Over Thanksgiving break I visited a new place near my home in Warner, New Hampshire. Here is a map showing where my place is:
A Description of my new place inspired by the style of Aldo Leopold:
The leaf litter of late November crackles underfoot as I weave through oak and hemlock stands. A warm breeze greets me, comfortable yet unusual for the time of year. I meet a stone wall, built generations ago by farmers who are now long gone. The stone has stayed constant through the passing of years and seasons, the granite remains relatively unmoved even through drastic change of the surrounding landscape. I follow the wall, until I reach a clearing on the western side of the wall, a scar across the landscape from a recent timber harvest.
There is a strong juxtaposition of landscapes around the wall, one side lined with a growing stand of trees, while the other is bare and open. A few songbirds flit amongst the oaks that remain to my left, seemingly indifferent to the approach of winter, while to my right I see the telltale signs of deer browsing on the saplings that have just began to appear where a forest used to stand.
I look to the sky, thin clouds hanging in a blue sky. I see no birds, but their voices can be heard from the surrounding trees, a chorus of low calls and whistles. The sun is low on this late autumn afternoon, casting a pale gold over the entire landscape. After sitting for awhile, I leave, pondering the wall, the clearing, and the remaining forest, thinking of the people who have been here before and who might be here in the future.
A comparison of my place in New Hampshire to my place in Burlington in the style of Mary Holland:
A standout difference between the ecology of the two places is the proximity of water. My place in Burlington is right on the Winooski, whereas my place in New Hampshire is relatively far from any body of water, which affects the geology and species composition of both areas, as well as the phenology of both those places.
The place I’ve been visiting on the intervale shows telltale signs of its location on a riverbank. The soil is dark, moist and sandy from sediment that the Winooski has carried through the area. The only tree species that is present right along the bank is the silver maple, which is suited to proximity to water. The rich soil supports an abundance of herbaceous vegetation as well, though most of it has been claimed by frost at this point. However, the sheltered location has meant that it has been a little behind the surrounding area in terms of change towards winter.
My place in New Hampshire is on a somewhat elevated location, and lies on granite bedrock covered by a thin layer of sandy loam. The area is not as rich with vegetation, and the dominant trees are Eastern Hemlock, White pine, with a few Red and White Oaks mixed in. There is little understory where the forest hasn’t been disturbed, and where it has been cleared some grasses and and saplings are struggling to grow in the poor soil. The most prominent sign of wildlife is deer browse and an active bird population. Nearly all leaves are off the trees, and although it has been unseasonably warm the area still is inicative of late fall.
Though both places I’ve visited are relatively close geographically, they are very different in terms of ecology and phenology. There is a diverse range of ecosystems, even within northern New England.
Here are some photos of my new place in New Hampshire: