I have been doing a lot of treadmill running lately (thanks to an amazing husband for an early Christmas present!). While it took some getting used to, in many ways, it has freed up more "real time" in my day to do other things that I love, such as general outdoor exploration and ruckus-causing; toddler hiking; birdwatching and crunchy-leaf-identifying.
The organisms within this particular patch of oak woodland along the Missouri River have seen much of us this winter. Their acquaintance is much easier made without the accompanying ticks, snakes, 6'-tall stinging nettle, and 108 degree weather of previous seasons.
Winter here is a wonderland, indeed! I feel so lucky to get to spend another one here.
Another beautiful winter berry - Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Indian currant/coralberry). This one is definitely more purple-pink than the possumhaw. It is a lower-growing shrub with berries in clusters (Caprifoliaceae/honeysuckle family).
Whenever I see beautiful fungal colonies, I think of my friend, Emily. Haha! A true explorer and wanderer (and photographer, unlike me!), I have yet to meet another woman like her in this life. We met in my second post-college internship, many years ago. She was the outspoken one who kept raising her hand at this conference we attended, and she was very real. Em was the first person I had ever met for a true appreciation of shelf fungus. I am pretty sure I have never seen anyone get that excited...about shelf fungus.
Where are the other women like that around here?
My bean. My rock-gatherer and stick pointer-outer :) He has, by the way, been going through this phase (hope it's a phase) where he is very conscious of the dark. I hesitate to say "afraid of the dark", but we have reached the nightlight stage.
Also, he now says, "pied pecken" (pileated woodpecker).