February 2014 at Longleaf Preserve (retrospective)

I know we’re well into March already, but want to go ahead and post these photos from February in hopes of having a representative photo gallery for each month of the year. Seasons buff and polish us with our expectations and their surprises. I hope to be out in the woods with a camera later this week, but those photos will go in the March envelope.

Today was gorgeous: low seventies, blue sky, and soft breeze. Buck and I worked at the conference table from 8 this morning until 3 in the afternoon, then grabbed our cutters and hit the road between house and gate to continue our vine-slaying and streambed-clearing project.

I’m nursing dings and scratches from vines that tugged back and then slapped me in the face with their thorns, but am proud to say we rescued a glorious spreading oak and a vibrant (albeit struggling) magnolia from the strangulating vines.

We ate spicy red beans, brown rice, and corn bread back at the conference table while we continued to grind through the final reading of Buck’s manuscript. We’ve completed 340 pages in the last several days — only 60 to go! We’re going to celebrate early tonight by going to bed early, eating Dove dark chocolates, and reading.

Here, then, February in the pine woods:

The growth tip on this young Longleaf pine is getting ready to rocket skyward.
Brilliant berries on a Yaupon bush.
An area we call the “Iron Rock forest.” We never thought anything could grow here, much less this lush colony of mostly volunteer and a few planted Longleafs.





Slash pine growing up through the middle of a palmetto stand. I’ve been watching it since it was barely more than a twig.


Various stages of growth in the forest.


The Iron Rock Forest is a video about the area at Longleaf we call the Iron Rock Forest. I made it with my little Vimeo way back in some other year — 2009, I think. It gives you some perspective for how the trees are growing.

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