Small Graces

Walking in winter affords fewer opportunities for viewing wildlife like songbirds who have flown south, or rabbits and fox, who stay hidden in thickets or dens. But there are still interesting patterns and colors in nature this time of year. You just have to use your imagination at times.

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This shelf of turkey tail fungi are green, I think, from the wet conditions. If I imagine a shift in size, I can see cliffs instead of fungi.

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And this 2-foot frozen waterfall could be…..Niagara Falls?  🙂

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The power of frost to heave the ground. This ice formation reminds me of rock crystals.

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Use your imagination to see the black cat sitting quietly in the middle of the tree. Can you see it?

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Finally, one of my favorite “tunnels” on a hike in state land. With, of course, my favorite walking companion.  Happy hiking/skiing/snowshoeing, friends!  Don’t forget to use your imaginations!

 

A Walk a Day Keeps a Girl Busy!

Since acquiring a four-year-old English Spring Spaniel last month, Todd and I have walked every day at least once. Meet Fergie, our newest dog.

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She doesn’t ever really walk. She springs! She leaps! She bolts! She pounces! She races! AND she wiggles that docked tail of hers whenever she is happy, which is most of the time.  My routine since Fergie came into our lives is to race home after my last class, find her waiting excitedly at the door, change into winter hiking attire and head out to walk her. We often go to state land nearby where she can run free.

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Sometimes we go to a dead end road at the top of the hill and walk past corn fields and hunting land. I prefer this on sunny days when I need to see the blue sky and sunshine.

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All I know is, life is good with a dog as a walking companion.  I’d write more, but Fergie wants to head out the door. See ya’ later!

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snowshoes!!

I’ve been having a great time out in the far pasture, where I did a lot of trail work. It’s almost done, a few more low branches to snip away. It’s roughly a figure eight with side loops and an open meadow in the middle to wander around in. The other day–Saturday–I went out on snowshoes for the first time this winter. And more snow is coming now, so I’ll go out again soon. jan 13 back tracks

I love the wide, funny tracks my snowshoes make.

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It was a brilliant sunny day, with lots of fluffy new snow that dropped from branches onto my head every time I touched a tree! jan 13 snowy field

I wasn’t the only one out there making tracks–this is a deer track, across the meadow I traversed on my way home.jan 13 abandoned tractor

That meadow, across the road from us, is owned by our neighbor. We have permission to snowshoe, ski, hike, ramble, and pick apples and blackberries there. This abandoned old tractor in the middle of their field somehow looks picturesque.jan 13 sunny snow

This picture is taken standing in the middle of the far pasture looking south toward our house. jan 13 snowshoes

I love these modern snowshoes they make these days. So light, small, convenient. Hurray for winter!jan 13 snowshow path.JPG

 

 

 

 

a bit of snow

This morning I went out to walk the far pasture trails. I took my bow saw and nippers but didn’t plan on doing a lot of work. It’s snowing and it was a lovely morning to be out there. I saw squirrel and opossom and deer tracks. jan 9 far pasture trail entrance

This is the entrance to the trails. It runs along a lovely gurgling stream. There are lots of thorn apple trees, and lots of apple trees. jan 9 far pasture 5

Most of the trees in this picture are apple trees. The part of the trail I worked on today runs just inside a hedgerow with many cherry trees. jan 9 far pasture 4

All the branches were covered with snow–so pretty!

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

As any reader could see, my ten days of daily walking only made it to three, but that’s OK. I’ve been out in the woods lately creating trails which is a nice combination of work and meditation. We live on 100 or so acres of mixed hardwood forest, overgrown apple orchards, pastures, hayfields, beaver ponds, and brushy areas. I have been making trails in what we call “the far pasture”, in the northwestern corner of the property. trails 2.jpg

This is a picture of an invasive shrub called bush honeysuckle, or Japanese honeysuckle. I’ve cut down many, many of these in my trail work. Our land is full of rocky hedgerows and old field stone walls.  There are also many thorn apple trees, which I do have to trim sometimes, but which are extremely useful as wildlife habitat and forage, so I work around them as much as I can. The invasive honeysuckle doesn’t provide much for wildlife, and crowds out native plants, so I go after those without compunction. Anyway they don’t stay cut down–they send up exuberant shoots from the root.  Below is my trail-making equipment: small bow saw and long-handled nippers. I sometimes bring a thermos of coffee and some cookies or a sandwich.trails 5

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There are lots of grapevines, too, which I can usually work around. I’ve seen porcupine, grouse, rabbits, squirrels, a hawk, and chickadees in my recent trail work. It’s peaceful and relaxing yet good exercise. Hopefully J and T and their new English Springer Spaniel can come up again this winter and enjoy the trails!