Monday, September 29, 2014

Two Days' Worth

Yesterday we drove up into the higher mountains north of here to visit friends who live up there and to go hiking with them on one of their favorite trails.  Spectacular!  And a wonderful time visiting with them and two of their other friends.  I drew all along the trail whenever we took little pauses.  Everyone collected seeds and other good things to draw for me, and I would quickly draw them while we  rested.  On the left is a very poorly drawn waterfall with a tree growing out of a kind of island in the middle of the wide stream of falling water.  It's called Crabtree Falls, which is also the name of the trail.  It falls almost straight down from around 3 stories up.  The pool at the bottom is rocky and dark.  We sat on a little footbridge at the bottom and looked straight into the tumbling water.

Further down the trail one of our friends found a deep burgundy and orange caterpillar that none of us could identify.  Then I found a fragment of a rather large snail shell.  Later I found a whole shell of one of these.  I had never seen such large snails around here so far inland and so high up.  At the bottom of the right side of the page are some drawings of cinquepin oak capsules.  It turns out they ARE dehiscent, which many of you know is one of my favorite words these days.  The prickly, chestnut-like capsule spontaneously splits in half at a certain point in its maturing.  Drawing 3257 shows one just beginning to split;  3256 shows one partly opened;  and 3258 shows a fully opened and empty capsule, which resembles a toilet seat with the lid up and a prickly toilet seat cover.

While we were lying on the ground gasping at the end of the hike (a sign at the trail head describes this trek as "strenuous"), we found ourselves in a nest of acorns.  The mast crop is huge this year, which, according to many people, is a sign of a cold winter.  I found a couple of sprouting acorns, including an acorn that had two roots coming out of a split in the shell-- twins!  I pried the shell off carefully to see if there were really two plant starts or if it was a single plant with two roots.  As you can see from drawing 3261, these are fraternal twins-- two separate plants.

We got home far too late for me to feel like posting, so I saved yesterday's for today and kept right on drawing.  Today I drew some of the things I picked up but didn't have time to draw yesterday-- some cinquepin leaves and a wild magnolia pod (all slickly black from recent rain and dampness with opened seed compartments and no seeds left).  While I was drawing Jesse ambled over to my desk, made a heroic leap right into the middle of everything, tried to drink some pigment water before I could whisk it out of his reach, made a nest of drawings, and went to sleep.

I drew him many times badly as he kept moving and moving.  I decided to count them even in their lameness because this is a 10,000 drawings project, not a 10,000 good drawings project.

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