Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Checklists and Trail Guides

Checklists and Trail Guides for Nature Ramblers

We have placed the following documents that may be of interest to Nature Ramblers on Google Drive:
  1. Checklist of plants in the natural areas of the Garden sorted by common name within plant type (tree, shrub, herb, etc.).
  2. Checklist of plants in the natural areas of the Garden sorted by scientific name within plant type (tree, shrub, herb, etc.).
    Each of the checklists only take up two sheets of paper if printed on both sides.
  3. 12 Common Lichens. A color guide to the 12 commonest lichens of Georgia.
  4. Orange/Purple trail guide. This is a copy of the trail guide produced by the Garden but is now out of print. It discusses the habitats, typical plants and geology of the Orange/Purple trail.
  5. Charles Wharton's Guide to Natural Environments of the SBG 
  6. Map of SBG trails 
To access the document just click on the link of the document you want. You can then print directly from Google Drive or download the document to your computer. 

Note: The lichen guide is in color; it is still useful when printed in B&W, but not nearly as nice. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 24 2013 Ramble Report

To see Don Hunter's Facebook album with photos of today's ramble click here. (A small selection of Don's photos are imbedded in this blog post.)

We came from near and far on this cold morning, with roadsides and ditches on
Catherine reading

"Four eyes" Dale reading
our journey’s routes blanketed here and there with the season’s first frost.   Everyone was bundled up as they gathered next to the arbor to discuss the weather and hear this morning’s readings before heading out on the ramble.  We were graced with two readings, one from Catherine and one from Dale.  The reading from Dale was particularly appropriate for today’s ramble, with the mention of the season’s first frost. First, from Catherine, an excerpt from Bailey White's Sleeping at the Starlite Motel.

Garden of Eden

 I know some people who believe that God created Adam and Eve one mile east of Bristol, Florida, on the Florida panhandle, and that the Garden of Eden was located in Torreya State Park just north of Bristol, and that Noah built the ark right near the intersection of state road 12 and I-10 out of the wood of the now-endangered Torreya tree, also called Stinking Cedar, which grows nowhere else in the world.
The book of Genesis says, “a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.”  There’s only once place on earth where four rivers come together, and that’s near Bristol, Florida.
God told Noah, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood.”  The Torreya tree, an ancient and primitive species, has another name besides stinking cedar:  locals call it gopher wood.  When the flood came, so they say, the ark floated all the way from Bristol halfway around the world to Mt. Ararat, and Noah and his dazed family climbed out into a strange land, with nothing left but stories of their lost homeland in north Florida. 
(Note: Bailey White is from Thomasville, Georgia and has written several books, including the hilarious Mama Makes Up Her Mind. She was also a frequent commentator on NPR but seems to have disappeared.)

The second reading is from the Oct. 24, 2013, New York Times editorial series The Rural Life, by Vernon Klinkenborg, and read by Dale.

Waiting for What Comes Next

The sky to the west is kettle-gray. The last leaves on the sugar maple in front of the house are flickering but hanging tight for now. Most of the hickory nuts have fallen, but sometimes I still hear one clatter onto the chicken-house roof. Another couple of months and Orion will be visible when the dogs and I go out for the last walk at night.
The basil has not yet been blackened by a sharp, cold night. There has not yet been a morning when the dogs and I get our feet wet on frost instead of dew. We lit a fire in the woodstove the other day just because the color of the world outside seemed to demand it, but when the fire went out no one missed it. I have wood to stack and small engines to winterize, but the weather keeps telling me not to hurry, put it off, take it easy, and so I do.
There is still a stand of small, pale blue flowers growing along the fence by the barn. It has been alive with bumblebees of a kind I rarely see, leaner and darker over all than the thumb-size, yellow-banded bumblebees that have worked their way through summer. I can’t help thinking that all of them will be dead before long, their queen alone alive in the winter nest.
So we wait, me at the kitchen table, the dogs scanning the deck for chipmunks that scurry and start, overwhelmed by their work in this year of the prodigious hickory harvest. The dogs don’t even bother to bark. They simply watch and wait, full of expectation. 

For today’s ramble, we re-traced the route from last week, heading down the path to the Dunson Native Flora Garden, then following the White Trail up the power line right-of-way and into the woods to the Green Trail.  We walked the Green Trail to the service road and followed it, through the Florida Torreya clearing, finishing up with the Blue Trail back to the power line right-of-way.  From here we made our way back up to the Visitor Center.  Before we left, however, Dale teased us with the promise of a special spider to wrap up the ramble. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 17 2013 Ramble Report

To see Don Hunter's facebook album with photos of today's ramble click here. (A small selection of Don's photos are imbedded in this blog post.) This post was written by Don Hunter with minor additions by Dale Hoyt.

Twenty three ramblers showed up for the weekly ramble, despite the threat of rain.  Though it was raining in the area, the rain, except for one brief sprinkle during the walk, was absent for the ramble.   Hugh presented the reading for the day from the work of John Burroughs:

After long experience I am convinced that the best place to study nature is at one's home,-- on the farm, in the mountains, on the plains, by the sea,-- no matter where that may be. One has it all about him then. The seasons bring to his door the great revolving cycle of wild life, floral and faunal, and he need miss no part of the show.
. . .
The science of anything may be taught or acquired by study; the art of it comes by practice or inspiration.  The art of seeing things is not something that may be conveyed in rules and precepts; it is a matter vital in the eye and ear, yea, in the mind and soul, of which these are the organs….So far as seeing things is an art, it is the art of keeping your eyes and ears open.  The art of nature is all in the direction of concealment.

