Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Wild Flower Song

My own little wildflowers

This past December we moved to our new home with three feet of snow already on the ground. It seemed to snow for the next three months, more snow than we had ever seen before during any one winter time. It was beautiful, so gorgeous in fact especially when the sun was high in the sky and everything looked crisp and beautiful.

The only problem with such weather conditions when moving onto our new property was never being truly able to view the back forest beyond the trees in the forefront. Who wanted to walk thigh deep in snow amongst fallen trees, broken branches and wild prickle vines during those days? Not I.

Ahhhhh, so this is what our property fencing looks like!

When the fencing companies came to offer estimate pricing for adding additional fencing down one side of the property to meet the other already existing fencing on the other two sides, they sent brave men donned in proper foot wear who were used to traipsing about in such natural property setting.

This week, once the tree cutters completed the final task of chipping the remaining branches on the ground, all that remained was a large pile of wood chips useful for our proposed trail system through the forest for the future. Quite suddenly this week my husband decided it was high time I grabbed my boots and took a walkabout on our property with him to observe exactly what lurked in our private forest system out back.

Two fences are already in place, lovely trails carved and semi cleared along both sides to walk through.

It was easy to navigate my way through the thick bramble if I remained alongside the existing fence down the right side, and then continued on my merry way by staying close to the farm fence at the back. About half way along the back end of the property, I became fascinated with the natural treasure trove greeting me there.

Rewind to a.....

......once upon a time when I was known to pack up to seven children in any given moment during the day for the express purpose of a brain break, venturing out together for a huge bout of fresh air while taking a walk/hike around a natural protected forest area near to us. It was a manmade sanctuary and nature lover's paradise and once was the location for a railway bridge system long ago used to transport fresh produce from country to the city to aid farmers' sales in the general area. Evidence of the crumbling structure remains to date in the center of the lake, and plaques with all historical information stand nearby for all to capture what it meant for nearby farmers of the day so long ago.

It truly was our family's greatest joy to spend time there, a place located near to us and completely within our cityscape setting. Remember we once were city slickers so this was tremendously appealing for us to partake in. Always my trusty camera tagged along and never was there a more tempting time to snap dozens of photos than there.

We loved to weave through the fabulous trail systems carved throughout the area, and when brave or able, to skip or jump onto the large rocks connecting the main land to the island in the center of the water. Duck and geese nests abounded on this island, so neat.

We became smitten for many years to observe all the changes from season to season, peruse through the natural areas for wildflowers, marvel at the large turtles basking in the sun atop of logs poking from the water's edge or even spent huge chunks of time hunting for beaver or muskrat living there, and often caught mama muskrat with her babies near the edge of the water.

We often hoped to catch a few fish spring up from the water to eat the bugs buzzing overhead, crossed over several bridge systems every time, sat and sketched or just enjoyed our time together there as a great escape from the mundane of the day to day routine of life. It was an outdoor education to bless all, even the grandchildren who enjoyed the unique entertainment when tagging along with the rest of us.

The wildlife living within the parameters of the trail systems was abundant and it seemed something new appeared each time we were able to visit. Always there was something to halt our steps and behold in our memories upon each visit there. So enthralled were we with this particular venue, we often brought our family or friends there to introduce them to it. The red winged blackbird never failed to greet us during two seasons, or the bald eagles perched on this nests high above the earth.

Each season we continued to explore changes in the treasure trove of nature gifts awaiting our discoveries, and it was there where our love of anything "nature" blossomed in our family. It was also there where I sensed the need to share our love of the outdoors with an entire group of other homeschooling families, and eventually I became the leader of the "Nature Club" every Wednesday during six week periods each season. We hosted our club rain or shine, loving our time together one and all.

Back to the present...

My eyes bulged and excitement grew deep within bringing my gait to a slow pace. Eventually I had to stop and take it all in because I could hardly believe my lucky stars over how much our property reminded me of those earlier days when the love of nature crept into our lives and took us along learning trails so vast and wonderful.

Okay so my friend Denise would laugh about now when I admit I never left for this walkabout without my camera in hand. Yep, I had it with me ...just in case, and I'm thrilled to present to you a few scenes from out yonder on the back of our property just in time for "Earth Day" today.

I already feel drawn to all the nature loving possibilities for spending many hours walking the trails we plan to carve within our private forest. I can envision a small pond and know there are assorted small animals lingering under tree root and way up on treetops. Nests are being built at record speeds, bunnies are beginning to creep from their dens and yes, even skunks nearby. It's hitting me that no vehicle emission output will be necessary for plummeting into the air when we travel to great escape natural choice setting areas nearby. We merely need to don our boots at any given moment and venture right out into our own back yard! Gotta love that!

The Wild Flower's Song

As I wander'd the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a wild flower
Singing a song.

I slept in the Earth
In the silent night,
I murmur'd my fears
And I felt delight.

In the morning I went
As rosy as morn,
to seek for new joy;
But O! met with scorn.

~ William Blake

Fungi on tree trunks

Shall we clear this, or leave it? Um, the woodpeckers liked it this past weekend.

So lovely! See the blue florals to the left side of this picture above?

Crevices below tree trunks, hibernating animals will soon wonder throughout our forest. No skunks please...

Wildflowers and an abundance of new growth of some of type of lovely floral. Anyone recognize it by the greenery popping up here?

Fallen trees and the promise of new leaves on the ones still standing

Wild ferns

More to come as we explore each season out yonder together...