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In the Woods, Part 1


IN THE WOODS


Ruffled Grouse
(Artist)

Lady Slipper
Cypripedium acaule
(Thomas Kornack)

Lady Slipper
Cypripedium parviflorum
(Thomas Kornack)
Ethereal Navigator
Wild Ginger
(Professor
David Fankhauser
)

California Dutchman's Pipe
Aristolochia californica
(Brother Alfred Brousseau)

Daylily
(Janet Stein Carter)
Ethereal Navigator

Western Aster
Aster occidentalis
(Brother Alfred Brousseau)
Ethereal Navigator

Jack-in-the-Pulpit
(Janet Stein Carter)


Where the copse wood is the greenest,
Where the fountain glistens sheenest,
Where the morning dew lies longest,
There the Lady Fern grows strongest.
-- Sir Walter Scott

June 9th -- Yesterday it rained and the day before. And to-day in the woods I found many beautiful Morels, they whose scientific name is Morchella deliciosa, they who belong to the family Helvellaceae.

A turn, and we stand in the heart of things;
The woods are 'round us heaped and dim.
-- Robert Browning

June 16th -- Dogwood fairies are blooming, they who are the cousins of Red Osier and Bunch Berry; and the fairest of them all is Our Sentinel Tree standing forty feet tall.



Through the forest's darkening emerald.
In the murky, pungent gloom,
Shines a cloud of wondrous whiteness,
Where He sets the dogwood bloom.
-- Gene Stratton Porter

There's a home in the top of a pine tree in the woods -- a home we children most sincerely wish was not there. In it are three baby Sharp-Shinned Hawks. And Father and Mother Sharp-Shinned Hawk are noted for killing small Song Bird fairies, as well as others. Somebody said of Sharp-Shinned Hawk: "He is the boldest fellow for his inches that wears feathers." His scientific name is Accipiter velox.

Swallows over the water,
Warblers over the land,
Silvery, tinkling ripples
along the pebbly strand,
Afar in the upper ether
the eagle floats at rest,
No wind now frets the forest;
'tis Nature at her best.
-- Abbot

May-Apple is blooming in our wild flower garden in the woods. Yes, she is another fairy from beyond the hills. She came from Minnesota -- and of course we children are glad to have her here. Her scientific name is Podophyllum peltatum -- and she is a cousin of Twin-leaf, Barrenwort and our Oregon Grape. We learned this verse about her.

And will any poet sing
of a lusher, richer thing
Than a ripe May apple,
rolled like a purply lump of gold
Under thumb and finger tips,
and poured molten through the lips?
-- Riley

June 26th -- O, a beautiful fairy I met today in the mountains. White and coral-like was this fungus, who name is Coral Hydnum, and whose scientific name is Hydnum coralloides. Truly Mother Nature makes also very beautiful her flowerless plants.
July 3rd -- In the forest another cousin of Orchid, Calypso and Lady Slipper is blooming -- 'tis the Rattlesnake Plantain. Do you know why it is so named? Look to its leaves for the answer.
July 5th -- We have been to the hollow to get Salmon Berries for two bird nurseries, and only a part of those berries reached the nurseries, for Salmon Berries do taste so good. Have you watched for the blossoms, that look much like little white Roses? -- they are cousins of the Rose.
July 9th -- We have been out in the woods gathering wild Blackberries today. Wild Blackberries taste so good, only it doesn't do to taste them too much while one is trying to fill one's bucket, because it just won't fill. One has, instead, to think of how good they will taste next winter. Then each day after I pick the berries for Mother and Grandmother, I pick others to sell to earn Nature books to find out the names of things. Sometimes it's awful hot, but the wood folk are all friendly and I'm eager for the book and that helps me to forget how hot it is. O, and Blackberries are cousins of the lovely Rose fairies.

And Oh, the voices I have heard!
Such visions when the morning grows --
A brother's soul in some sweet bird,
A sister's spirit in a rose.
And Oh, the beauty I have found!
Such beauty, beauty everywhere;
The beauty creeping on the ground,
The beauty singing in the air,
The love in all, the good in all,
The God in all that is.
-- Joaquin Miller

July 10th -- Deep in the heart of the forest under Monarch Firs are blossoming those exquisite fairy one-flowered Wintergreens, cousins of Rhododendron, Manzanita and Salal.

Why Nature loves the number five,
And why the star-form she repeats?

