Magic Mushrooms and Other Marvels of the Forest

A couple of days ago I saw my first blue mushroom in the woods. I’ve been walking the trails for a decade and this was a first, maybe a sign of some sort. I believe it is known as an indigo milk cap.
  Today, out on the trail, I saw more.
 And, here was one of the many spider webs.
 A deer jumped out in front of me, and got tangled a bit in the fence. I’m not quick with the iPhone, (what I took these pictures with), therefore, I miss out on quite a few opportunities. I see deer everyday. Still, they are a marvel. Perhaps I should have drawn a deer instead of this giraffe, which we have none of in our woods. I wish.

giraffe

Giraffe drawn on my iPad.

Building Hiking Trails

Cattle Chute Bridge and Railroad Tie Steps

Yesterday I was out hiking and working on the trails around our house.  Several years ago I started hiking for several reasons, to correct some knee problems (it worked), to lose extra pounds (it worked), and to be inspired by nature (it is still working).  I began hiking at a nearby state park, Carter Caves.  I love hiking there, but I was driving every day, thirteen miles one way.  It occurred to me that our house is surrounded on most sides with woods.  I should hike in and explore our own wilderness.

I began just walking in the woods.  I began on the old rock and dirt road that was once used by wagons, horses, and people on foot before cars came to our neck of the woods.  The waterfall video is along this part of the route.  But where to walk when the road ended as old non-used roads are sure to do?  I thought I could even get more exercise and enjoyment from building my own trails.  I started with a rake mapping out sections one day at a time.  I worked with what was already there to some extent – paths walked by cows we once had on the farm, and paths used by deer.  Still there were deviations from those and brush and felled trees to tend to.  My husband helped me on

 weekends for those harder jobs.  There were creeks to cross, and hills that were just a little too steep.  We used recycled materials, old railroad posts, and cow chutes from the barn to build steps on those steep places and bridges across creeks.

After a couple of years I had a trail of approximately two miles, a circular path.  The next stage was working on the other side of the farm.  With part of that section completed I have a total of four miles of path.

It’s a constant upkeep.  A flood took out two of our bridges.  We are now planning on rebuilding once again with recycled materials.  I have a minor reroute plan in mind this time.  The new bridge probably won’t get built until spring.  Once again after winter and with this warmer weather I am out clearing and re-raking the path.  It is sort of a Zen practice with me.  I love to be out in nature.  Today marks another warm day and I will be out there again.

I’m thankful we live in this beautiful spot surrounded by trees.

 

Mother Earth

Sometimes this waterfall can get quite powerful.

On Saturday, we worked on trails in the woods around our house.  As soon as warm enough weather sets in I get out on the trails to do the pre-spring upkeep.  Mainly that consists of raking leaves off the path, picking up rocks and wind-blown sticks.  My husband does the heavier work of cutting up trees that have fallen over the trail during the course of winter.  This is also our firewood.

A menopausal woman out in the solitude of the woods with her dogs raking leaves might seem eccentric or possibly some form of mental illness.  But I see it has a form of Zen contemplation and connecting with Mother Nature, not to mention calorie burning.  There is something about uncovering rich black soil and the rich array of life that sometimes pops out, previously protected by autumn’s shedding leaves.  Sometimes I feel guilty about disturbing the life, but at other times I feel like we are just working together, as various animals also use the path daily, mainly deer.  Build it and they will come.

I believe there is healing power in the soil.  There have been times when I have laid down letting Mother Earth absorb my worries.  There have also been times that I’ve abandoned my hiking boots to let my bare feet truly pick up on nature’s vibration.

Today looks like an excellent day to be out there, and I have my spot all picked out.  I do sections each day.  I’m thankful we live in such a beautiful wooded natural area.

The pictures are from Saturday’s trail walk and work.

Deer prints on the trail after the previous day's work.
Place along the trail where my father and his siblings bathed before plumbing

Beautiful water pattern in the creek along the trail