June 16 I woke up before 6am, the almost full daylight doesn’t help, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Before I turned off my laptop last night, I wanted to search “ripple patterns in sedimentary rock” but forgot. (We spent the night on the island where I have internet.) So instead of getting back to sleep I thought of those rocks at the land and then of the granite out crops on the island. Then of Lake Iroquois. Then of the mile high ice cap over everywhere I now hike that melted only 20,000 years ago, less I think. So I got up and looked at our contour map that includes both our land and island and saw the ridges in both ran more or less parallel to the river. Then I got on-line and found nothing of value in my search. Geologist never seem to descend to being particular which I guess is a testament to the earth’s violent past. Interesting features abound everywhere but all has been scrambled by catastrophes. After lunch I took a nap to catch up on my sleep and woke again this time to roar of super-speed boats on their annual inane roar around the river. I don’t shy from kayaking when they are about as a form of protest but it was too hot to be on the river this afternoon so I pulled on my boots and headed to the woods where I could see rocks, among other things. I immediately veered off Antler Trail and kept to the granite plateau until I got too hot. I followed a deer trail down to the woods and saw my first curiosity: a huge patch of feathery grass growing over 2 feet high in the shade.
The plateau gives way to lines of granite but the sighting of an oriole flying up in a tree dictated my path at first. We don’t have orioles on our land. I couldn’t get a photo. I also heard and probably briefly saw a vireo. Then I came to a bit of a granite cliff flanking the high meadow that I usually cross on Antler Trail. I found a good rock to sit on and listen for birds. I could hear towhee calls. Then I saw a deer across the valley and we played peek-a-boo for several minutes
before it stomped away snorting then leaping off. I followed a deer trail across the meadow and found myself on Antler Trail. Instead of following it, I found the creek in the middle of the meadow and followed it into the cool woods downstream (though the creek was dry.) In deep snows this has long been my path to the ponds -- no sense going up and over little ridges in deep snows. And with normal snow depth, I often came down here tracking fishers. Years ago I hiked here in the spring and summer. It takes a long time to get to know the woods and the first step is to become completely familiar with the acres that are close by. My first stop in these woods today was our famous “porcupine tree”
where in 1977 or so, Leslie and I spied a huge animal that reminded us of a sloth that we saw in Costa Rica. We were greenhorns and had never seen a porcupine. Our excited calls to the Nature Center prompted the naturalist Bob Wakefield to come over and see the porcupine, which he did admit was big for a porcupine. In that hike years ago we approached the tree from the ridge. For all my bragging about knowing these woods, I probably couldn’t get right to the this tree from that direction which I probably could have done until 10 years ago. I found a rock to sit on and listened to birds. I heard an alarm call high in a tree and a chipmunk kept repeating its unhappiness. I thought I was the cause for the alarm then a large brown bird, hawk or owl, flew under the canopy. That set off another bird alarm. I assumed it was an owl because it flew so noiselessly but when it flew off I heard its feathers so it was probably a hawk. After it left the birds soon went about their business, and I saw a large gray bird but couldn’t identify it. I began hearing a wood thrush too. My next stop was a granite cliff that has some small caves which was always an attraction in the early days of our hiking here. The granite cliffs on the island are more dramatic than the sandstone ones at our land. It’s harder for granite to blend in with the surroundings.
But the surrounding vegetation does try to latch onto the granite. I found a yellow birch growing out of the middle of the cliff which caught my fancy. If I were to “reign in a nutshell and be the king of infinite space” this would be my realm.
Of course, I saw old porcupine poop in the caves
and out on the rocks were they must have spent hours sunning.
There was an elderberry bush at the base of the rock cliff.
Come to think of it, I’ve seen other elderberries similarly situated under other cliffs. The creek in this portion of the valley had a trickle of water. I joined the flow
then ended the diversion from my usual routes and continued onto the Big Pond. In the dense thicket below the pond, I caught a glimpse of a towhee and right in my path a gray tree frog on a honeysuckle leaf.
I was able to get by it without disturbing it. When I got up to the Big Pond I saw a deer gobbing up vegetation in the upper reaches of the pond.
It kept eating until I started to cross the dam and it slowly moved off into the meadow. The pond is almost completely choked with vegetation, a type of pond weed I think.
