Exploring fields and woods in winter

This is a good time to be outdoors exploring the fields and woods. There is so much to see that will be buried in snow later on. But you may ask, what is there to see?

a tree with snow on the ground next to a body of water: Old sugar maples have craggy bark.

© Henry Homeyer
Old sugar maples have craggy bark.

Trees, winter weeds, animal footprints, signs of insects, shelf fungi on trees, evergreen woodland plants and more. If I had to choose one person to show me the outdoors in winter, it would be Donald W. Stokes, who wrote “A Guide to Nature in Winter,” that covers all these topics and more.

text, letter: A great book for exploring the winter landscape.

© Henry Homeyer
A great book for exploring the winter landscape.

I find that learning the names and characteristics of plants and animals makes them more interesting. Many people look at all evergreen conifers and call them “pine trees.” But if you know the difference between a white pine and a Canadian hemlock or a balsam fir, you can decide if you want to grow one or the other on your property.

Donald Stokes’ book explains that if you learn to identify the six most common deciduous trees and the six most common trees with needles or cones, you will know 80{ac967ad544075fb2f6bcea1234f8d91da186cac15e616dc329e302b7c7326b8c}

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