When we hike, we take my camera, a bag for trash, a bag for treasure (there are loads of antique soda bottles and blue Mason jars dumped along with the trash here in these woods), and my machete, for the better hacking down of all greenbriers that I find:
One or more cats inevitably follow us. Always this cat:
She always gets tired halfway through and meows unhappily until Syd picks her up and carries her.
What with our own woods, the meadow of the powerline cut beyond--
--and even more woods after that, there's plenty to explore.
One morning, we found a hill down to a creek studded with giant, mossy limestone boulders, many of which had worn through them by rainwater and shallow little baby caves beneath them:
I have yet to find any morels, but the children and I have become interested in spotting and identifying all of our wildflowers:
|I think this is bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis).|
|Not flowers, but dried, translucent birch leaves, I think.|
The woods beyond the power line cut (when I say this, I'm discretely telling you that we're trespassing in someone else's woods at this point) is crossed by these dirt lanes that lead nowhere in particular, still drifted with last autumn's fallen leaves:
It's not hard to imagine a wild, romantic provenance for them.
Now that the weather is warming (at least, not bitterly cold, not always...) and I've spent I don't know how many hours hacking greenbrier into a semblance of submission in many places, our woods has become a lovely place to pass the time. The kids spend hours there, doing who knows what, coming back filthy and happy and with things in hand--yesterday, Will found a large piece of... quartz, probably, probably from a geode, that inspired us to dig out the rock tumbler (and discover that it doesn't work anymore, and tinker with it, and set it aside to get my father-in-law to tinker with when he visits in a couple of days), and Syd came back with a pinch pot that she'd made from clay that she'd found down by the creek.
And flowers. Always the flowers, except for Jack in the pulpit, which I've forbidden the children to pick.
We're coming close to an entire year spent in this new house, and yet I feel as if we're really only beginning to fully enjoy it--the first summer was filled with unpacking and repairing and buying things like lawnmowers and dishwashers, but this summer will have gardening, and a woods that's actually accessible thanks to me and my machete, and 17 chickens, and a meadow that we can enjoy as soon as I finish fixing the lawnmower, and maybe a playhouse, if my father-in-law is feeling especially motivated next week.
And perhaps a functional rock tumbler, if luck is with us and tinkering successful.