THE CAMPUS CAUGHT A HEAVY COLD

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With my electric blanket and Pearl’s heating pad we survived the storm quite well and awakened to blue sky and puffy clouds and snow on the roofs…….and 6°! !

But, we landscape photographers can not ignore this kind of scene so…….

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The good folks at Medford Leas had the roads and driveways  plowed by 7:30 so I could get out.  I fortified quickly with some breakfast, boots, long johns, a sweater layer and a fresh battery and headed out.  With my balaclava I was good to go except there were slippery icy spots of which I had to be careful.  Along the red trail there were plenty of critter tracks in the snow and even a faint odor of skunk but no deer or big-foot tracks.  No one was using the resting bench, either.

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There were nice things to see along the way, particularly in the warm light of early morning winter sun.

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Over at the nature center green house the heating system was already having its way.

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The plants inside were warm and secure, wondering what all the fuss was about.

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One more stop, at the atrium within the Community Center, and some winterberry that has escaped the birds so far.

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A quite beautiful morning.  Now, back to the cave to enjoy it from inside and with a cup of coffee.

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THE RESURRECTED MEADOW

Meadows comprise about a third of the 400 acres of campus of Medford Leas and its sister campus, Lumberton Leas.  Last January a large section of the Medford Leas meadow underwent a controlled burn. 

Firemen stimulated the flames from gas- filled canisters, and then monitored the fires until they died away.   The idea of a controlled burn is try to kill off  many invasive plants that have established themselves in the meadows, crowding out the native plants and grasses.   From the looks of things this spring it was a good thing to do.
 

The dominant flower is the sun-flower related coreopsis, some twenty-five species of which are native to North America.  It’s always been a favorite of mine but even with fields full of them here I had to buy a $16 one gallon plant at the nursery for the shore house.  Oh well.

I was out early one morning to take advantage of the warm, soft light, and found some remaining dew.

Then, a couple of days later, although it was mid-day light I couldn’t resist the clouds.

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the field;  there were many taking advantage of the flowers’ treasures.

The swaths of coreopsis are by far the most spectacular feature right now but there are other species present.  For a selection CLICK HERE.

APRIL SHOWERS BRING A HIGH TIDE

One morning after the recent nor’easter I went camera-ing.  What had been the shoal waters of Sharp’s Walk (Run) had changed.  The tide had come in.  



It was nice to see the swirling waters, and the rain, having washed away the dust, had made the greens more vivid.

 

Even more important there was a new set of wildflower varieties along the red trail.

 

The trails were still there but some required special “navigation”.

Just follow the red trail marks.

ON THE TRAILS

I spent about an hour last Sunday morning on the trails along Sharp’s Run at Medford Leas, enjoying seeing the awakening of plants and trees.  It’s nice to see the feathery foliage emerging on the trees but our lack of rain shows in the shallow Sharp’s Run.

Here’s a Redbud.  It wasn’t on the trails; it’s along the walk in front of the Estaugh Building but it was too pretty against a cloud pattern of branches to be left out.

 

Back on the Red Trail here’s a crab apple that I photographed last week and, below, the same branch last Sunday.  This is the trail where I watch a local walk her several exhuberant Jack Russell terriers and her collie most mornings.  Last month one morning I watched five deer move smartly down this trail, and last week a Red Fox crossed my grass and headed for the trail.

The Red Trail Crabapple (see above) a week later.

There are lots of wildflowers happy to be here along the Yellow Trail.  Here are two for whose names I’m in debt to Maggie Heineman.

Spring Beauty

Spring Cress Cardamine Bulbosa

MEANDERING AT MEDFORD LEAS

There are about five miles of woodland trails on our 165+ acre campus and I thought I’d better get started.  Saturday was a beautiful day so I tried a one mile section.  I flushed three white tail deer and encountered squishy reminders that there is an adjacent flood plain.

Sharp’s Run borders the south edge of the campus on its way to the southwest branch of Rancocas Creek.  During last week’s rain the Run had risen enough to flood the entrance from Route 70, closing it  for a while.  The bridge above was undoubtedly under water.

For part of the trail I found myself on a steep-sided  embankment well above the flood plain.  Well, says the railroader, this is not a natural formation;  there must have been a railroad through here.  Sure enough, the 5.95 mile Mount Holly, Lumberton, and Medford Railroad served these communities and interchanged at Medford with the Camden and Atlantic (City) Railroad, ca 1870. 

Anyway, the leaves above are one of the few spots of color remaining in the woods as we enter the unsaturated gray-brown, bare branch season. But, returning on a campus paved road there was an attractive colorful planting of winter pansies in front of drying grass plumes. 

The unusual black-stemmed plant is a night-blooming globus electricus.

 

And a campus cluster of red berry provided a bright spot.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS AT THE NEW BergiesPlace

I’m in the new town house at Medford Leas and the holiday season is upon us.  So, I’ve placed the candles in the windows and hung the wreath.

Home For The Holidays

But it’s not as peaceful as the picture suggests.  Although we’ve made some progress it’s still chaotic inside.

The preparation and the event were stressful (an inadequate word).  I got through it only with Sigrid’s massive help and Bob’s as well.  My other new best friends are the guys from Hometown Moving in Lumberton.  They were pleasant and professional and amazed me with their cheerfullness through a long day of heavy lifting and carrying during which I felt guilty at every heavy box they handled.  They took on a partial load Tuesday and arrived with two vans and the rain on Wednesday.  By four PM it was no longer their problem; it was ours.

The Hometown Moving Company men and one honorary member.

 The first task was to find the box in which Pearl had been moved and release her.  That done, Barbara had left a Manhattan for me in the frig along with a frozen lasagna.  There was a bed for Pearl and me that night, and breakfast the next morning.  By Saturday morning the IT folks at Medford Leas had me back on the air, relieving my separation anxieties.  Now what had been days of sorting and packing has become days of unpacking and resorting.  Even though the garage floor is already piled with empty boxes there are still boxes in every room, up in the loft, and down in the basement.

Boxes to be emptied and shelves to be filled.

The digital darkroom cometh. Pearl helps.

 
I’ve already enjoyed a coffee outside on the rear deck;  I’m revelling in the light that fills the rooms after the shadows in my tree-sheltered Box Hill; I’m enjoying driving about “in the country”; and I’m genuinely glad to be here.