Friday, April 13, 2012

She's Closer to the Ground

You may recall my earlier post about finding immense pleasure when walking in the woods looking for morel mushrooms.  My point was that you don't have to always succeed in your original quest, life has many twists and turns and adult ADD only heightens the pleasure experienced around each corner. beautiful daughter Grace, who herself takes more twists and turns in five minutes than any one human should experience in a day, stayed quite focused, and found a mushroom within 30 seconds of getting to our honey hole.  Here she is with a tiny morel that has long since been battered, fried, and consumed.

We had been looking all along the path on our way to the secret location first stumbled upon by Larry Cline.  Here you can see her looking diligently, walking stick and collection pail in hand.   I really felt as though I was doing a more thorough job, in between snapping pictures, and was sure I was going to win this collection competition.
However, within minutes of finding this first mushroom, life (or Grace) changed direction and bloodroot became the coveted prey.  Within five minutes she had three or four in hand and was ready to head back.  That left me without so much as a pecker head mushroom to my credit.

I have been out at least four times and only have two mushrooms.  Grace has half that total in 5 minutes.  I argue she is closer to the ground and they are easier for her to spot.  Now if I can just get her out more often, we could have a bona fide feast.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gus the Easter Goat

Well Easter Sunday on the farm.  Our newest addition to the farm, Gus the Fainting Goat, made an appearance at the farm.  He had to hurry back to mom later in the day but spent a few hours visiting with his new friends Norbert and Rocky.  This picture is him and the kids just after we returned home from Mass.

I say he is our newest addition, but as I write, Callie is having kittens in the master closet.  So I guess they are the newest additions.  By the way, anyone want one?

Gus can reclaim the title of newest when he finally is weaned from mama and comes to live permanently here at the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 34.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Good Walk Unspoiled

I used to golf quite a bit.  Not so much anymore.  There is a book about the game called A Good Walk Spoiled by John Feinstein.  While I have never read the book I can certainly relate to the concept.  When I played, and I was certainly not any good, I was constantly competing.  Either with friends or with myself to get better.  What was supposed to be relaxation turned to frustration.

Now, I spend my walking time in the woods.  Here on the property we believe we have about 40 acres of woods.  They start at the edge of the farm fields and cover hills, ravines, and bottom land that leads to a creek. Regardless of the reason for my walk, I rarely come back frustrated.

Yesterday's reason was mushrooms.  A couple friends met me in the morning with a cup of coffee, and we proceeded to stroll through the woods in a very random manner.  At times we followed trails made by the deer we so love to hunt in the fall.  Then we would roam off the path to search a patch of Mayapples that supposedly contain the elusive morel.  Sometimes we were merely yards apart, and could share stories each trying to make the others laugh.  At other times, we were so distant it was as if we were alone out there.

As social as I am, I very much enjoy that time.  I find myself thinking about everything and nothing, all while trying to find wild mushrooms.  Yesterday wasn't a great success.  I found two pluteus cervinus, or deer mushrooms.  I researched and found they are edible, but easily confused with a couple inedible types.  I am leaning towards not eating them and living to hunt and write another day.

Often when walking, when I stop to focus around a fallen tree or another patch of mayapples, when I glance back up I notice what a beautiful surrounding I am in.  I snap a few pictures like these and take a relaxing breath, knowing even without a bountiful harvest I have communed with nature and my soul is better for it.

Even though yesterday didn't result in an edible harvest, I did manage to not come home empty handed.  Along a ravine on the northern end of our property, I found a few intact old bottles.  Apparently this particular ravine, many on the property contain old metal trash, was used to dump old glass and ceramic.  I waded through, careful to not get cut, and found a variety of bottles and jars which I am sure will decorate our house at some point.

I also grabbed an old well head, I assume from the unused well for the original farm house.  I am going to use it as a chimney on the smoker I build.  I really enjoy trying to reclaim old materials for use in my projects.  There are bricks from the old farm silo which I intend on using for a fire pit in our backyard.  Those were also discovered on a walk, unspoiled, on the east half of the southwest quarter.