Curious Friday: Kicking Leaves


It starts with a spot of color here
A dash of color there
That builds up
To all the true colors of leaves
That give a display
As plants prepare for winter


Winds howl, leaves fly
Piles and mounds of leaves gather
Why is hard to resist
A walk thru
Kicking leaves for the sound and a simple joy


Truth be told, out of respect for my neighbors I do mow and shred my leaves, to make a mulch like a forest duff


In Search of the Red Spotted Newt


In my travels and in my work I’m always in search of the Eastern Red Spotted Newt (technically at this stage (photo above) in its’ life it is called a Eft) though where I’m looking it isn’t the habitat that the newt might spend time

“The eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is a common newt of eastern North America. They frequent small lakes, ponds, and streams or near-by wet forests. They can coexist in an aquatic environment with small, noncarnivorous fish, as their skin secretes a poisonous substance when the newt is threatened or injured. They have lifespans of 12 to 15 years in the wild, and may grow to five inches in length. They have 3 stages of life, two of which are aquatic. Adults mate in early spring out of the water and lay their eggs (100 or more) in the water on underwater plants. Larvae hatch in early spring and leave the water in late summer and transform into efts. The efts live on land for up to four years. They do not have gills, but like all newts and salamanders, must keep their skin moist. They are most often seen crawling around after a heavy rain. Efts eat small insects (especially springtails), snails, and other small arthropods. In Winter, efts will hibernate under logs or stones.
As they grow older, the efts grow darker. They begin to look more like adult Eastern Newts. When they are ready, they return to the water and become adults. They will live the rest of their lives in and around the water.
Adult newts eat worms, insects, small crayfish and other crustaceans, snails, mussels, tadpoles, other amphibian larvae, amphibian eggs, and fish eggs.”


For me it is a personal search for a little more than 36 years ago I moved from NYC to NH. My then family and I had to decide whether to stay or move back, to rent and own, when we heard about some land in the woods with a small cabin on it. It was middle of August, it had rain that day and when we got out of the car to visit it, there were two red newts waitng for us, wiggling on the forest duff. At that moment I fell in love with that place and woods around it and lived there for almost 27 years.
So when I do find my red newt I plan to thank it for it past relatives who had lead me on another path to a new life with all of its’ goods and bads, for who I have become and who I will be.