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Walk Zen, Usnea, and a Porcupine

Sunny, 9 degrees and a fresh skim of snow, the absolute best day for a walk in the woods.

My first stop as usual is down by the stream, mostly because water flowing, ice formations are almost always interesting. Besides a watering hole in the winter is bound to draw in animals and the sound of the moving stream covers the noise of me walking through he woods.

I stopped along the top portion of the stream where it runs the swiftest for a few photos. I then followed the stream down farther into the woods. As the stream goes down it widens out and feeds into a cedar bog. Just before entering the cedar bog the forest opens up a bit and that's where I saw the barred owl take flight. Unfortunately I am a little slow at digging out my cellphone for his portrait before he glided out of sight. I would have said his wings span was 6' but probably 4' was more accurate.
Following owls around in the woods trying to get set for a good photo can be a fools errand, so I knew better than to waste my time with that today and continued on farther into the cedar bog.


I stopped briefly to harvest a little handful of Oldman's beard. Usnea, I think is it's official name. It's one of those things you find in the woods that you always hear have a plethora of uses. The uses range from Firestarter to anti-inflammatory medicine. Some say it's more affective in treating fungal and bacterial infections than penicillin is. I even read somewhere that it is being tested as anti cancer medicine.
Oldmans beard as I have always called it is actually two organisms in one, It's a fungus and an algae.

I'm making a spot of tea with mine right now but the thing I like most is just it's curb appeal - I like the looks of it.

Coming through the cedar bog I came across a network of trails and den like blowdowns and upturned roots. After closer inspection I found that Mr. Porcupine was actually home. The porcupine had is backside closest to the entrance so I didn't really want to stick my hands in too far for the photos.

I'm not a huge fan of the quill-Pig but given the fact he was in his own area and not gnawing on the side of a camp somewhere or devouring the bark off one of my favorite trees I left him alone.

I've softened quite a bit in regards to the porcupine. I really disliked them chomping on healthy trees but the more I thought about it, for the most part they are pruning the tree. Some cases they do eat the bark and girdle the tree which eventually causes the tree to die but dead trees have their uses as well.


I didn't see any coyotes but I did notice many many tracks. There appears to be a healthy coyote population down there.


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