The only thing I noticed walking along the dam is that there is no deer trail up on the dam as usual. The pond is hardly an impediment to deer and they have plenty of new green grass out on the old pond bottom that they can browse as they go up into the woods. Last summer otters were still visiting the Lost Swamp Pond and during the hottest days my imagination was fired with the idea that the otters had a shady trail through the woods that took them to a latrine on the peninsula out in South Bay. After checking the Lost Swamp Pond, expecting to see no animal signs needing investigation, I would take that imaginary otter trail. But when I sat on the rock overlooking the mossy cove latrine, I saw that the turf and dead leaves and grasses had been scraped up
and beside the scraping there were two smears of what could be otter scats.
Over the years I’ve often seen smear like this in the otter latrines along the pond. If otters indeed leave these scats then it suggests that the otters aren’t getting many fish in the summer which doesn’t make sense. The largest scat looked like it was smeared with a knife.
The other scats were all stringy and all around a small rock and surrounding pine straw. An array like this is quite typical of otters.
Before looking for other scats I got excited by what looked like cut honeysuckle boughs on the beaver lodge in the middle of the pond behind the dam.
I even saw something swimming toward it, a muskrat. I walked up the shore to get a closer look which forced a small porcupine to try to squeeze itself between two rocks.
With a closer look at the lodge, the vegetation on it looked like it was growing out of the lodge.
I didn’t see any signs of beavers along the shore, a likely spot where vegetation might be cut for carrying to the lodge. I must say that even though I miss the beavers, I enjoy sitting by this pond as much as I always have. Today there were many birds, phoebe, hawk, kingbird, to try to focus my camcorder on. I managed to “capture” a cedar waxwing.
The southeast reach of the pond forms the background of the photo and in the main it is choked with vegetation. I walked around the west end of the pond up to the dam, nothing seemed touched by beavers.
This is the hottest day of the year and I took that imaginary otter root through the woods which kept me in the shade almost all the way home.
June 17 beautiful morning threatening to become a hot day. My current resolve is to hike in the woods and break the habit of going up and down the road. So I left the house and then went down the Ripple Rock trail which can be walked briskly but I stopped to clear a dead tree trunk and, of course, look at the rippled rocks one more time. I want to keep taking the same path across the valley. Although the valley is narrow where I have been crossing it, on a dewy morning my pants and boots would get soaked crossing. With a beaten path I might have half a chance to emerge from it dry. I’m hoping a patch of beautiful ferns on the west side of the beautiful little pool is enough in the shade that they won’t collect too much dew. I saw a honeysuckle-high bush that wasn’t honeysuckle and had delicate white blooms that weren’t like a nannyberry, so I took photos to help in identifying it.
After checking the books, I think it is New Jersey tea. I got my heart beating climbing smartly up the ridge, so there was some morning exercise. Today I turned left when I got to the top of the ridge, propped up some old ironwood logs that I cut two years ago and didn’t haul out. I’ll come back later with a saw and see if they are now rotten. I turned right at the bloodroot patch, no blooms of course, just huge leaves. I went through the woods where I cut several dead irons two, or was it three, years ago. I expected to see easy pathways but the area is beginning to grow over and I couldn’t even find the old path to the rock stairs down to the next valley. We made or discovered most of our trails in this part of the land several years ago when we spent much more time at our two upper ponds. I suspect that if I had come from that direction, I would have had no trouble finding the trails, to a point. When I got down on the well vegetated flat, mostly golden rods and birch trees, I crossed it hoping to pick up a deer trail. Years ago there was a big one. Today I couldn’t find a hint of it. So I meandered up to the old apple tree hoping to pick up an old trail that would take me to the Turtle Bog. I couldn’t find it. When a promising path to the right ended at thick junipers, a nice destination for deer but not me, I cut back directly to the left expecting to pick up a trail through more juniper, but I didn’t. I have been under the impression the junipers were dying back on our land. That impression is erroneous. Then I happened to bump into the most beautiful section of the sandstone ridge with a 12 feet cliff. I sat and tried to collect myself. Looking to my right, I saw a curious wooden eye looking at me.
Looking to my left I saw a basswood rooted to the middle of the sandstone ridge.
