Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Swamp

To be honest, I have always been fascinated by swamps. Swamps, sloughs, ox boughs, what ever you want to call them, are really interesting places. I firmly believe that land animals crawled on to land from the primordial ooze at a swamp. This swamp is close to Hottel Creek, (probably part of the stream at one time,) and close to the West Meadow. It is very shallow and has begun to dry up completely during the summer months. It is well shaded and the hub of much animal activity.
One of my first memories of The Swamp was when Uncle Al and I looked for salamanders there. The ones we found were the first I had ever seen in person. Because of the fluctuation in water levels, I have not found a salamander in years. I have found crawfish however, at times lots of crawfish. Because of these crustaceans one can find other animals as well. This was the place I started most of my hunts during my coon hunting days. Many raccoons or opossums could be found dining on the crawfish during the early spring.
Because of the sweetgum and beach trees that surround the water, The Swamp is well shaded and can be cool during the summer months. It also grows potent poison ivy, of which I am highly allergic, and has been assaulted by Chinese tallow trees in the last few years. As of yesterday, it had not been overrun by the feral hogs that have attacked other areas, but it it just a matter of time.
The ranch had many other small sloughs such as this one on it, many of which have been destroyed due to logging and farming. I am glad this one has survived, but like so many things on the ranch, it's survival is in danger. Yes, that is ice on the water.

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