Another afternoon of searching for treasure, this time in Fairfield. Here's perhaps the most unusual stone wall I've ever come across in the Grace Richardson Conservation Area. The weird wall/cairn/sculpture was a good six feet tall or so. It begs the question: Why?
Fairfield has a state-wide reputation for their conservation efforts. Their open space properties are consistently marked by decent looking signs like the one above. By the way, don't you just like the name "Binger Woods?"
Sadly, the theme of the day was deforestation from too many deer. All three parks I visited were the same. Much of the forest floor was just dead leaves. The native shrubs, saplings, and wildflowers were absent or severely suppressed by over-browsing everywhere I looked.
Some spots were covered with non-native invasive species the deer won't eat, like this carpet of Garlic Mustard at the Moorehouse Farmstead Open Space.
This native Jack-in-the-Pulpit shows the damage caused by deer. Nearby Jewelweed had been reduced to cropped stems. The plants can handle a certain amount of browsing, but are overwhelmed if the browsing becomes too frequent.
Growing in amongst Garlic Mustard were Indian Strawberries in full berry. This is a fake strawberry that originally came from India (hence the name). It's actually a type of cinquefoil with only three leaves instead of the usual five.
The dry berry feel light and oddly like styrofoam. Breaking it open, the flesh is white and inedible. Nothing at all like a strawberry.