off a site on Bayberry Lane. Off the site, there is a short trail to an upper level large enough to place chairs to enjoy the sunset in late afternoon. It is one of those "set apart" places that I love to visit and wonder if you have ever discovered it. Several years ago, porcupines could be found in these pines, but fortunately in recent years they have gone elsewhere.

I started my trek and climbed the trail down to Head Beach. There, at the highest strand line, were large patches of bleached Sea Moss as you see here. This is the Irish Moss that grows subtidal on our shoreline. It is the valued source of carageenan, a material found in many foods and products. It has a natural gelling quality which makes a tasty pudding. Years ago, there used to be a thriving business on Head Beach to gather the seaweed and bleach it in the sun for marketing. On this day, you could have plenty for pudding making. Sea Moss goes through a bleaching process to change it from a golden brown to beautiful red colors and finally to what you see here.

The tide was low so I scoured the beach, finally heading over to the rocks on Joe's Head. Gulls were feasting on crabs and clams they had detected as the beach became exposed. I found several small mounds of sand, that when dug, revealed Hermit Crabs. These animals are coming back to the shoreline after spending the winter in deeper, warmer water. It was a cold morning so these crabs, in their snail shell houses, were trying to escape the cold air and absent water. I also turned over a few rocks and found small Sea Stars, several Rock Eels and tiny Urchin.

I made my way over to the Lily Pond to see what activity I could find there. It was quiet and peaceful. The lilies are starting to send up their large, flat leaves. I checked the east side of the water's edge to see if the toads had left any eggs. I did find some, and even a few formed tadpoles as you see here. The eggs are whitish, which caught my attention, plus the jellied masses. The small black tadpoles have grown a tail, but were basically inactive. It was about two weeks ago when I heard the toads trilling, so it has taken about that long for the eggs to lose their stringlike shape and develop into this small amphibian immature stage. Needless to say, the toads have stopped trilling.....if you missed their calls, you have to wait until next spring!

Each day, though we have had some wet and cool ones with even a smattering of snow, there are spring awakenings. I found these flowers blooming in the field behind my barn yesterday. They grow in masses along roadsides and in unmowed lawns, reaching out for the sun. I've always called them Quaker Ladies, probably because that is my background, but most people give them the common name of Bluets. Some are bluer than others, but you do get a touch of blue with their yellow centers.

Guess that is about it for this week of spring happenings. What's next? Stay tuned! 4/20/10 Ronnie