Last week, my family and I spent the weekend at my in-laws vacation “mountain” home in the foothills of North Carolina. Our time there was very relaxing and a great way to spend the last few days of my husband’s month-long recovery from his hand surgery. He returned to work this past Monday, and I am slowly getting back to my normal routine.
My in-law’s property includes 24 acres of hills and forests, which is the perfect place for hiking and seeing all kinds of specimens of nature. One of our days on their property was spent hiking the forests in search of ferns and mountain laurels. These plants grow in abundance throughout their wooded area, and we were given permission to dig up all that we wanted. Our goal was to bring back as many plantings as the trunk of our car could hold, take them home and transplant them into our own small woodland area.
The path we hiked was a long winding path with hills and valleys, typically used for an all-terrain vehicle to drive along. We located the various plants we wanted, and the next day we drove my in-laws Ranger vehicle back down the path to dig them up. As we drove along, something in the distance caught my eye, something peculiar growing on a young oak tree. It resembled a cotton ball. I don’t know what it is, maybe a spider sac, but I thought it was interesting.
While my husband searched for a chestnut tree sapling to dig up, he uncovered an Eastern Worm Snake hiding under a large rock. Worm snakes are non-venomous and only grow a bit larger than the one in the photo. They resemble earthworms; hence, the name worm snake. Of course, my son took an immediately liking to it, and wanted to hold it AND take it home! I replied with a firm “NO WAY!”
Funny how boys aren’t afraid of these kinds of things.
The back bed of the Ranger was filled with plenty of ferns; unfortunately, we only found two mountain laurels small enough to dig up and put in containers. The easy part was over. Next, we had to crowd them carefully into our trunk, get them home, and transplant them before they died.
After we arrived home, we planted the ferns along a bank at the edge of our wooded area. The two laurels were planted on the hill to the left. They should look nice once they get well established. If for some reason some don’t survive, our only loss was the labor involved. But there was really no loss. All together, we had a great time during the hike, the digging and the planting.