12 October, 2014 I cheated!
I’ve been waiting all Fall for Osage Oranges (a.k.a. “Hedge Apples”) to appear at Pony Pasture. I see them every fall in the same spot. But they never appeared. Just this tiny one in the parking lot; I have no idea how it got there:
But are some Osage orange trees on River Road that drop Osage oranges reliably every year. This week I finally gave up on the Pony Pasture Osage oranges. And I pulled off on a side street from River Road jumped out and took this picture and left. I would have used my keys for scale on this one but my car was running!:
It’s “cheating” because it’s sort of like photographing animals in the zoo. I like to get them at Pony Pasture where they live “in the wild” but oh well. Hopefully in 2015. Here is what their bark looks like:
Interestingly (if this is the sort of thing that interests you), the largest Osage Orange tree in the US is here in Virginia, in Alexandria at a place called River Farm, owned by the American Horticultural Society. If you clicked the Osage Orange link earlier in this post, you would read that they are native to southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. They grew thorny and dense and people used them for fencing. It’s unusual that the largest one in the US is here in Virginia. It is less surprising – to me – now – that there is a patch of Osage Oranges at Pony Pasture. Because probably someone was using them for a natural, dense hedge there fifty or seventy-five years ago.
I never knew any of this before I began this post. I knew the wood was good for making bows. Fun.
PS If you’re curious and you’ve never held one, they’re dense. Solid. If one fell of a tree and hit you on the head it would hurt. They’re not edible to humans although not poisonous. I read in my research for this post that squirrels are fond of them. But we had them around the cabin when we were younger and I saw lots of them, and lots of squirrels, but never saw a squirrel eating one or a sign of it. Who knows. It’s a neat plant.
Earlier that day – while the dogs and I were still at Pony Pasture – I heard and saw a Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) going through the trees. It only stopped for an instant so this shot is rushed. My Birds of North America online guide describes them as “an energetic, generalist species.” It goes on to say that in this area they’re a “nervous, often shy permanent resident.” You have to be quick on the draw. But they’re cute birds:
I’ve also been waiting all Fall to have my first fire; last night it had finally been cold enough and damp enough for long enough that I gave in. Dash had also been waiting for our first fire. It occurred to me as I went to post this that Dash is neither nervous, energetic or shy; I’ve never considered whether he’s a generalist or not:
Anyway, this post is a bit thin – I apologize. I’ll close with a picture of an unidentified late season damselfly; nice looking insect:
Ah – it just occurred to me – part of the reason I didn’t get any pictures this morning. I was fortunate to get a quick dog-sitting gig and when you have four dogs, carrying a “real” camera is next to impossible. I did get one picture of the pack:
I’ll close with a picture of the river from this week. It’s beginning to get a nice early autumn look:
Have a great week,