Thanksgiving in the North

This year we headed north for Thanksgiving and were greeted by snow and deer. As usual, I spend much of my time exploring nature while traveling.

The cold snap and snow motivated a squirrel to add leaves to its nest.

A few days later the snow melted and revealed Princess Pine in the woods. Princess Pine looks like a perfect little pine tree and is actually a club moss.

Lycopodium obscurum reproduces with spores and prefers acidic soils and shaded woodlands.

Milkweed was still sending off some seed “fairies”. The northern ones are much larger than the tropical Butterfly Weed I grow here.

Best of all I found some fossils.

We had to say goodbye to family and travel to the airport. As usual, we stopped at rest areas where the employees lovingly decorated their space to bring Christmas cheer to travelers. The elves were modified with tissue paper clothes and many wrapped gifts were under the tree.

A fireplace with a lace curtain repurposed for the mantle cover was created for Santa’s arrival.

The display was completed with paper and pencil to leave a note for Santa.

At the next stop, Mrs. Gingerbread was greeting everyone at the Ladies’ Room entrance, but Mr. Gingerbread was gone. Maybe he needed a bathroom break.

Soon it was time to fly back to the warm South and we took to the sky at the crack of dawn.

Vacation Photos: III Plants

I am always fascinated with the ability of plants to find all kinds of places to grow. This lucky grass landed in a bag of peat moss. The question is, was the hole already there or did the plant make it?

Princess Pine looks like a sweet little Christmas tree. It is a club moss and was widely harvested for holiday wreaths and has become more rare.

I found a tiny little orchid with a flower the size of the tip of my pinky finger. I could not pinpoint the name of the plant as my plant identifier never seems to be correct.

Growing among last year’s leaves was a perfectly round ball of moss. The color and shape were amazing.

If my northern readers can identify any of the fungi, critters or plants, I would appreciate hearing from you.