Just as on the island yesterday, I’ve been around here too long and wasn’t lost. One winter day I tracked an otter down this way. Again, just as on the island, my many winter hikes makes the lay of the land so familiar that this temporary roar of vegetation is distracting but not confusing. So I went over the low part of the ridge and as I expected I avoided junipers and got down to the old trail we call the Appleweg that passes some beautiful vernal pools that still have water in them.
I would have like to have sat and contemplated that but I was wearing a teeshirt and already both hands were bloody from swatting mosquitoes and deer flies. I soon saw that the Appleweg needs some work but it was easy walking along this side of the ridge where I had also cut ironwoods including one in the winter that I should begin sawing up. Not far from that ironwood were some stepping stones of sandstone rocks
and I saw some ripple rock including one small rock with ripples on two planes.
I’ll go back and try to cut off the outer plane, which already has a fissure, as a souvenir and I am curious to see if the ripples continue on the plane under that. I found an old ironwood log I forgot to collect last year. I carried that, more exercise, to the pathway up to the Turtle Bog. That path is well worn and I sat and contemplated the bog for a half hour. I heard just one towhee, and a blue jay flew low over the bog. A doe and her fawn walked along the other side of the bog. I could just see them through the bushes. But my main enjoyment was trying to get a photo of one of the many frogs that jumped into the pond as I walked along it. As frogs go, wood frogs probably since they are hatched here, these are the most shy. Twice I saw triangular dimples in the water, nose and two eyes, but when I pointed my camcorder the frog ducked. Plus the camera balks at focusing on still water with vivid reflections of the leafy trees above. Maybe the lumps in the water in the photo below are frogs.
Then I took the short walk back to the house on well worn trails having gain perhaps more exercise for the mind than for the body.
June 20 Yesterday, I was busy most of the day cleaning the rental house on the island and didn’t get to our land until after 7pm just as dark clouds rolled in but we only had light rain. I walked down to the Big Pond and waited for a beaver to swim out. The day before yesterday, the 18th, I devoted a good bit of time to waiting for the beavers to appear in the Deep Pond. I sat by the dam early in the evening and since that view is getting obscured by the growing vegetation, I waited along the west shore. No beavers appeared. I walked down to the edge of the west shore which sometimes prods a beaver to come out from under the knoll. None did. However, I did see a school of pumpkin seed sunnies, quite the largest I’ve seen in this pond, wiggling along the shore.
Then I came back to the pond after dinner, finally stepping away at 9pm to walk down the road. That’s when Leslie came down to it. She saw a beaver swim into the middle of the pond and when I glanced at the pond again after walking up and down the road, I didn’t see anything. Finally, yesterday, at 9:35pm, either the smaller beaver or the larger muskrat swam out. Since it didn’t seem to notice me as I stood right at the edge of the west shore of the pond, I first thought it was a muskrat but I could see its wake in the diminished light which attests to its being a beaver. I heard the whip-poor-will while walking along the road. The calls I’ve heard recently have been short. Last night it called about 30 times before flying off. We woke to a humid sunny morning filled with bird songs and after a walk up and down the road, we gazed at the Deep Pond. I couldn’t see the blooming water lily from the road (Leslie had asked about it), so I walked down to the west shore and saw it. As I walked over to the knoll thinking about whether to go up and over it and look at the beaver lodge, I heard a plop from where the beavers have this clearing under the shrubs, and the smaller beaver soon surfaced, swam slowly to the middle of the pond more toward the high east shore,
dove, and disappeared, though I didn’t wait long in the hot sun to see it reappear. Then I went up to the Third Pond where I could sit mostly in the shade and even enjoy a little breeze. I didn’t have long to wait to see a muskrat, It swam out of the burrow below me and began cutting grasses and collecting them in the back of its mouth. It always ducked its head in the water to cut as much of the grass stalk as it could.
And after that muskrat took a bouquet of grass into the hole in the bank, another came out so quickly that there must be two collecting grass for the burrow. Plus the second muskrat looked bigger and collected bigger stalks of grass.
I’d like to say definitively that these muskrats are carrying grass in for babies in the burrow but I can’t. Time will tell. I was impressed by the muskrats’ ability to cut grass and collect it in the back of its mouth while swimming. Every animal can stuff its face and some can store and carry food in their mouth. The muskrat does it with elegant fury.
Then I went up to the First and Second Ponds. On the way I saw a Blanding’s turtle, the second this year, about to cross the road.
Up between the ponds, I took photos of the swamp milkweed
and regular milk weed.