July 17th -- Do you ever get puzzled about things? I've been wondering for over three years about Indian Pipe, who grows in the woods -- wondering why these fairies have no leaves, no green coloring matter like honest plants who get their food from the soil. But that is just where the trouble lies with Indian Pipes -- they do not get their food honestly; buy prey upon the juices of decaying plants or living ones. So Mother Nature has taken away from them when they obeyed not her laws. They hang their heads until seeds begin to form and then they raise their heads. Did you know that these white Indian Pipe fairies are relatives of the Rhododendron and the Laurel fairies. They all belong to the Heath family.
July 15th -- I went for a Nature walk today -- into the woods. Along the way I heard the earth things talking. I saw a Chipmunk on a stump -- ten other Chipmunks farther on. I saw tall ferns in the swamp in the woods -- ferns taller than I. A family of Chick-a-dees were up and down and up around the limbs of an old tree-looking for insects. Seven long-horned Beetles I saw -- and heard a Wood-Frog. There was a sleepy Owl on a tree. And many flowers, who early had been in blossom, were no cradling Baby Seeds. Frail waxy blossoms of One-flowered Wintergreen were here and yonder under tall trees. The forest brook went singing on.
To-day I saw a Weasel glide into a burrow, which used to belong to a Ground-squirrel. Now Weasel is one of the fairies I do not have a friendly feeling for in my heart. He is such a killer -- why, it seems that he always is killing some other folks -- just like a wicked giant in the old fairy-stories. Now Weasel is no giant. He is from thirteen to fifteen inches long -- which is no great length after all. His ways are ways of evilness -- surely he will reap as he has sown.
One day Fleet-foot (my pet White-footed Mouse) and I were strolling through the woods. We were going softly -- Fleet-foot had scampered out of my pocket and was leaping ahead a bit when along came a Weasel. My dear Fleet-foot is no more.
Now the scientific name of a Weasel is Putorius -- I'm not interested in giving Weasel's individual names because I do not think they are deserving of that courtesy. Of course there are certain names very appropriate -- I called after the one who took my Fleet-foot, "You are a Nero." He was gone so quickly I'm sure that he did not even get the first word.

A wind arose and rushed upon the South,
And shook the songs, the whispers, and the shrieks
Of the wild woods together; and a Voice
Went with it, follow, follow, thou shalt win.
-- Tennyson

July 28th -- Saw a Rubber Boa in the woods to-day while picking black-berries. Saw him eat a little mouse, too. Who is Rubber Boa? He is a snake. Not a big one -- why he wasn't more than a foot and two inches. His tail is so stubbly that it was blunt. Instead of being thin as most snakes are he was thick and looked like a piece of rubber. Some folks call him the double-headed snake but that is just because his tail is so blunt. He is really a very interesting creature, shy and gentle. Watch for him.
July 29th -- Have you tasted Salal Berries -- those dark purple berries on Salal Shrubs that carpet the forest floor in some places? We were on a long tramp in the woods today, and those berries tasted so good. Even Pliny and Cicero, the two pet squirrels, like them. It's flowers look much like Manzanita, Rhododendron, Wintergreen and Indian Pipe.
In the woods is a Raccoon -- and this Raccoon's name is Achilles. Achilles and I are good friends. You see it is this way -- I knew Achilles when he was a youngster. Like many other of his tribe, he was interested in pieces of shining tin -- and even as some of his relatives he met his fate in a trap baited with a piece of shining tin. It so happened that some hours later I was passing by. After much difficulty with the trap and with Baby Raccoon both arrived at the hospital. At first Raccoon Junior refused to be on friendly terms -- then as his leg healed he became very gentle and more likeable. Achilles was his name -- and with him this name staid when, having recovered from his injuries, he followed me about in the woods. We were great chums -- but sometimes I was spanked for Achilles' pranks. He was, like most all of my pets, forbidden the premises of the yard -- as, of course, was best. But sometimes he, like they, would come in with me from the woods. There was that day when I went into the pantry to get a sandwich -- and, the butter being in the refrigerator, I opened the door, took it out, and forgot to shut the door. I went upstairs (for just a moment), then as I started out-of-doors again I stopped to close the refrigerator door. I called Achilles, but he did not come, so I started across the yard to the brook that flows through the garden. And if there wasn't Achilles -- and he was very busy washing something. When I saw what it was my heart went pit-a-pat -- and then it beat lower -- for Achilles was engaged in washing that lovely steak Mother had placed in the refrigerator for supper, for Uncle was coming, and this his first evening since home from Alaska, and this his favorite steak -- and there was simply no way of getting any more from town until to-morrow noon. But even though I felt the shadows of the hour ahead, the next ten minutes were exciting as Achilles soused that steak about. And the next ten minutes were exciting in a different way, for Mamma also saw Achilles doing a stunt with that which had been only a few minutes previously a choice steak in the refrigerator. Mother even had me go cut the switch I was to be whipped with. Then when Achilles had been taken back to the woods and I had received the whipping the pathos came in having to be sent to bed when Uncle was there. But my! There was a silver lining in the cloud after all, because when supper was over Uncle came in and told me about a pet Raccoon he had when he was a boy -- and thus helped me to forget about not liking to be sent to bed. (Of course I deserved the spanking for leaving the door open -- which wouldn't have happened if I hadn't gotten the sandwich which I wasn't to -- but it's hard for little girls to wait as long as grown-ups, especially when you are out tramping in the woods, and don't arrive home at dinner time when you are supposed to). O -- and Uncle told me that the last part of Raccoon's scientific name, Procyon lotor, refers to Achilles' habit of washing meat. Uncle, when he was a little boy, was also sent to bed for giving his pet Raccoon corn in milk.



Next Chapter:
In the Woods, Part 3