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The Daily Bucket is a place where we get together and share the things we've noticed in the natural world  around us. It might be that robins are building a nest in the old apple tree out back or that the crickets outside your window are keeping you awake at night or that coyote pups up on the ridge are beginning to sing with their parents every evening. Doesn't matter what it is, nothing noted is too big or too small, so please join in and tell us what is happening in your neck of the woods. Everyone is welcome. All we ask is that you give us an idea of where you're located.
Seattle. September 17, 2013.

K organized a moss identification walk in the Forest a couple years ago. The scheduled day rose up cold and drizzly, and only K and I and the moss expert showed up. Ten minutes into the walk I found myself lagging behind them as they bounced from log to log, exclaiming over each new species they found. The borrowed hand lens was awkward through my glasses, and I found the plethora of new information bewildering. So many different kinds of moss in such small areas.

I bailed after a half hour to walk in my own way. I still can't identify the different mosses layered in the Forest, but have since learned to sit and watch them as they go about their business.

The mosses are the first to colonize the broken places in the Forest - the places where Aplodontia has colonized and stripped the Forest floor, where Forest restoration has left bare ground after the marauding ivy and laurel and holly has been pulled out and left for compost, the places where trees have fallen.

It's only a year or so before the first scrim of green appears, flat and undifferentiated.

September 17, 2013. Nurse log.September 17, 2013. Nurse log. The Forest. Seattle.
But that simple scrim of green holds the surface of the broken places together, protecting the matrix from erosion while at the same time gathering the moisture that allows it own self to develop and grow, roots down into the wood or the ground, beginning the process of decomposition that is the cradle of renewal.

The canopy sheds throughout the year, bringing down conifer needles and deciduous leaves, the seeds of both. These catch in the tangle of growing moss, rot into a thin layer of humus, provide a place for the ferns to grow.

September 17, 2013. Nurse log with Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza).September 17, 2013. Nurse log. The Forest. Seattle.
The fern stolons dig deeper into the matrix, softening it, making it a welcome place for more complex inhabitants.
September 17, 2013. Nurse log with lichen, youngFringecup (Tellima grandiflora), and Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) seedlings .September 17, 2013. Nurse log. The Forest. Seattle.
And under this there is even more: spiders, pillbugs, springtails, the larvae of myriad other insects. Slugs. Snails. Worms. All of which support the other creatures that inhabit and migrate through the Forest, and all of them contributing to the balanced breaking down and resurrection of the Forest, each in their own way.

September 17, 2013. Moss grows in the Forest.


Now it's your turn. Everyone is welcome here - what's happening in your natural neighborhood? I'll be back after noonish PDT.


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