Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Reservoir



About two thirds of the Bayberry Trail borders the Waller Mill Reservoir. According to the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries:

"This 360-acre water supply reservoir is owned by the City of Williamsburg and is located within the boundaries of Waller Mill Park, York County. The reservoir was originally constructed in 1942 with the intention of providing water to Camp Peary, but was sold three years later to the City of Williamsburg in 1945. The reservoir is divided into two sections by the crossing of Airport Road. A navigable tunnel connects the upper and lower portions of the reservoir. The upper basin accounts for roughly a third of the reservoir’s acreage. The lower basin provides greater fishing access to deeper water and larger creek arms. The heavily wooded shoreline and the many branches and coves of the reservoir provide a very pleasing environment in which to hike, bike, fish and pleasure boat."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Hickory



It's quite possible the mockernut hickory was here on the peninsula when the colonists landed at Jamestown in 1607. According to the The Appalachian Voice:

"Perhaps the most familiar use of hickory, even in modern times, is for smoking meat. Although opinions vary as to the best species, mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa) is frequently mentioned as the choice wood for smoking hams. The mockernut, so named because the small kernels are encased in disproportionately large husks, can reach an age up to 500 years (one of the longest-lived hickories) though almost all hickories can survive several hundred years, with bitternut being the shortest-lived at 200 years. Intentionally planting a hickory tree in order to harvest the nuts is definitely an exercise in patience, and perhaps only for posterity, as the trees do not begin bearing nuts for at least 20 years; with some not bearing significant crops for 30-40 years.

Hickory firewood is legendary for producing a long burn, maximum heat, and minimum ash. Colonial naturalist Mark Catesby observed, 'For the fire no wood in the northern parts of America is in so much request.' A cord generates heat equivalent to 175 gallons of fuel oil, or a little over a ton of coal. Hickory also burns with an exceptional luminous flame, an added appeal in pre-electric days."


Monday, May 20, 2019

Toads



Almost the very first thing you notice when setting out on the Bayberry Trail in spring is the vast number of toads. The forest here, bordering the Waller Mill reservoir, is crawling with them.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bayberry Nature Trail



Waller Mill Park
Williamsburg, Virginia

I'm reading a history now entitled Love & Hate in Jamestown by David Price in which the author notes how in 1607 this area was occupied by the Paspahegh tribe. Although I'm sure the landscape is much different now than it was then, it was still interesting to travel down these sandy paths while thinking about how the Jamestown settlers interacted with the native population. By the way, the Paspahegh most definitely were not on good terms with those settlers. :-)



Friday, May 17, 2019

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May Flowers



Buttercups . . .




mayapples . . .




and viburnum in Zachary Taylor Park.