Sunday, September 7, 2008

This town, rocks?

What I found on International Rock Flipping Day, 2008.

An odd fact about Richmond, British Columbia, is that there are few, perhaps no, indigenous rocks. It is a rockless place, a flat-as-a-pancake island, coughed into the ocean by the Fraser River. There’s silt, plenty of that, and peat, metres of the stuff, but if you want to partake in an exercise in futility, go out and look for a native, home-grown rock. Look north and you see the mountains—great big rocks! But here, in Richmond, none.

So Richmondites have imported rocks, for landscaping purposes, for accent pieces, for doorstops and paperweights. They have even created gently-shaped rocks of powder and water and sand for children to climb on—because children need to know of rocks.

Here rocks are such novelties that upon seeing one, a child will rush to it, touch it--perhaps sit on it, size permitting--even taste it. Yesterday at a birthday party our daughter circled the yard and sat in turn on all 8 of the carefully-spaced chair-sized chunks of granite, demanding, for each, “Take my picture!”

We do have rocks in our garden. I imported them, and arranged them just so, but now they are invisible, swallowed by the plants. Rather than disturb our foliage, I went to a local park, which has a nice garden, and surreptitiously flipped some of its much more accessible rocks.
Two very promising garden rocks. Flattish, not too heavy, easy to reach.

Woodlice and snails. Woodlice, or wood bugs as they are more commonly called here, are of course crustaceans, in the Order Isopoda. These look to me to be species of Oniscus. The snails are Grove Snails, Cepaea nemoralis, a European species common in gardens in Richmond and no doubt many other places.

More of the gang.

Oh, quick. A metallic beetle is scuttling away. (The green leaf at the top is helpfully pointing at its head.) Unfortunately Mr. Hesitation, my camera, was living up to his name, and this was the only image obtained. I've seen these beetles many times. Some sort of Ground Beetle, Family Carabidae -- genus Scaphinotus?

Beneath the second rock, a window to a mole's world (Coast Mole, Scapanus orarius).

Elsewhere in the park an ersatz rock, looks to have been flung here. Still, can't be too choosy in Richmond.

Hah. An ant colony. Sorry for the interruption. And also beneath this "rock,"

its reason for being there. A mysterious uncapped pipe needing a lid, probably connected to a septic tank from the old house that predates the park, and evidently functioning as a spider's lair. In rockless Richmond, one makes do.

Visit these other sites to experience more flippage:

Pohanginapete (Pohangina Valley, Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Blaugustine (London, England)
Nature Remains (Ohio, USA)

Pensacola Daily Photo (Florida, USA)
KatDoc’s World (Ohio, USA)
Notes from the Cloud Messenger (Ontario, Canada)
Brittle Road (Dallas, Texas)
Sherry Chandler (Kentucky, USA)
osage + orange (Illinois, USA)
Rock Paper Lizard (British Columbia, Canada)
The Crafty H (Virginia, USA)
Chicken Spaghetti (Connecticut, USA)
A Passion for Nature (New York, USA)
The Dog Geek (Virginia, USA)
Blue Ridge blog (North Carolina, USA)
Bug Girl’s Blog (Michigan, USA)
chatoyance (Austin, Texas)
Riverside Rambles (Missouri, USA)
Pines Above Snow(Maryland, USA)
Beth’s stories (Maine, USA)
A Honey of an Anklet (Virginia, USA)
Wanderin’ Weeta (British Columbia, Canada)
Fate, Felicity, or Fluke (Oregon, USA)
The Northwest Nature Nut (Oregon, USA)
Roundrock Journal (Missouri, USA)
The New Dharma Bums (California, USA)
The Marvelous in Nature (Ontario, Canada)
Via Negativa (Pennsylvania, USA)
Mrs. Gray’s class, Beatty-Warren Middle School (Pennsylvania, USA)
Cicero Sings (British Columbia, Canada)
Pocahontas County Fair (West Virginia, USA)

Let’s Paint Nature (Illinois, USA)


NW Nature Nut said...

Looks like you and I found similar "treasures". Did you feel like a 4 year old like me? ;)

pohanginapete said...

That's a pretty good effort for an apparently rockless place. Well done :^)

Anonymous said...

Nice flips - the snails are very pretty, a nice addition to any garden (or do they do damage?)

Dave Coulter said...

I can relate to a rockless world myself. Well done!

Jen said...

What an interesting post. Coming from a very rocky place it never dawned on me there were places in the world without. And yours is yet another reporting invasive species. Great pictures--thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

Hugh Griffith said...

NW Nature Nut: Yes, very similar! Perhaps five years. I don't think I could flip a rock at 4.

Thanks Pohanginapete, but oh, to find a skink!

Hi Deorah. The snails don't do much damage (not like the insatiable slugs!) They eat a lot of dead vegetation, and don't seem to be a problem.

Thanks Dave, Isn't it weird to live where a rock is exotic?

Hugh Griffith said...

Thank you Jen, you have rocks --and box turtles! How wonderful.

Appalachian Lady said...

interesting post--wish I had participated in this even--will do so next year! Joan

PJ said...

I think there's something child-like about rock flipping. Although, as an adult it's nice to be able to name what you find. I especially liked seeing the snails. I'm sure they very much appreciated the imported rock and now I understand why it's so important to put it back the way we found it.

Anonymous said...

Had computer trouble, so am a few days late flipping my rock here in the South Island of NZ. Chose a smallish one near a rotted old raised bed garden frame. Whoah! Whatever it was, some small bugs, zipped outta there into the grass so fast that I felt particularly clumsy, bumbling, and slow. And here I was all ready to peer down at something and study it in detail.