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25 March 2014

Root wedging: examples from Maryland and Texas

While I’m showing photos from last week’s Billy Goat Trail field trips (3 in total), let me share a striking example of root wedging from Olmstead Island, on the walkway out to see Great Falls: And, since I meant to get back to blogging about west Texas this week, here’s another example of the same process, seen with a different kind of tree in different sorts of rocks, in the …

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11 November 2013

Monday macrobug: milkweed bugs on milkweed pods

Monarch butterflies aren’t the only insects that like visiting milkweed…

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9 September 2013

Monday macrobug: pine sawfly larvae

These “caterpillars” are the larvae of the pine sawfly, Neodiprion sp. They were grazing on a small pine in my front yard. Sawflies are relatives of bees, wasps, and ants – they’re members of the Hymenoptera. But their larvae look so much like the larvae of butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) and flies (Diptera), don’t they? Beetles, too (Coleoptera) have “grubby” larval morphology. They’re wormy things, long bags of hungry guts …

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16 June 2013

Sunset serenade

We had a lovely sunset last Thursday night:

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5 June 2013

Stone tools of the Piney Branch quarry, DC

Archaeology meets geology in this visit to the Piney Branch valley of Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Cretaceous deposits of cobbles of Cambrian quartzite were quarried by Native Americans and modified into tools thanks to the fact that they break with a conchoidal fracture.

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30 May 2013

Springy stuff in my yard this morning

It’s been a busy week. Hardly any free time. Here are a few pictures from my yard, taken this morning. Please accept them in lieu of a real blog post: Eastern cottontail: Mountain laurel: The cicadas are trilling in a mad, constant, siren-like noise. It’s intense, and otherworldly. Talk to you later…

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23 March 2013

Skunk Cabbage

On Friday, I took a field trip to DC with Geologic Map of the Washington West Quadrangle author Tony Fleming, City of Alexandria Natural Resource Specialist/Plant Ecologist Rod Simmons, and a host of interested folks from many different professions and localities. We were interested in looking at ecological relationships between rocks and plants, and had a pleasant afternoon hiking through Rock Creek Park. We also got in a little archaeology! …

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10 January 2013

Hoerikwaggo Trail 4: fynbos vegetation

Callan continues his week-long recounting of his five-day backpacking trip from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town, South Africa, along the Hoerikwaggo Trail. Today, we examine the ‘fynbos’ plants seen along the trail.

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29 November 2012

Living in the Appalachian Forest, by Chris Bolgiano

Last week, I finished reading Living in the Appalachian Forest: True Tales of Sustainable Forestry, by Chris Bolgiano. It’s a grab-bag of stories from the forested mountains of the south-central Appalachians, ranging from Pennsylvania down to Kentucky and maybe Georgia, too. West Virginia and Virginia get the most attention. The driving question behind the book is: How should I manage my land? Since this is a key question in my …

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30 October 2012

Passage Creek the morning after Sandy

The storm treated us well last night. We got some rain and some consistently moderate wind, but nothing insane. When I got up this morning, I checked the stream gauge online, and saw that Passage Creek was up significantly, and perhaps over the little low-water bridge that connects our house to the outside world. So I walked down there to check it out. Here’s the view from a little knoll …

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