Poison Ivy on Hurley Mountain
Tuesday, July 7 2015
I feeling a little less than 100% today, perhaps a hangover from those ridiculous energy drinks I'd consumed yesterday. Still, I had goals I'd set for myself, and I needed to achieve them. After an unexpected downpour, I set out with the backpack and hiked to that ancient treefall a couple hundred feet upstream from where the Stick Trail crosses the Chamomile. The wood in that treefall is mostly Chestnut Oak, though a lot of it is rotted and/or waterlogged (evidently from water running downward on the trunks from the site upslope where they had originally been rooted). Still, I was there with my chainsaw, so I collected what I could despite how marginal it was. My project there wasn't entirely about firewood gathering; I'm also trying to clear a walkable path up the Chamomile Valley, perhaps as far as the Chamomile Headwaters Trail at the Farm Road. Because of the moisture, heat, and humidity, I was soon drenched in sweat and set upon by dozens of mosquitoes. It's miserable work to wrestle filthy rotten logs while swatting at mosquitoes, but I bring these problems on myself.
While there, I noticed a single seedling of Poison Ivy had taken root in the narrow line of rich, wet soil along the Chamomile. Poison Ivy is virtually unknown in the upland forest here, though I've seen it appearing in a few other places, such as in the Valley of the Beasts some years ago and near my woodshed. Since this seedling was so small and alone, I did the little necessary to literally eradicate it (lacking tools, I pulled it out with my bare hands and then immediately washed them in the Chamomile). I've also eradicated Poison Ivy adjacent to the north end of the house and the bit I found near the woodshed, but larger patches (east of the greenhouse, west of the yard, and in the Valley of the Beasts) are already too big to do anything about.
I was also did some work improving the walkway on the mountain goat path leading down the escarpment behind the woodshed. This involved digging into the soil and installing stone steps (another thing that is no fun when mosquitoes are attacking). While doing this, I found a single solitary Sassafras seedling at the bottom of the slope. Like Poison Ivy, Sassafras is very rare here in the uplands, and this is the only known example in southwest of Dug Hill Road. Perhaps global warming is playing a role in the spread of both these species.
Back at the house, my soggy load of rotten wood weighed in at 92.2 pounds. Later I went across the Farm Road and retrieved a single piece of wood weighing 86 pounds that I was able to carry home in my arms.
This evening Gretchen and I watched the first episode of season two of True Detective. Despite all the hype and glowing reviews from friends, we were not impressed. It seemed to be trying too hard to be something, and in the process it kept force-feeding us stale tropes such as the boyish woman full of gumption or the comic-book evil bad guys plotting (in mumblecore) in their casino. Gloomy shots of traffic into and out of Los Angeles and moody not-even-music soundtracks felt more manipulative than atmospheric. The first season of True Detective had its faults, but it didn't feel so derivative and forced. After the episode concluded (with a needlessly-edgy Nick Cave song), Gretchen observed that her teevee options were just "too good" to be watching stuff like that. Welcome to the Golden Age of Television.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next