Monday, August 25, 2008

Fort Hill

Each day I spend time on our land.
The trails into the woods and fields have become extensions of our home--as if a long hallway extended through and beyond the wall, into fresh air. Without effort, I step along, ducking under a small oak branch or skirting a reaching rose—navigating with ease.
Knowing what I will find before I find it.

Fort Hill State Memorial is a National Natural Landmark a short drive from our southwestern Ohio home. A ceremonial earthwork enclosure built atop a large hill almost 2000 years ago by the Hopewell civilization, a prehistoric culture of the American Middle West, now a 1200-acre preserve.

The walls have grown over with centuries’ soil and seeds.
The people have passed.
But safe within now, is this land.

Around it-- miles of trails to explore.

Paw-paws fill the shaded understory, their rounded green fruit a Native American favorite.

From beside the darkened trail I hear footsteps in the dry leaves—and a very large black beetle scurries out of sight.

Broad-Necked Root Borer
Prionus laticollis

Magnificent fungi in all shapes, colors and sizes beg for a closer examination.

Amanita sp.

Boletus sp.


And in the quiet streamside, are flowers.

Collected in photographs, and studied late into the night—for much of this I do not know.
But in stretching my legs, I have stretched my mind.

Tomorrow my land will look different.

Please help me identify my collection.
Photos enlarge with a click.

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NW Nature Nut said...

Today, while I collected photos of insects, I wondered if naturalists who collected them and pinned them years ago felt like I do, collecting photos. I love to take lots of photos, put them on the computer, crop, enlarge and then pull out all my field guides and go at it. I want to no who they all are. So much to learn....

nina said...

Yes, there is so much to learn.
But I find looking through the guides very helpful. Often I see something later that I can easily recognize having seen it there first.

But what about the images that don't quite match a picture? :-)

KatDoc said...


I am no good with fungi, except that I do know Amanita species are quite deadly.

Your yellow flower is a "DYF" and you need foliage photos to help with the ID. I have been working on yellow flowers myself lately, and am getting more and more frustrated by all the subtle differences.

I didn't realize that Fort Ancient was a Hopewell era earthworks. I will have to visit there and add it to my "Life List" of Indian mounds.


nina said...

Kathi--Fort Hill is a wonderful hike. Sure, there's the history of the prehistoric culture there, but the Hill itself has become a nature preserve, dense and leafy--not mowed like the grassy "Serpent Mounds" in other Ohio sites.
As a result, it stands out as a prime nature hike. A teensy bit strenuous, uphill on a muggy August day, but what you'll see--FANTASTIC.
Covered with Pawpaws, too!

Anonymous said...

I tend to take photos of things I do not know as well. It helps teach you about the beauty and fascinating diversity of nature.

nina said...

Yes, scienceguy, I take all sorts, from ALL angles. At home, I'm persuing carefully.
The more I know, the more I have to learn.

Getting out to a different area opens my eyes to what I may overlook here. I see it so often, I worry I may not be observing it well.

RuneE said...

It would have been a pleasure to help you out, but that is beyond my knowledge. All I can to is sit back and enjoy the pictures.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow, that is one big beetle. I have never had the luck to find one that big. The fungus is interesting too.

ellen b said...

Nina, it seems you live in a perfect spot for your adventurous spirit. Enjoy your foraging...

Granny Smith said...

I hope everyone who visits this blog will enlarge the photos. Your commentary is as beautiful as is this glimpse of a special place.

Ivar Ivrig said...

I like yor F indeed. But I'm sorry I can't help you out.

leslie said...

I love getting out in nature, too, but alas don't know everything I see. I should do as you did and take photos to post and maybe someone can tell me what these things are. Great post!

me ann my camera said...

This is a wonderful collection of nature photos. My collection this week is of fountain pens.

ann at
Gallimaufry Gleanings

Denise said...

An awesome insight.
The photos are best enlarged, amazing.

Bear Naked said...

Your F photographs are Fantastic.
But I don't care For the beetle.
He looks Fierce.

Bear((( )))

Gary said...

Great detail in the enlarged photo's - I love all close up photo's of bugs and beetles (Not too keen on seeing them close up in real life though!!)

Great post.

Bodge's Bulletin

gaz said...

cool post. bugs are a sure sign that 'they' are amongst us!! ;-]

Robin Easton said...

Those fungi are incredibly beautiful. We've actually had a lot of them here in the southwest mountains this year due to a lot of rain. I go photo crazy over them. The shapes, colors and modes of growth are so varied and exotic.

Reader Wil said...

It's wonderful how you make a good documentary of the nature around you. It's almost the same as what Edith Holden did in her Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. She used her own drawings.

Powell River Books said...

Thank you for the lovely walk through Fort Hill. I too love to walk in nature near our cabin in Coastal BC. Today my contribution is about a special farm that used to located near my town in Coastal BC. I invite you to come see. -- Margy

Tommy V said...

great post I enjoyed it

Kathiesbirds said...

I always wondered what a paw paw was. I only know them from the children's song, "picking up paw paws, put them in your pocket...way down yonder in the paw paw patch." Can you actually eat them?