A new adventure place, only 10 minutes from home. Blocked from a semi-busy road by a row of trees, yet feeling like we were in our own forest world. Two plots of fir trees and the surprising discovery of a grove of American Chestnut trees, managed by the state for some reason. Two small "ponds", simply depressions filled with a couple inches of water that was frozen over, enough for the little babe to go "fishing". Active animal burrows, the beautiful remains of a large bird, a tiny bird's nest, tracks in the remaining patches of snow, and milkweed seeds to throw to the wind. The little babe had wanted a playground; I chose this place. We both declared it was a good day.
For the past several weeks, there have been mice (otherwise known as my husband) leaving notes around our house. They have been giving us clues about an upcoming trip, which was a surprise for both the little babe and myself. I was content not to know, but when the notes started mentioning things like sleeping bags, snow, and having to haul our gear in by sled, I got a bit anxious curious. I also happened to spy an email subject line on my husband's computer and so had a good hunch, but I couldn't put it all together. What it turned out to be was a fantastic quick trip to Vermont and Maine and yes, we did sleep in sleeping bags, trudge through snow, and haul our gear by sled (and head lamp) into our tiny house Airbnb. We also did this.
(Other participant's baskets above.)
We attended a pack basket making workshop at Lazy Mill Living Arts in Stannard, Vermont. We had a great time with awesome people in a beautiful snowy setting AND we came home with two handmade baskets. My husband's basket has a much nicer shape than mine, but mine will hold a lot - maybe even the little babe!
After the workshop ended on Sunday, we headed through the White Mountains to western Maine and spent the night in the Crooked River Tiny House. We arrived after dark and not sure how far we had to haul our gear through the snow. Luckily it was not that far and the little house warmed up quickly, so much that we even slept with a window open during the single digit Maine night. The next morning we explored the property along the river, spotted turkey and mouse tracks (yes, mouse, not moose), and walked back on the frozen river.
We then headed over to our favorite beach to see what it is like in February.
The funny part is that we went North looking for a "real winter" and we did find it, but then two days after returning home, we woke up to a surprising winter wonderland - 5 inches of heavy snow. I had a fantastic trip, but it feels good to be home and back in our woods, especially on skis!
~space to wander, wonder, and explore. Even though it was just a bit more than a dusting of snow, the little babe declared that it was enough for the sled. So she got herself situated, dragging stick in hand, and I hooked up the beast of burden to the sled. No, not the Corgi, the Momma. It was a rough pull and bumpy ride over the rocky parts, but the pulling wasn't bad on the smooth leafy trail. Through the woods, to the field, and loop back around. With my walking stick in hand and little babe chattering to herself in the sled behind me, I enjoyed the meditative exercise. Stick down, step, step, stick down, step, step, slush, slush, slush. I love these woods and hope the little babe is learning to love them too.
Oh, silly us. Since the temps have been well above freezing for the past two weeks, we thought that we'd head out to the lake for a foggy morning paddle. We loaded the life jackets and paddles into the back of the car and drove through dense fog up and over the mountain. As we approached the lake in almost 50 degree temps, it looked like we were out of luck. I asked if maybe we could break through, ice breaker style. Responding to my question from atop several inches of ice, my husband said the answer was a definite no.
The lake was still definitely frozen. So instead of paddling, we walked along the shore and headed into the woods. When we first arrived, we could see two pairs of Snow Geese sitting on the ice. Several minutes later, the entire lake was hidden by fog. Water droplets clung to everything and it was beautiful.
Along the path in the woods, we discovered that turkey tail mushrooms are flourishing in the wet and warm weather. Their scientific names, Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor, mean "of several colors" and indeed, we found some very colorful specimens.
We didn't get to paddle, but it still was a great morning. I'm hoping that the snow sled that remains in the back of the car will see more use before the life jackets and paddles.
~a senior dog who acts likes a pup again on cold snowy days. Lola turned 11 years old on New Year's Day, but has been joining the little babe and I on long cold wood's walks.
~requests for hot chocolate from the little babe. Because she has never had packaged hot chocolate, she loves Momma's homemade healthy recipe. Raw milk, dark cocoa powder, a pinch of cinnamon, and a drop of maple syrup and she is a happy sipper.
~the little babe's enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoors. She started the day with a request for a wood's walk. I said we'll see what the day holds. And then when we saw that there was snow? Definitely!
~my two working eyes so that I can notice the little details in nature. I am also thankful for the access that I have to eye health services. I have pretty bad vision in both eyes and the luxury of being able to have contact lenses delivered right to my front door is pretty amazing.
(Turkey tail mushrooms in the snow.)
~the ability to hear the sound of (almost) silence. Standing still in the snowy woods, the little babe asks me what I hear. Almost always the faint sound from an airplane overhead. And the rustling of dry beech leaves. That was it.
A dusting of snow, 27 degrees - a perfect morning for an outing. No other cars in the parking lot at the local marshy boardwalk area. The only birds we saw were Chickadees and Blue Jays, but we found plenty of evidence of unseen wildlife. Deer and raccoon prints near the stream, a headless rabbit in the grasses, and scat on the boardwalk. Climbing trees and singing Christmas songs (the little babe and I, not the wildlife). And who says you need paper and pencil to practice writing letters?