I also enjoyed the best crop of pickerel weed we’ve ever seen in the Teepee Pond. The usual clumps along the east shore of the Teepee Pond had expanded,
And I could see an even more luxuriant crop along the north shore. So I barged through some honeysuckle bushes along the north shore and got better photos of the most impressive stand.
But few of the flowery stalks had blossoms. A smaller clump right next to me had a few blooms.
When I went back down the road, I saw that the Blanding’s turtle had crossed to the other side. Other turtles always seem to tarry in the middle of roads and that may explain why Blanding’s turtles live so long. I got a good photo of it as it scoped the world on the other side of the road.
Since the temperature was climbing toward 90 and it was very humid, we spent the afternoon shopping in air conditioned stores and then swimming in the river. We came back at night and I sat down at the Deep Pond. I got there just as bullfrogs began their serious evening chorus, about 9 pm. But more serious for me was the whine of the mosquitoes which picks up when the evening crew gets active. The whine of mosquitoes always makes my old bites itch more. In the bushes behind me the catbirds were singing and in the trees above a few wood thrushes then hermit thrushes were singing. No beaver swam out. A muskrat carried some vegetation into the burrow at the east end of the dam.
June 21 Hot humid morning I headed off on the trail that goes from the house directly up into the Hemlock Cathedral. I cut this trail a few weeks ago and the problem is not wearing it down but connecting it to other trails. The Hemlock Cathedral plateau only extends about 100 yards. And at the far end of the vernal bog which is the trail at this dry time of year, there is no barbed wire marking the end of our land. Fortunately the bog ends right at the boundary line, so if you get beyond a gulley carpeted with dead leaves and small dead branches, then you are at the boundary line of our land, hence the end of the trail. I was about to scout a pathway to the west and the easy way down the slope there, which I’ve twice used, when I got the feeling that it might be wise not to stray too far from our sawdust toilet by the house. To pass the time while waiting, I took a video of the vireos feeding their fledglings. Their nest is a few feet behind our house. Most of the video I took is too dark but I got one segment showing the female feeding the fledglings, which seemed to be quick work. She did more looking than feeding.
Then she sat on the nest, which didn’t seem too comfortable as she kept adjusting herself, fluffing a bit, and then looking around for her relief.
Her mate sang from the nearby trees. She flitted off and he came in and fed the open mouths and quickly flew off. I still needed to stay near the house, so my next project was to try to cut off a slab of the ripple rock I discovered just off the Appleweg. I took my maul and a splitting wedge. The wedge looked to be too gross an instrument, but its blunt point did fit between the sheet of rippled rock and the rock behind. Much to my surprise I disturbed a nest of ants and many came running out of the cracks.
Moving the wedge a bit down from that riot, I tapped it lightly and broke off a small piece.
Which is not what I wanted. So I decided to come back another day with something that could slip between the rocks better. Meanwhile the ants were bringing their eggs out of danger.
I never thought of the these sandstone slabs being used by ants like bark, but it makes sense. The rocks are woodpecker proof. Indeed I came back the next day, the 22nd, and brought my big saw figuring its blade could fit between the sandstone planes. The saw didn’t make much difference and didn’t disturb any ants who appear to have found another home. I realized that getting the ripple rock separated would be difficult because a smaller rock was wedged against it. However, I found the I could break up that rock by pounding it with the maul and then I was able to roll out the big rock that had the fissured plane of ripples.
The big rock was just too big to carry back to the house, but seeing it freed from the wall of rocks prompted me to prospect the remainder of that cliff to see if I might find a portable sample of ripple rock,
I didn’t but I did see what might be a big plane of ripples covered with moss.
And I found a small rock with a square pattern of marks. These were not ripples on the surface of the stone but darker layers of sediment that also bulged out a bit at any surface of the rock.
Finally I saw another group of objects to study, exposed tree roots. I saw one that grew down a long face of rocks.
Now back to June 21 and my effort to keep busy while staying close to the sawdust toilet. I had another chore to do not far from the house. I cut a path to a rock on the shore of Teepee Pond that afforded a good view of the pickerel weed patch.
After lunch I went down to the Third Pond, and as I walked to the chair, I saw a muskrat hauling a large bouquet of vegetation, not grass, to its burrow.
