Nature nourishes...

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My spirit. And also, in more ways than one, my body.

It has been rainy and cold here most of May with not very much sunshine. The fields are pretty saturated with water so the farmers cannot plant yet, and a lot of the trees are just starting to break. There are not even blossoms on the apple trees yet. Things are a good 2 weeks or so behind normal.

But that's OK. We cannot rush nature, nor can we fight the ebb and flow of her yearly changes. We had a particularly cold and long winter with good snow cover and ice, and we've had a cold, extra wet spring. But there are rewards to be found for it, and an abundance of morel mushrooms is one of them.

Every year we search for morels and we have spent entire days wandering, looking down, searching everywhere for mushrooms. Last year we didn't find a single one, and in the past decade we've never found more than 6-10 total in a spring.

I knew it was getting close but it's been so cold, I wasn't quite sure when they'd pop this year. I looked with Kevin Wed, but saw nothing. Thursday Jim was out taking pictures of flowers and stumbled into a few morels, not knowing for sure what they were, he took some pictures and brought them home. I went out with him and picked them, very excited. Yesterday morning I decided to check one spot quickly on my way to the barn and found 10 of them - and just like that I had mushroom fever. I spent a good part of the rest of the day searching for mushrooms and found nearly 40 of them! I can't tell you how excited I was.

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For some reason this year, they are growing along the edges of our newly used (last spring for the first time in decades) hay fields... right where the field meets the forest, and I think, thanks to this odd weather year, there is a surprising abundance of them. I walked around the edges of almost all of our fields and my body was tired but trudged forward and I found myself lost in the sounds of the forest, in a way I have not been able to do in so very long. I stopped thinking. My mind was silent and any worry gone. I just listened, and looked, taking in all the wonders of spring while I searched for any sign of a mushroom hiding under leaves and grass. They can be very difficult to spot and are easily missed when they are hiding, so you have to pay close attention.

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I took a detour and walked down to the porcupine creek where I have not been since last fall. The forest floor is littered with all kinds of small wildflowers right now. It's beautiful.

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At the creek the water was high as expected, and things are greening up nicely. I would have liked to stay and sit for a while but I had not brought a bug net with me and the mosquitoes were swarming. As it was I stayed as long as I could and came out with a few dozen welts on my face and everywhere else. But it was worth it.

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The buds are pooping, a little later than usual, but not alarmingly so. Usually the 15th of May though everything is out, including apple blossoms, but things are still coming along this year.

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We have our usual abundance of Trillium's...

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in all phases...

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And the wild strawberries are blossoming!! That means just a couple of weeks until berries! I'm hoping this turns out to be an excellent year for strawberries (last spring was too) and also the raspberries, blackberries and wild grapes.

I have been meaning to update the blog for a while but have often myself too tired when evening came and I had time to do so... so these pictures below are from the past couple of weeks. I have been doing OK health wise, better than I was. I've been doing more in a day, still not even half of normal, but much improved from barely anything! But it wears me out. However I'm grateful for the improvements and can only hope they continue! I have spoken with a couple more Doctors and feel like we have a pretty good grasp on the problems. They are not great, but things that will just have to be managed. Surgery will be needed at some point, but when is unclear. And in the meantime we are going to try a few others including some other medications I have been against trying for quite some time, and also physical therapy. I do need to keep up an effort to change my habits and continue to avoid the heaviest of physical stuff, lifestyle changes will for sure be part of my healing and management of my quality of life going forward. But I feel, despite wishing I didn't have to deal with any of it (who really does want to?) more hopeful, like I have a better direction, and instead of just being fearful of treatments and paths forward, I have decided to be more open, and also just roll more with the punches, and take problems as they come. Worry less about them before they actually happen. That's my goal anyway. Everything is one day at a time, and when you can try to focus on that, life becomes a lot easier, and also, more beautiful.

Having said that, I'm doing a bit more, and have been getting out a lot more on walks which is helping a lot, even short ones. It helps physically but also mentally after a long winter cooped up because of the cold and ice, but also because I wasn't well.

On one of my evening walks with Kevin...

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I found the Timberdoodle egg! In April we had found a Woodcock (Timberdoodle) nest by chance and watched it carefully. We got there the day after the baby hatched, they run off right after the egg hatches since the chicks are born on the ground. I was so excited to find the shell since they are very difficult birds to even spot in the forest, let alone to find their nest. They are also one of my favorites, with their goofy beaks, and bodies, and habits.

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We also found this guy, one of the first out and about. I LOVE frogs.

P.S. I wasn't squeezing him at all! :)

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On our wanderings we spotted a porcupine in the distance in a spot we know that at least one lives...

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But further up the trail this guy almost ran right into Kevin! He just about walked into Kevin's leg before he realized we were people and he went to try and hide and turn his back to us... in the juniper patches you cannot see ahead of you, so he didn't know we were there.

