1-1-TRAIL SEEDING 2

TRAILS

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.

1-AERIAL HOUSE OURS AND AARONS

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.

October. Hitting the trail to take the dogs for some exercise. This trail is on our son's property. Our property is about 15' to the right.
October. Hitting the trail to take the dogs for some exercise. This trail is on our son’s property. Our property is about 15′ to the right.

 

On our property across the road. My husband is up ahead of me on his 4 wheeler. My dog, Jack, is waiting for me to catch up.
On our property across the road. My husband is up ahead of me on his 4 wheeler. My dog, Jack, is waiting for me to catch up.

 

Another trail across the road.
Another trail across the road. That red thing on the right hand side is the frame of the windshield on my 4 wheeler.

 

This is a lovely trail through a large copse of maple trees. When we built our house in 1979, there wasn't a single maple growing here. It had been a cow pasture. Once it was free of cattle, the maples really took off!
This is a lovely trail through a large copse of maple trees. When we built our house in 1979, there wasn’t a single maple growing here. It had been a cow pasture. Once it was free of cattle, the maples really took off!

 

Across the road. These woods are where we get all our firewood.
Across the road. These woods are where we get all our firewood. There are always dead trees or ones that have been blown down by storms and have died to provide us with all we need.
A trail on the top of the hill behind our house. We were working on making it a bit wider.
A trail on the top of the hill behind our house. We were working on making it a bit wider.
When we were working on the trail in the picture above, I spotted this fawn standing alone. It stayed there looking at us for quite a while and then ran off. I hope it found its mama!
When we were working on the trail in the picture above, I spotted this fawn standing alone. It stayed there looking at us for quite a while and then ran off. I hope it found its mama!

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!

About one-third of the way up the drive to the house. My husband was driving while I took the pic.
About one-third of the way up the drive to the house. My husband was driving while I took the pic.

 

Coming up the driveway to the house. It's nice being retired and not really having to go anywhere when the driveway is snow-covered.
Almost up to the house.  About 100′ to go!

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.

Plowing with the 4 wheeler.
Plowing with the 4 wheeler. My husband is that black dot in the middle of the drive down towards the bottom.

Spring!
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!

This trail is at the very top of the hill behind our house. It's a difficult drive up there, on an old logging trail that is covered with big, loose rocks. It's very scary going back down the trail!
This trail is at the very top of the hill behind our house. It’s a difficult drive up there, on an old logging trail that is extremely steep and is covered with big, loose rocks. It’s very scary going back down the trail!

 

Looking at the valley below.
Looking at the valley below from the vantage point of the hill top.

 

This is the trail back down from the top of the hill.
This is the start of the steep trail leading to the bottom of the hill, with dead leaves covering the many loose rocks.

 

Going down one of the trails through the black walnuts. We have a grove of about 4,000 walnut trees. We planted them by hand decades ago, in very long, straight rows. The walnuts are the very last trees to leaf out in the spring, and the very first trees to lose their leaves in the fall.
Going down one of the trails through the black walnuts. We have a grove of about 4,000 walnut trees. We planted them by hand decades ago, in very long, straight rows. The walnuts are the very last trees to leaf out in the spring, and the very first trees to lose their leaves in the fall. That hill in the distance is on our son’s property. That is our barn on the right-hand side.

 

Across the road. Our favorite time to cut firewood is in the early spring. I get it loaded onto my 4 wheeler and drive it out of the woods and stack it. It still has to be split.
Across the road. Our favorite time to cut firewood is in the early spring. I get it loaded onto my 4 wheeler and drive it out of the woods and stack it where we can easily get the wood splitter to it. Sometimes we hitch the wagon to the farm tractor and haul it out.

 

Logs being hauled out of the woods across the road.
Logs being hauled out of the woods across the road.

 

It's starting to green up!
It’s starting to green up!

 

My dog Jack stopping to sniff at some deer droppings.
My dog Jack stopping to sniff at some deer droppings.

 

Gathering with our family at our house to take off on a trail ride.
Getting ready to take off from our house with our family for a trail ride in late April.

 

This picture was from 2012, before we lost our bigger lab, Bailey. In 2014 she was diagnosed with cancer of the hip, and had to be put down.
This picture was from 2012, before we lost our bigger lab, Bailey. In 2014 she was diagnosed with cancer of the hip, and had to be put down.

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.”

Our granddaughter and a morel mushroom.
Our granddaughter and a medium-size morel mushroom.
SUMMER!!

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 summer sun shone round me,
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.

