Thursday, October 08, 2009

Out Of The Swamps, Into The Uplands

This is what my dry open upland areas look like right now. Bear and I walk through here every day and it's actually a nice mix of other colors too. The photo makes it appear as if it were only yellow flowers, but there are tiny blue curls, and a tall lavender plant that is not ironweed, but the name escapes me as I type.
This escapism happens often with wildflower names ...

Every plant in this picture is tough as nails. The soil is almost pure sand (Pure Florida sand of course) and heavy rains leach away nutrients quickly. It's primo gopher tortoise habitat and there are several active burrows in this Southwest corner of my property.

The skinny slash pines in the picture above are some teenagers I planted years ago.
They are spaced wide enough apart to allow ample light in for the grasses and forbes that my gophers need for grindage.

Nearby on the forest edge are a couple of longleaf pines that were growing there when I came to this property. They are finally old enough to make decent cones and the squirrels are happy about this.

I am allowing myself to hope that this is a sign of a fox squirrel visit, although it may just be the work of my greys.
Fox squirrels are in the neighborhood and very pine dependent, so I'm thinking (hoping) that one just happened to forage over here on my side of the fence.

Above you can see an unopened cone next to the devoured cone.

I feel sticky just thinking about taking that fresh cone apart.


SophieMae said...

Ah, yellow season again. Gotta love it. Might your lavendar be loosestrife? Or maybe blazing stars or one of the verbenas? Nice palmetto stand! Flarda property without palmettos just ain't.

I envy you your gophers. I see one, occasionally, in the neighbourhood, but so far only turtles here. I'm looking forward to cooler days, so I can get out there and re-clear back by the ersatz watering hole. Right now, it's way too humid, not to mention tick-lish, out there.

Caroline said...

My little red squirrels leave the same kind of debris and "apple cores" under ponderosa pines in the Black Hills, 1800 miles from your pine trees and squirrels. Cool, universal squirrelness.

Miz S said...

Are the ticks horrible down there? Do you pull them off the dogs every day?

kathy a. said...

the squirrels do the same in my neighborhood, off on the other coast. we've lost some big old monterey pines to beetles, but there is still one left.

marge said...

so how did your nerds do? you promised a report.

Dani said...

Good luck this evening and safe driving. :)

AKA Angrywhiteman said...

I'm on the west coast, my gray squirrels usually open their cones in the tree and the scales are scattered all over the place, rather than the nice neat pile you picture here. We don't have Fox squirrels so I don't know if their feeding habits are different.

Nice pics, Have a great day.

Thunder Dave said...

Now really, uplands? I mean come on what's that mean, like 3-4ft about sea level! ;-)

Just kidding, of course, hopefully we'll be able to catch some fall photos of this area tomorrow!

robin andrea said...

I always like the scattered detritus left by foraging critters. It's a great calling card.

Floridacracker said...

I love those gophers. Little nervous if they get federal endangered status. We get along fine now without any govt control of my land.

Miz S,
Depends on where you are. A local park has them so thick you can see them coming at you in the leaves. My place ... only the occasional tick.

Kathy A,
We have pine bark beetle issues here too!

Universal squirreliness indeed! Just like education!!

You are right, I did! Just forgot, We lost our opener, but it was close.

Thanks Dani! Gonna be a loooonnnng night.

Our greys usually do that too. And I see them eating more mature cones, that is why this one caught my eye.

I think we are at least 5 feet. Bring on the fall!

Floridacracker said...

LOL! Critter business cards. Recyclable of course.

Pablo said...

All of which reminds me of the twig farm . . .

Floridacracker said...

Soon it will be cool enough to enjoy a walk there.