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He wasn't too afraid of us though and just went up the teeny tree beside us, he didn't even go high, he was about eye level with us.

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By the looks of his face, he was an older guy (or girl)...

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But he calmly let us take some pictures and then as we wandered off he didn't even take the opportunity to run, he just sat there watching us from his tree.

They have such adorable faces. Like a teddy bear... but a sharp one :)

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Me and the dogs have been getting lots of walks in together too, long and short. One day we got quite a large hike in, probably the first time I went off trail and really did some climbing by myself since surgery! We walked past the barnyard on the way...

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Before I went into the bush, I wanted to check one of the juniper patches for antlers, and Douglas was impatient to get started...

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Rollie loves nothing more than running and climbing... I think he'd love agility. You put a course in front of him and he'd run it in 2 seconds... he goes out of his way to jump off of things, or go through them rather than going around... even in the house, he won't walk around the couch to get out of the living room, like everyone else, he goes straight over the top of it!

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Norman enjoyed the walk and kept up without a lick of a problem. For a 7 1/2 year old kid with an enlarged heart, after a lazy winter, I was really impressed. Not even any weezing. Didn't ask once to be carried like he usually does! We are all really happy to be able to be getting outside without the snow, it's a lot easier to get around... and warmer too!

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The girls are also happy and at a year and half old still giving me a dozen eggs a day (there are 10 hens.) I thought they might slow this year but they are not showing any sign of it. They are especially loving this rainy dreary weather because the worms are out in full force, which makes for happy chickens...

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I've also been busy trying to fit in normal spring chores like Vet visits, vaccines, hoof trimmings for the goats and Jackson the mini horse, the sheep need shearing, the Pyrenees get their spring clean up, the yards need cleaning up, fences mended, etc, etc. There is always a lot to catch up on in the spring and it all has to be done very quickly. The little boys had their annual check up and vaccines and I went ahead and vaccinated both Chihuahuas for lyme disease (Douglas already has been.) All three boys got clean bills of health, which makes us happy.

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We've had about 2-3 days we've been able to actually sit outside in the sun, since it's been pretty elusive lately, but we have enjoyed it when it's there...

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The Prairie dogs love being out in the sun, and are not happy it's turned too cold for them to be out again, but that will change. I have been planting lots of seeds and getting organized, although everything is late. I am hoping to have my usual big pot garden this year but also hoping to be able to work a bit in the big garden if my body allows it... that might be wishful thinking however. I'm also this year hoping to be able to preserve a lot since the past 2 years I have only been able to do very little... and our pantry needs restocking badly. I need new pickles, beets, sauces, some more jams, sauerkraut... and about a dozen other things! :)

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Last night I cooked up some of my fresh morels with pierogi and onions... they were delicious. For a mushroom lover they are a real delicacy (also because they are hard to find) but I honestly can't think of anything to compare the flavor to either. They are a real treat.

Today I had big plans but I am tired, so I am going to move my plants inside so they do not freeze tonight, and then just take it easy with the boys.

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They never mind "taking it easy."

I hope everyone has a great weekend whatever you are up to! :)


Mary Ann said…
Donna, you know what I noticed in this post? You have finally accepted that you need to take things slowly and heal as your body let's you...I'm so glad for you because this was a HAPPY post!!!!
Ian H said…
I am very happy that you are getting out and about! You "sound" so much better!
jaz@octoberfarm said…
i bet you are all happy to be out in semi decent weather! it sure was a long winter. did you see my new driveway garden? it is doing great so far and i am hoping i will get lots of veggies. i am still trying to figure out what died this winter and what is just taking a long time to snap back to life. there are things i almost gave up on but now i am seeing new growth!
littleRamstudio said…
Looks a wonderful area of the world.
We are envious of all those wild strawberries, we found one little plant hiding at the edge of our garden here last autumn. We needed to move it and so it is in a pot on the porch at present and thankfully has flowers.
The JR said…
Wow, wow, and more wow's on the morels. Would love to try them, but have never found them around the house.

I love the pics of the porcupine. Thank goodness the doggies were not there. That would have been bad.

Good to hear from you
Your photos capture the peace and tranquillity of the forest. It's photos like this that make me want to chuck city life and move to the country.
Winter was so brutal, even for us in the south. Now the sun is back, the warmth is back and with them, healing. Mind and body.
Continued healing to you and prayers for peace of mind.
Sounds like you're feeling better and goodness - you did find a mess of mushrooms!! I go to the farmer's market and buy the morels when they're in season. Like in your area - things seemed to come out a bit later than usual. I was afraid I had lost my fig tree - but leaves finally started popping out!! This past cold winter did a number on it though. Enjoy the warming weather and hope you continue with better health!

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