When I moved my chair to a better position above the pond a huge frog jumped down from under it and into taller grass. I looked hard and finally saw it.
I sat for a while but the muskrat didn’t come back out.
June 23 I finished getting the house ready for renters which included cleaning off the poop left by a yellow warbler above the kitchen door. As I was cleaning I saw the offender. Leslie thinks it is getting revenge for my cutting down two small trees that were dwarfed by surrounding trees. We hardly noticed their absence; the warbler did and found a new place to poop. Meanwhile down at the dock a swallow dived at me. I blame my red cap for that but I am sure the swallow would prefer all of me out of the way. After lunch, I hiked out to check the beaver ponds. The heat and humidity are down but so is the barometer and clouds mushroomed up into a gentle thunder and rain. I bided my time in the woods and then faced the wet vegetation in the swamps. Rain followed by heat and humidity has excited the vegetable kingdom. There were some milkweeds blooming in the granite rock plateau of Antler Trail which I have never seen before.
When I took the photo I didn’t notice any similarity in the color of the milkweed and the granite. The usually low blueberry bushes are over knee high. Any part of my trail exposed to the sun has been closed over by surrounding vegetation. In the woods I saw some chanterelles and Indian pipes. When I got to the Big Pond dam, I once again flushed wood ducks, only this time there were only three, and one adult flew off and I am not sure if a smaller adult remained followed by one duckling or if a larger duckling was followed by one much smaller. The two struggled to swim through the pond weed, which choked the pond, though in my official portrait of the pond this day there is still some open water.
The passing shower makes the photo look refreshing but the photo doesn’t capture all the deer flies buzzing around me. While conditions have been optimal for most plants, the blue flag iris along the dam fizzled this year. The dam where it used to grow on or around has been too dry for two years. The iris evidently needs flooding to flourish, but many other plants are about to render the dam impassable since the deer can easily walk in the shallow pond behind it.
And the iris has not managed to get seeded down on the still damp or flooded flats behind the dam.
There is an arrowroots flowering here and there in what water remains behind the dam.
And here and there I could see muddy bottoms cleared of vegetation but no other signs of muskrats. Deer tracks suggest that deer are gobbing up the vegetation.
The back side of the dam had many bare spots. Last year turtles and then scratching coyotes kept grass from growing. Now, save for one area of turtle nests, there is bright green vegetation every where. The pond itself seems suitable mostly for ducks. There is too much vegetation above the water surface to let terns or other piscivores take a dive after fish. I believe I saw a cormorant in this pond last summer. Still it was beautiful and I would have lingered but for the deer flies. The Lost Swamp Pond looked about the same as the last time I was here, except the lodge in the middle pond looked like more leafy branches had been added to it.
And much like last time when I tried to figure that out, a muskrat showed that it was using the lodge. This time swimming away from it. Here is a photo of the lodge taken on June 16.
Factoring out the possible growing and dying of leaves on plants growing on the lodge, I still think it looks like something is putting cut boughs on the lodge. Since there are no other signs of a beaver doing any thing around the pond, perhaps the muskrats are doing for themselves what beavers often do to lodges in the summer, adding cooling shade. That suggested, I didn’t see any evidence of cut shrubs along the shore I could walk, which doesn’t scotch the idea because I can’t walk the bushy shore closest to the lodge. I should add that when the muskrat swam back to the lodge it was not hauling a shrub branch. A single beaver at this time of year when there is so much vegetation in the pond to eat can survive without cutting anything on shore. I’ll be patient. As I sat studying this I began to see rather broad ripples around the lodge and soon enough a snapping turtle emerged.
The turtle fell so violently back into the pond that I think another snapping turtle pulled it back in. The ripples going away from the lodge seemed enough for two contending snappers and they moved much farther out in the pond than the video shows. I hoped I might see the snapper or snappers when I walked around the west end of the pond, but I didn’t see any signs of them. As I approached the dam, I saw a muskrat swimming from the lodge by the dam out toward the middle of the pond. It wasn’t hauling grass much less a branch. (I think my muskrat theory is all wet.) The video below is short and shaky because the deer flies were all over me.
As for a beaver cutting branches, I saw no signs of beavers around the dam. Usually muskrats alone can keep the vegetation on a dam trimmed back somewhat but this dam’s vegetation looks completely unnipped.
