THE REDS AND GREENS OF NATURE....
Now that Thanksgiving is over, and the rain has stopped for the moment, I've had some time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature. Somehow, I kept looking for things red and green since December is on our doorstep. My eyes stopped at these Rose Hips that look quite juicey and edible. They are the beautiful remains of the Rugosa Rose that grows along our shoreline. These were found quite close to the campground entrance. I didn't pick or taste them, but I do know the squirrels and birds enjoy them.

We had a very wet Thanksgiving which kept me inside dealing with turkey and pie cooking. Usually, I put the bird in the oven and take off for a walk. I think the bird was tastier since I was more attentive in basting and keeping an eye on the cooking. The pie I cooked was from a recipe given me by a camper. It is called a "Yes Pie" since it is a combination of an apple and pumpkin dessert. Usually people are asked, "Would you like an apple or pumpkin pie dessert?" The Yes Pie answers the question both ways and is a tasty delight.

As I set out for a hike, clammers were busy digging in the mudflats which surprised me since usually rainfall closes those areas for digging. Several stood out with their orange clothing since the hunting season was still in effect. I will have to check the totals of deer that were removed from our scenes when I walk for the Sunday paper this morning. Now, hikers can put away the orange hats and jackets, though there may be hunting with muzzles still being done. By the way, I was wearing an orange scarf! (I learned that 123 deer were shot during the November season.)

I nearly got blown away as I checked out the beaches at low tide. The wind picked up the sand and made me seek protected areas as my eyes started to water. The waves were crashing and made for a violent water scene. I headed for the trails, again hunting for things red and green. The trails were often filled with flowing water, making for waterfalls in areas, or puddles to circumnavigate. In the woods, the greenest things are the mosses. One of my favorites is the Haircap Moss that now looks like green stars, or else tiny Christmas trees sending a message. I did find an area along the Blue Trail where I imagined trees lined up for sale to adorn a festive house. These are all spruce trees, however. I prefer the Balsam Fir for decorating.

As I walked further along the Blue Trail, I stopped under large Spruce Trees where squirrels had been dining on their cones. They strip the cones, removing the round scales to access the small seeds. What is left is the core of the cone that looks like a miniature corn cob devoid of kernels. I decided to greet December a day or two early, and here is the result. If you look closely, you can see an uneaten cone, scales, and even a four inch high spruce infant! Of course, the moss green background serves as a carpet for this message.

I will save pictures of some of the other red things I found, such as the numerous and prolific Winterberry shrubs. Now, their leaves have dropped and the berries dot the landscape. These are the colorful fruit of an holly relative and should not be eaten by us. Birds eat them, but they are not high on their agenda for dining. Later, you will see overwintering Robins eating them which are a poor substitute for worms if you ask me. The red fruit of Wintergreen is tasty for human consumption, but they are somewhat hidden in the leaf litter at this time of year.

So I will close with a goodbye to November and hello to our last month of the year..December! 11/29/09 Ronnie, in red and green.....no more orange!