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small beauties, vertebra edition

[ A dense patch of relatively young Ponderosa pines, most with trunks less than six inches wide; the ground is deeply covered in pine needles. ]

I found a nice thick patch of woods last Tuesday. Sometimes you want an open meadow; sometimes you just want trees.

I found very excellent small things! Like this wee vertebra.

[ A heavily-weathered vertebra from some mammal or other, maybe an inch wide. ]

Lichens!

[ A clump of grey-green lichens, maybe two inches across & leafy like the fins on a leafy seahorse. ]

This looks like some kind of holly. They don’t grow very big here.

[ A small plant, no more than two inches high, with oval leaves with tiny spines along the edges; three of the leaves are green, but two are turning bright orangey-red. ]

Eventually the sun came out.

[ A view up through the pine foliage; the sky is pale blue, with puffy white clouds. ]

A sawn section from a BIG ponderosa, probably two anna half feet across. Look at the bark! It’s like two inches thick.

[ The section of bark takes up most of the photo; it’s mostly a deep brown-red, with veins of pale tan running through it. ]

The road led further off into the woods, but I don’t know what’s up there.

[ A pair of tire tracks leads further up into the woods. Major Tom is a small dot making his way stubbornly up the path. I hadda shake the treats jar. He was determined. ]

Because there was a PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING sign & a chain across the road, which, I GUESS, it’s the middle of the national forest, but whatever. (Yes, that’s Tom wandering up the road, NO TRESPASSING signs don’t apply to cats.)