There is always something to do outside! Whether it’s cutting firewood, clearing a trail, mowing, walking in the creek and clearing out brush after a storm or flood, taking care of the veggie garden or flower gardens around the house, or just going for a walk or 4 wheeler ride with the dog, I head out the door as soon as breakfast is over and don’t come in till the sun sets.
Our property adjoins our son’s. We are up on the hill and his home is down in the valley closer to the road. The aerial view below shows some of our land and our son’s. Couldn’t get it all into the screen shot as it goes far behind the house and off to the sides. Our home is marked No. 1. The No. 2 in the pic is our barn. That big patch of dead-looking stuff behind the barn is our stand of 4,000 black walnut trees. As you can see, they are leafless, yet the photo was taken the last week in September. The rest of the trees are just starting to change color a bit. In the spring, the walnuts are the last trees to ever leaf out. No. 3, down in the right side of the pic, is our son’s place. I couldn’t get our property across the road fit into this pic either.
I love being in the woods in fall and spring! The brush all dies down and you can see so far! Plus, there aren’t any bugs flying around. We are not usually bothered by mosquitoes here. There have only been four years in the last 45 that they were terrible! Other than that, you might run into one or two in the early summer, but that’s about all. The ticks, on the other hand, are awful in spring and early summer! Afterwards, they seem to die down quite a bit.
And of course, winter comes after the autumn. This is a pic coming up our driveway. If you don’t have 4 WD on your vehicles around here, you are probably not going anywhere on days like these!
My husband always plows our driveway with a blade on his 4 wheeler. The 4 wheeler doesn’t throw the snow too far off the sides of the drive, so sometimes he takes the snow blower and walks down and then up the drive. That thing will blow the snow 30′ off the sides, opening a much wider path. The pic below was after a snowfall in Feb. 2016.
Emily Dickinson wrote:
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here….
(Did you know that all of Emily Dickenson’s poems can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas?” Try it! Look up some of her poems online and give it a try)!
The photos below were taken in March. The snow has melted and the air is warming!
In May excitement mounts as mushroom season draws near. Hunting the morel mushrooms is a mania in these parts. People either fry them up in butter or they take them into town to sell them to one of the several buyers. These buyers ship the mushrooms to Indiana for the Indy 500 race at the end of May. If it’s a poor mushroom season due to extreme cold or terribly dry conditions, the price goes up. $8 to $10 a pound is average during a bumper crop season but there have been times the buyers paid well over $20 a pound for them when they were more scarce! For people who sell the mushrooms they pick, they could easily earn over $200 over a weekend or so of picking. At the Indy 500 one mushroom is split in half, grilled, and thrown on a sandwhich, which sells for over $10! We love being out in the woods hunting them. We eat maybe one meal of them and sell the rest. Some people think they are the best-tasting thing in the world, but I think they’re just “ok.”
I remember part of a poem I had to read in high school, by Robert Louis Stevenson. It has more impact on me now than it did when I was 16!
The folded valley lay
In a stream of sun and odour,
That sultry summer day.
Those lines came to my mind one day when I was mowing our Park area in the valley. The sun was shining, the hills all around me had the valley folded up within, it was hot and humid, and I could smell the freshly-mown grass.
Our kids tell us we mow way too many acres. But we have two riding mowers, and if we both get to work at the same time, it gets done! We just like to keep everything looking neat, and the shorter grass helps keep the snakes out. We have timber rattlers in our area. We have never seen one on our property in the 45 years we’ve been here, but a person about a mile away found a 5′ one in his driveway.
Once you get to the top of the hill in the pic above, you can turn around and see the hayfield and then the pasture and our barn. The miniature horses are tiny dots.
We always hope to get a first good cutting of hay in May. Then we hope to get two more good cuttings before the summer is out. It’s always a hit and miss deal with the rain. The hay has to be cut on a hot, sunny afternoon. The next day you hope the sun dries it out. If it does, you rake it in the afternoon. The following day, you rake it around noon and give it a final drying till 3 or 4 o’clock and then you start baling it. If it’s exceptionally hot with low humidity, you can bale it the day after it’s mowed.
Here’s a quick clip of Cutler taking a bale to the barn and dropping it off to go back for another one. We always leave a few bales in the field for him!
We also enjoy ourselves off our property in the summer! Here we are taking a long ride with a group of people in a “scooter club” we were involved with.
North, south, and west of our place are Amish communities within a few miles. We’ve gotten to know a few of the families quite well due to having business with them. Most of the surrounding towns have hitching posts to accomodate them.
Take a look at the re-making of our creek into a less erodable, more trout-friendly habitat by clicking here: CREEK PROJECT