I went down to the Upper Second Swamp Pond which is almost dry.
I could walk out on grass to the creek that comes down from the Lost Swamp Pond. On the way I saw definite raccoon tracks and then some tracks that were more puzzling
I usually describe the parallel tracks as turtle tracks but these seemed to make such a slight impact and a turtle that wide had to be pretty heavy.
So I think they are bird tracks with each line the tracks of one bird walking heel to toe, if you will. That also explains why there are 5 lines of tracks. Two turtles would only leave 4. Though the ground was soggy, I got close to the edge of the creek and took a photo of the old beaver lodge now behind 20 yards of bright green grass.
In some waterless beaver ponds, the beavers’ channels are deep enough to favor another type of vegetation and it is easy to see where the channels were. In this pond there seems to be a smooth bottom of silt. I last saw a beaver here in January 2009. Out of respect for the deer flies, I decided to head down to the East Trail Pond through the woods not through the meadow north of the Second Swamp Pond. Plus going straight into the woods from the Upper Second Swamp Pond dam I could easily angle down to the east end of the magnificent boulder that forms the head of a considerable ridge. I call that rounded end the head of the whale, though I suppose it looks more like the toes of some since severely truncated beast.
As I stood taking the photo, I heard something running through the woods behind me, rather loudly over the dead leaves. I turned and saw a fawn running toward me. It stopped about 10 yards in front of me and looked at me, fearlessly.
But briefly. Then it turned its head and kept looking behind.
I looked that way too and soon saw a doe browsing slowly in the woods about 40 yards from us.
When she was directly in front of us, the fawn ran toward her but stopped about 10 yards from her.
When she looked over at the fawn, she also saw me which prompted her to snort and run back in the direction she came. The fawn ran off in another direction, directly away from me.
I guess there are two interpretations for why the fawn didn’t run directly to the doe. She isn’t the fawn’s mother and it isn’t familiar with her. Or she was its mother but it had been instructed to keep a distance. Perhaps it was being weaned, although it would seem a bit early for that. Then I turned back to the rock and thanks to that brief shower we had I was almost unable to climb up it. I had a pleasant walk to the East Trail Pond. Since it was only 4:30 pm, I didn’t expect to see beavers out in the pond but thought I might see turtles. I took a photo of the dam which other than a possibly cut cattail or two didn’t show signs of much activity.
I headed up the ridge and sat on the north ridge from where I used to see the turtles. I didn’t see any and the mossy islands where I used to see them are now larger and grown over with grass or ferns.
For years I prized the slope I was sitting on because it was shady, but the beavers tree cutting and girdling,
has brought sun to the slope. Not much else is growing up on the dry slope because of the sunlight.
Looking out into the pond, I wonder if the new cattails in the southeast end of it were slow to grow up because the pond had been so deep most of the spring. The dead cattails make a line that looks out of place in the lush landscape.
Everywhere else the new cattails have submerged the old. Rather soon these reveries were interrupted by a beaver swimming in the pond right below me.
It promptly dove and left a trail of bubbles as it swam underwater under the protection of the shrubs. Then I saw it swim into the open water below the rock where the otters had their latrine. It’s nose was up sniffing the air, or so I thought.
But it kept swimming back and forth and I wondered if it was finding pollen floating in the water to eat. However, I couldn’t see anything going into its mouth and it did swim right toward me with its nose up.
It eventually swam under shrubs farther to my left. Then I saw another beaver, bigger with darker fur, and it was right in the middle of the pond and reared up to strip the leaves off a shrub.
Then I lost track of it as it worked through more vegetation but it eventually swam up into the clear water along the south shore of the pond, fished up a stick, and nibbled that.
This was quite a treat seeing beavers so early. Although I am pretty sure these two beavers are out in the pond because the mother beaver is in the lodge caring for kits, I also have a theory that beavers come out early to ward off otters. I checked the old otter latrine and saw no scats there and plenty of ferns.
Before I left I took a photo of the shrubs in the pond below the ridge.
I need to identify what they are. On the way home I paused to take a photo of a mayapple apple.
The next day, the 24th, I took two people out to see the East Trail Pond at about the same time in the late afternoon. I saw the two beavers again, and my friends got a good show. One of the beavers slapped its tail right below us.
I won’t bother these beavers for a while since with a renter in the island house we will be spending even more time at our land.