(From The Art of Seeing Things, and Nature Near Home, by John Burroughs in American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, Bill McKibben, ed. (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 2008), pages 146-159, and 168-171.)

The ramble route today was down the hill, past the Dunson Native Flora Garden and over to the White Trail, and up and across the power line clearing.  We moved from the White Trail to the Green Trail, then to the service road and then on to the Blue Trail back towards the power line to wrap things up.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ramble Report for October 10 2013

This morning, fourteen kindred souls gathered at the arbor for the Thursday ramble, dressed in flannel shirts and jackets to ward off the temps in the low 50’s that greeted us as we gathered for the pre-ramble readings.
Don Hunter's photos of today's Ramble are here. Don also did the write-up for walk.

Two people brought readings today; first up was Catherine Chastain who read Night-Spider's Advice by Joyce Sidman, from the book, The Dark Emporer and Other Poems of the Night.
Night-Spider's Advice

Build a frame
and stick to it,
I always say.
Life's a circle.
Just keep going around.
Do your work, then
sit back and see
what falls in your lap.
Eat your triumphs,
eat your mistakes:
that way your belly
will always be full.
Use what you have.
Rest when you need to.
Dawn will come soon enough.
Someone has to remake
the world each night.
It might as well be you.

Then Dale Hoyt read the lyrics from Misalliance by the British musical comedy duo Flanders and Swann (click here to see the text). This seemed appropriate and should have been read last week when we were more focused on vines.

After the readings we all headed off for the Threatened and Endangered Plants garden before heading down the Purple Trail to the Orange Trail, where we headed down river to the wetlands area and then  up along the creek to the upper parking lots.  The emphasis today was ferns.  We observed several ferns but, as usual, there were plenty of other things to capture our interest.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3 2013 Ramble Report

Events of interest to Ramblers:

Fri., Oct. 4, 2013 9:00AM - 10:30AM
Linda Chafin on Piedmont Prairies
State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Friday, Oct 4, 6:00pm - 7:00pm  is an SBG Friends Members event – preview party and sale. You can become a Friends Member at the door!

 Species list is on the SBG website, http://botgarden.uga.edu/eventdetails.php?id=13

Saturday, October 5, 2013. 9 AM - 2 PM General Public Welcome! 

2450 S. Milledge Ave. Athens, GA 30605

This event is free!

Don Hunter's wonderful photos of today's Ramble are here. We thank Don for allowing us to use a selection of his photos for our blog.

Several people brought readings for today, but we only had time for two. Please bring yours next time.  Lee read a story of a revolutionary war soldier who stopped to think about the ways of a mocking bird.  Then Sandra read a very appropriate poem on Kudzu.

          This morning about two o'clock, as I was walking up and down past one of my sentinels, in order to keep myself awake, I was very agreeably surprised by the singing of a mocking-bird. He sang by himself and continued his notes till daylight. One would have imagined that he was sensible of the merit of his accomplishments, and that it was in complaisance to man as well as for his satisfaction that he was pleased to sing when all was silent, (except the barking of some dogs) Nothing animated him so much as the stillness of nature; twas then that he composed and executed all his tones. He raised from seriousness to gaiety, and from a simple song to a more sportive warbling, from the lightest quivers and divisions he softened into the most languishing and plaintiff sighs, which he afterwards forsook to return to his natural sprightliness.
(from: William Feltman, "Diary of the Pennsylvania Line. May 26, 1781 - April 25, 1782, in Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, Battalions and Line, 1775-1783, ed. John Blair Linn and William H. Egle, vol. 1 (Harrisburg: Lane S. Hart, 1888), p. 689.)
Next was a poem by Oliver ("Ollie") Reeves, poet laureate of Georgia from 1944 to 1963, presented by Sandra Hoffberg:

Song of the Kudzu Vine

The Kudzu vine is a hardy plant
And it grows where other good vines can't;
Where the land is poor and the clay banks stand
And the gullies run through the tortured land.

Here it spreads its leaves on the wasting loam
And it sends it roots and clusters home.
And it saves the farmer hours of toil
As it spreads these roots to hold the soil.

Ah, you may have watched the black snake run
To the shaded hole from the blistering sun, 
And you may have stood at the old race track
As the thoroughbreds came thundering back;

And you have seen the swallow's flight,
And the shooting star in the deep dark night,
But until you've watched kudzu grow,
You've never seen the fastest show,

Over the rock piles, under the brush,
Climbing the hillsides on with a rush,
Down the ditches, into the glade
Shielding the earth with a comforting shade.

There goes kudzu ever in flight,
Swift in the sunshine, swifter at night.
Happy the hog and grateful the kine
Nourished by food that's held in the vine,

Happy the farmer, happy the day
Gathering kudzu, tossing the hay,
Come join the chorus, help us to sing
Down with erosion, "Kudzu is king!"

Today our theme was vines.  We do not always have a theme, but this was a request from Sandra and Joan.  They missed last week when we started working on vines, so today we went on a vine hunt.  Our trail took us down the white trail by the Callaway building to the Orange Cut-off, left on the cut-off trail to the Orange trail.  Right on the Orange trail through the Powerline ROW, to the big tree by the Privet experiment sign.  We then turned around following the white trail back to the Lower Parking Lot.