This morning I was greeted by a tiny bit less than an inch of snow here on the mountain. I skipped yoga (!!) and spent the morning walking and enjoying the sounds of snow. Okay, mainly the sounds of birds enjoying the new, white blanket. Many were robins, and cedar waxwings gathering in the tree tops, exchanging stories of how this winter has been mighty wimpy so far. They agreed with me. The winter is still young. There is still hope.
This first picture, above, is of greenbrier. There’s loads of it up here. It is a native, and though many people don’t like it, it has numerous benefits. Greenbrier provides good cover for small animals, and some animals eat the leaves and stems. Deer, beaver, and rabbits are three of the animals. That they eat this plant, impresses me. Those stems, complete with thorns, must be mighty tough. There is an impressive number of birds that enjoy the berries during the winter, along with squirrel, raccoon and possum.
These red fruits, are rose hips, from a plant that I really wish would just go away. It is a non-native, invasive. Rosa multiflora produces white flowers with yellow centers during its short blooming period. It forms an impenetrable mass, spreads rapidly and has very unfriendly thorns that are hooked backward, making being snagged an unpleasant experience. I’m waiting and hoping. There is a virus that is attacking these walls of thorns, slowly decreasing its population here in the Blue Ridge. I’m sorry that the same virus may be putting your garden rose bushes in jeopardy, but I am cheering it on, in the case of rosa multiflora.
Another plant that I captured in pixels on my walk this morning, smooth sumac. Among the plants that grow up here, I have many favorites. This is one. My favorite time for this sumac is winter, when birds enjoy its brilliant red berries. Cardinals, and many types of woodpeckers are among the visitors to the small trees.
Snow still covers my dirt, twisty turny, steep mountain road, but tomorrow morning I’ll be heading down to go back to yoga class. My “snow day” was a total pleasure. Yoga will be tomorrow’s total pleasure!