trails in the woods

With recent warm days much of the snow has melted but there’s still a lot in the woods. Here are a few pictures I took on a trail work day a few days ago followed by a simple walk on the trails this morning.

It was fun seeing how the deer use the trails I make!

It was fun seeing how the deer use the trails I make!

In the sunshine branches make patterns of shadow on the snow.

In the sunshine branches make patterns of shadow on the snow.

In some more open spaces the dogwood thickets are, well, thick!

In some more open spaces the dogwood thickets are, well, thick!

a trail that passes by a cedar tree.

a trail that passes by a cedar tree. This hillside has a jumble of huge boulders. You can see one of them on the right beside the trail.

One of my favorite places on the property is the old beaver pond. Several small springs and streams feed into it. Here are some pictures of it, taken from the eastern uphill side of it, looking northwest. I love the patterns the clouds make, and the reddish dogwood and white accents of the grey birches. beaver-pond-and-cloudsbeaver-pondold-beaver-pondclouds-at-the-pondThe woods are peaceful, and mostly quiet. It’s not exactly remote–I can hear occasional traffic, and sometimes neighbors’ dogs or the happy screams of playing children. Yesterday the peace was shattered by a neighbor doing what sounded like target practice with a rifle. But there are also the sounds of wind rattling dry leaves or whispering through bare branches, and the chuckling of the streams. I also hear cackles of turkeys, calling of crows, chirps of chickadees. I never see deer but their tracks are everywhere. I also see a lot of turkey tracks, and also squirrels. I found what looks like a beaver, muskrat, or otter path that led along the pond and down through a hole into the water. I saw raccoon tracks yesterday. There are porcupine signs and trails. I scared up two grouse the other day. It will be wonderful to spend time out here this Spring watching and feeling the woods come back to life.

cherry tree, I think, with fungus.

cherry tree, I think, with fungus.

snow day

We finally got some real snow! It’s much better for the garden to have a “blanket” of protection in cold weather.

David plowing the driveway

David plowing the driveway

The back yard yesterday morning

The back yard yesterday morning

Yesterday I took three hours to do some more trail work. Here are some pictures I took of the venture.

This is the first day this winter we have had enough snow for me to strap on my snowshoes

This is the first day this winter we have had enough snow for me to strap on my snowshoes!

first I headed out over the existing trails. I turned around to take this picture of my tracks.

first I headed out over the existing trails. I turned around to take this picture of my tracks.

I use a small bow saw and a pair of nippers to clear the trail. I try to cut a trail as wide as my two arms can reach to the sides, and as far as my arms reach over my head. In some places it is easy, but in others it is heavy going.

a lot of brambles and dogwood thickets to cut through.

a lot of brambles and dogwood thickets to cut through.

dogwood branches piled up along the new trail

dogwood branches piled up along the new trail

gloves and bow saw

gloves and bow saw

looking back on the trail I made through an old apple orchard surrounded by thickets of dogwood

looking back on the trail I made through an old apple orchard surrounded by thickets of dogwood

another picture of the trail.

another picture of the trail, with another brush pile on the right.

We are working on a little map showing all the trails, and I’m planning to make markers I can hand on tree branches to help snowshoers or hikers find their way.

beautiful and peaceful winter woods

beautiful and peaceful winter woods