It was a rainy day today, a quiet way to usher in the new year. In spite of the rain, though, we wanted to get outdoors. We went to a small park owned by the Isaak Walton League and walked around their pond and into the woods for a while. There were hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) on the pond and I got a few photos of them, good enough to identify them conclusively but not really that great. One of these days I’ll get a long lens but today is not that day. We also saw a hawk of some kind, which flew away from us in the woods. We’ll probably come back here in the spring or at least when it isn’t raining.
Monthly Archives: January 2021
After saying I was going to stop taking a photo a day, I actually went two more days taking pictures. After this one, there will be a gap before the next photo was taken. The timing was good, because I threw may back out on the morning of January 3 (writing this after the fact) and getting pictures every day this week would have been hard. So, we’ll end the streak of consecutive days at 10 years plus five days—three before I officially started and two after I officially ended. But as promised, photos will be posted when I do take them.
We met our good friend Jean at Burke Lake this afternoon. We’ve never been there before but it was quite nice. There were a lot of folks there but we walked along the shore on a trail that was less used and it was very nice. The wind coming across the lake was fairly cool but the sun was shining and there were birds and it was lovely. Of course the main thing was seeing Jean, and that would have been nice anywhere, but it’s always better to be outdoors, if you can (unless the weather is really nasty, and then it’s great to be somewhere cozy, instead).
We went to the Tridelphia Reservoir this afternoon to two different parking areas and walked out and back along trails from both. The first wasn’t as nice as we had hoped, although we saw two types of clubmoss, Diphasiastrum digitatum (fan clubmoss) and Dendrolycopodium obscurum (ground pine). The walk from the second parking area was really nice. It was an easy walk except for a few places where there was mud on the trail but it wasn’t hard to get around. We were about to turn around when Cathy spotted this great blue heron (Ardea herodias), who let us get quite close. We just stood and watched it for quite a while.
The kid in me still loves big trucks and heavy machinery. Put a crane on a truck and lift pallets of shingles onto a roof, and I’ll watch. Needless to say, I enjoyed the process of preparing for our roof to be replace tomorrow. The truck needed a surprising amount of space, because it has seriously long outriggers so they can reach the crane out to the side as far as this, positioning the materials as close as possible to where they will be needed. We had work done on our chimney in December, so we’re all set to have the roof replaced now.
As mentioned yesterday, we are having our roof replaced. The materials were delivered yesterday and the crew showed up this morning and got to work. Of course, getting the old roofing material off is a big part of the job and we had two layers of shingles that had to be removed. The plywood on the front half of the roof was in pretty good shape although there were a couple places on the back that needed to be repaired with new plywood. We also had them remove the chimney from our furnace, which is no longer being used, so that’s one less opening in the shingles to worry about going forward. It’s a noisy business, especially when they are tacking down the underlayment. Then they start up their compressor for their nail guns and it’s blam, blam, blam, for the rest of the afternoon.
Continuing with our ongoing roof replacement, the contractors were back this morning to handle the “bump” and the garage. Some of the houses in the neighborhood have a one story piece between the main part of the house and the garage and others—like ours— have a two story section. We call the two-story version a “bump”. Anyway, the roofing went on that and the garage today. The garage roof needed more repairs to the plywood but the joists were sound, anyway. Once they finished they spent quite a while on clean up. There’s a fair amount of debris, although they put drop cloths down, it didn’t catch everything. They also went around with a magnet picking up nails and staples. Tomorrow I’ll show you the finished product.
The roofers finished late enough yesterday that it was a bit dark to get a good photo of the front of our house, which faces eash-northeast in any case. So, here’s a photo of the front of our house taken this morning and without anything in the driveway. Getting a new roof is one of those things you don’t notice unless you’re specifically looking for it. Or I suppose if the old roof was leaking and now it’s dry inside when it rains. But when we bought the house the inspector told us the roof was pretty warn and we should plan on replacing it pretty soon. Soon became 14 years, but we beat the odds and haven’t had any significant problems. And now we should be good for a long while.
I compared this photo to one taken when we bought the house and the two holly trees, one by the driveway and the other at the left corner of the house, are much larger than they were then. Otherwise, the house doesn’t really look at that different.
Long weekends are nice. Our company only started giving us Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off last year so it’s something we’re still getting used to, but of course we’ll take it. I slept in this morning until about 7:00 AM and then stayed in bed awake until I noticed the color in the sky. Considering our bedroom windows face west, that suggested there was some good color in the east, as well. So, I got up and grabbed my camera and went out front to get a few pictures before the color faded. This is actually a bit darker than it was, so not necessarily an accurate representation of what I was seeing, but it’s pretty.
We went out for a walk this morning, going somewhere new, but it turned out that W.S.S.C. property requires a paid permit. The signage was very ambiguous, giving regulations for walking on the trails but then with big “No Trespassing” signs, but without an explanation of what constitutes trespassing. We decided to walk to Sandy Spring and enjoyed the walk very much. There is a champion white ash (Fraxinus americana) on the route, as well, which is a very handsome tree. There were other people out but no so many that it really affected our walk. The last time we came here we walked from Woodlawn Manor on the Underground Railroad Trail.
One of my favorite color combinations is the blue of juniper berries and the green of their leaves. I especially like it on an overcast day, when the colors are more vivid. Either color on its own is attractive and in the running for a favorite color, but the combination is especially nice.
Cathy, Dorothy, and I went for a walk on the Blue Mash Trail this afternoon and that’s where this photo was taken. As usual, it was nice to be out in the woods and meadows for a while and we always have plenty to talk about.
We walked on a section of Muddy Branch trail today that we hadn’t been on before. We went roughly 1.8 miles each way and enjoyed being outdoors. We saw a few belted kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) and there were lots of small songbirds in any thicket we passed. There were a few places with standing water and a few of them had a skunk cabbage plants (Symplocarpus foetidus) growing in them. It’s one a small number of thermogenic plants, which produce heat by chemical reaction and raise their temperature above that of the surrounding environment. Pretty cool.