The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Break Time

So much work, so little time.  My desk chair has been permanently stamped with the imprint of my rear. 

Either that, or my rear has assumed the shape of my desk chair.  Not very flattering either way if you ask me.

My wife called me today from work and suggested I take a break and play outside. It was a balmy -12C today (yes, that’s quite balmy after the near -40C we’ve had for the past two days), the dogs were short-circuitng from lack of exercise, and my wife is usually right about stuff anyways (don’t tell her I said that), so I went and played outside.

Although it was dark and grey, fresh snow was on the ground, and I got to try out my new toys:

That’s an old, shrubbed-over agricultural field.  There are squat stonerows  running along either side of the open area, and lots of early ii trees around the edges (birch especially) along with thick tangles of invasive buckthorn  native hawthorn (thanks for the clarification, Seabrooke!)

Evil Hawthorn...thorns.

Speaking of trees, and of bucks (aw nuts, now my nice little segue doesn’t work as well *harumph*),  I found a pretty recent deer rub on a young tree.  Bucks will rub their antlers on trees for a few reasons: in the early summer/late fall, they do it to slough off any velvet remaining on the rack; during rut, they rub to mark their territory.  If done aggressively enough, this action can kill the tree by cutting the flow of water and nutrients.

The small mugsly dog found something too:

C'mere, you wascally wabbit...

The occupant had left tracks nearby, but wisely stayed out of sight…

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6 responses to “Break Time

  1. Warren January 25, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    OOooo that snowshoeing looks sinfully delicious! I’m so jealous of your winter weather. I’m sure the pups and your wonderful wife were delighted to spend such a magical time with you!

    cough cough – sorry, had a birder stuck in my throat – i mean thank god you aired out that chair ass *ducks slap* *gets nailed by downward-aimed slap* *runs away giggling*

  2. Adrian Thysse January 26, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    hmmm,,,small snow shoes. You must be light of your feets.

    • TGIQ January 26, 2011 at 7:26 PM

      Actually, I tend to tread rather like a pachyderm wearing steel toes…but these light little things do the trick, at least in the snow we’ve got now. I’ll anxious to dry them out in deeper stuff, but so far I’m pleased 🙂

  3. Seabrooke January 26, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Glad to see you’re getting out to enjoy the new snowshoes too, now that we’ve finally got some show on the ground to make it worthwhile. It’s a familiar-looking landscape; perhaps a bit more conifer than we have surrounding our fields.

    The thorny shrub in your first photo after the video is a hawthorn. Buckthorns don’t actually have very noticeable thorns, they’re more like rose or blackberry thorns in length, and are found at the tips of the branches rather than along their lengths. Hawthorns are native, but they can be just as aggressive as introduced species in colonizing disturbed landscapes such as regenerating fields. And not much fun to have to push through – those thorns are sharp, and vicious! My husband once got pierced through the lip by one while pruning branches. I gather that historically Native Americans would use the thorns for that purpose intentionally.

    • TGIQ January 26, 2011 at 7:47 PM

      Well there ya go – another plant to add to my list of “Evils”. I didn’t know there was a native that grew so aggressively and had such a similar overall “look”…but now that I think about it, yes, I do remember that the buckthorn thorns are at the ends. I’ve freely admitted before that my tree ID skills are awful, and generally all thorny things I lump into “raspberries”, so this is at least a step up from there. 😛 Thanks for the help on this one!

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