Monday, June 18, 2012

LIttle Wabash River Nature Preserve, Allen County
     A recent nature hike took us to Little Wabash River Nature Preserve in Allen county, near Roanoke, Indiana.  This area is former farmland, but you'd never know it now.  The former owner created a pond and hand planted many different varieties of trees.
A panoramic view of Little Wabash's pond and surrounding trees.  All of this was created on farmland  by the land's previous owner.
What was once perhaps corn and soybeans is now a well developed woodland.
Look at the variety of leaves in this photo!
This preserve contains cedar, cottonwood, willow, birch, oak, maple, spruce, basswood, hickory, beech, elm, tulip, black cherry, sweet gum, dogwood, sumac and cypress.  I wish I had known about this place when doing that pesky leaf-identification project in 5th grade!!
One of the only signs that this forest was planted by man - this cedar lined entrance path.  
      Even though this land no longer produces commercial crops, my little band of hikers found something to harvest...

Legend has it that the Greeks discovered raspberries in the 1st century BC, when they noticed them growing on a mountainside in Turkey. But people didn’t grow and eat raspberries back then like they do today.  Instead, the roots and blossoms of wild raspberry plants were used to make eye ointments, astringents, and teas for stomach and throat problems.
Raspberries made their way to America by the late 1700s, and commercial production of this tasty fruit was soon on the rise.  Today, people can’t seem to get enough of the them, like Hank here!  
Hank does't care that raspberries aren't considered a true berry, he just cares that they are tasty! Unlike true berries which have a single pericarp (the edible outside layer), raspberries are an "aggregate fruit" since they are actually a collection of smaller seeded fruits called "drupelets." A single raspberry has an average of 100 drupelets, each with it's own tiny seed inside.  

     With our tastebuds satisfied for the moment, we trekked on through the woods hoping to catch a glimpse of the deer this area is known for.  This preserve is commonly a crossroads for white-tailed deer, and is actually closed from November through January for permitted deer hunting.  But alas, we saw no deer today.  

Ferns near to the edge
the border, the field, the wood
the dappled shadow

~A haiku by Raymond Foss
     Perhaps our next journey into the nature of Indiana will bring us closer to seeing the illusive white-tailed deer.  Our hopes are high!  Come along with us...

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