The driveway is SO much easier in the summer!
The driveway is SO much easier to navigate in the summer! Heading down to go to the barn.

 

Heading back up to the house.
Heading back up to the house.

 

Taking a walk in the pines to the west of our driveway. With granddaugher and Jack, my dog.
Taking a walk in the pines to the west of our driveway. With granddaugher and Jack, my dog.

 

This is on our son's propety. Once we crest the hill we go down into woods on the other side.
This is on our son’s propety. Once we crest the hill we go down into woods in the valley on the other side.

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.

Once you get to the top of the hill in the pic above, you can turn around and see our hayfield, pasture and barn.
Our house is to the right of the barn, out of sight on the hillside. Our miniature horses look like tiny dots close to the road and trees in the pasture.

 

1-1-2012 SEPT 21 DOGS ON TRAILS 5F
This is also on our son’s property. It’s a different trail leading to the top of the hill in the previous photo.

 

A new trail we had bulldozed in 2004.
A new trail we had bulldozed in 2004.

 

1-1-HORSE CREEK LAND-001
Standing on our property across the road and looking back to where our house is, although it isn’t visible in this pic as it’s up on the hillside, hidden by trees. The land in the photo is ours and our son’s.
Standing on our land across the road and looking north towards our house. The white line that curves to the right, in the center of the pic, is our driveway.
Standing on our land across the road and looking north towards our house. The white line that curves to the right, in the center of the pic, is our driveway.

 

Our soybean field across the road. Some years it's a cornfield. We don't plant the crops. There is another farmer who rents the field from us.
Our soybean field across the road. Some years it’s a cornfield. We don’t plant the crops. There is another farmer who rents the field from us. The hill in the background is ours.

 

This is the same field in the photo above, planted into field corn.
This is the same field in the photo above, planted into field corn.

 

This area is just below our house. It used to be a trail but then we cut out more brush and trees because we wanted a bit more of a wide open space.
This area is just below our house. It used to be a trail but then we cut out more brush and trees because we wanted a bit more of a wide open space.

 

Another shot of the area below the house.
Another shot of the area below the house.

 

Some of the wood I hauled out of the woods in the hills in the background.
Some of the wood I hauled out of the woods in the hills in the background.

 

This is the entrance to an area we call "The Park." It's maybe800' to the east of our house, and down in a little valley. We often have target shooting parties here with friends.
This is the entrance to an area we call “The Park.” It’s maybe 500′ to the east of our house, and down in a little valley. We have had a few target shooting parties here with friends.

 

This is me, aiming at a target during one of our get-togethers. We set up chairs and tables for those waiting a turn to shoot a good distance behind the shooting area.
This is me, aiming at a target during one of our get-togethers. We set up chairs and tables for those waiting a turn to shoot a good distance behind the shooting area.

 

Some friends and me at one of our target practice parties in The Park.
Some friends and me at one of our target practice parties in The Park.

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.

The hayfield, with our son's house in the background.
The hayfield, with our son’s house in the background.

 

Our granddaughter learned to drive the tractor to help out with hay when she was 11.
Our granddaughter learned to drive the tractor to help out with hay when she was 11.

1-HAYING 1

 

This is another hayfield of ours, on our property across the road.
This is another hayfield of ours, on our property across the road.

 

Our grandson Cutler, age 6 in this pic, wanted to help haul hay back to the barn, so his mother would put a bale on the back of his 4 wheeler. He'd drive it to the barn and dump it off and go for another one.
Our grandson Cutler, age 6 in this pic, wanted to help haul hay back to the barn, so his mother would put a bale on the back of his 4 wheeler. He’d drive it to the barn and dump it off and go for another one.

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!

This is me in 2012, taking a break from hauling away tree stumps my husband had dug out with the back hoe.
This is me in 2012, taking a break from hauling away tree stumps my husband had dug out with the back hoe. 2012 was such a hot, miserable summer, and we had a terrible drought as well.

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.

1-2012 JUL 14 SCOOTER RIDE 9
My husband. I’m on my Honda behind him, with the camera hung on my neck!

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.

1-2012 JUL 14 SCOOTER RIDE 8Fa

1-1-GORD BOW HUNTINGa
And once again, summer is over and fall is upon us. In November my husband gets his gear on to go deer hunting with his crossbow. These are not like compound bows. The crossbows are mounted on a stock similar to a gun stock, and the arrow is “loaded” and shot by pulling a trigger. Just a few weeks later is the deer gun season.

Take a look at the re-making of our creek into a less erodable, more trout-friendly habitat by clicking here:  CREEK PROJECT