Some thoughts on scenery:
The idea behind my road trip to Picayune Mississippi was to get some fresh ideas on making scenery for dioramas or model railroad layouts.
The best way to recreate life in miniature is to look at life in reality. Want to weather a box car or a building? Then take a look out of the window to see how it’s done.
The same with landscape.
“Watch out for the snakes,” was the first thing the folks at the Visitor Center at the Crosby Arboretum told me. “They’ve been particularly active recently.”
Why did it have to be snakes?
So I began my two hour trek over 100 acres of woodland and savannas on what used to be a strawberry farm. Located in Picayune Mississippi – just a couple of blocks away from Mossy Motors – the Crosby Arboretum began its conversion from fields to forest around 1985. Now managed by the University of Southern Mississippi, it looks untouched (except for the gravel paths, foot bridges, and signs).
Just ask the snakes.
My progress down the trails was slow at first. My eyes were kept to the ground as I slowly surveyed the area to make sure there were no snakes where my feet were going to go. Then I asked myself, “Can snakes climb trees?” I rapidly replied, “I bet they can.”
So now I was looking in trees. . . . Then I found that I was more aware of the re-forested native trees and forgot about the . . . you know . . snakes.
There was a vast expanse of Pitcher Plants happily chomping away on mosquitoes. And a field with a sign declaring that I was looking at edible grasses: Edible to a cow, maybe!
I should have visited a couple of years earlier when they conducted a Prescribed Burn. In order to let the seeds of other plants grow, they took flame-throwers and torched about 20 acres to get rid of the forest canopy.
In the Black Gum tree Bog, I heard a splashing sound and headed in that direction. Then I saw it – a water moccasin. As I got closer and closer to it, I noticed that it was brown . . . and had legs. I thought I had discovered a new species of cottonmouth until I read the near-by sign. It was an Aquatic Salamander.