I used to call them walks, but at my current age, weight and physical condition, I suspect “waddle” would better describe my motions from a distance. Still, at least I was out moving today. Hoping to find some morels, I put a couple plastic bags in my pocket, my pistol on my belt, my cap on my head, my short-sleeved flannel shirt over my T-shirt and picked up Ol’ Possum Knocker. Thus armed, I headed over the ridge toward the hollow to the north of the house. I’d found a single morel, purely by accident, only 50 yards from the house there a couple years ago and left it. I was hoping it might have sent its spores abroad and started some new ones. Several trees were on the ground and rotting and several were dead and standing on the slope. I looked all over, but especially around the decaying chunks of wood. Nothing was there to be found, unfortunately.
My goal was the flat below the ridge-top where my home sits, and even moving at a snail’s pace, I was there in only a few minutes. The hunt was no more productive there than on the slope above. I decided to use the deer trails, since it was the easiest walking. Of course, the critters that made those trails may be one reason that I saw no morels. I hadn’t gone far when I came to a medium-size tree across the trail and decided it was time to rest my aching carcass. (It was aching on principle, not because of the short walk.) I noticed that the round top of the log was much more comfortable to my bursitis-plagued backside than the flat oak chair in front of my computer where I’ve been spending too much time lately. The back part of my hip bones (called the “ischeum” I think) hung beyond the top of the arched seat, instead of grating on a flat surface. I swear, it felt downright therapeutic!
While thus seated, I looked around me to see if I could figure out why so many trees were dying in the area. Strangely enough, it wasn’t that the under-story was shading out. While there wasn’t a LOT of dead trees, many of the ones that were actually composed the over-story. I noticed that I was especially losing the aspen in the area. I hated to see that, for I was hoping they’d get a little larger and give me some nice bowl-turning blanks in a few years. The bad thing is, a grove of aspen is often connected to a single rootstock, so that if one dies, they may ALL gradually die, depending on the cause. Having no answer, I finally arose to move on and disturbed an unseen towhee in the process. Those who know them will understand why I call them a towhee when a see them, but always a chewink when I only hear them.
Moving on, I noticed that a storm had twisted a few small to medium trees off midway up at some time in the past. I hadn’t passed that way for a couple years, so I couldn’t say just when. The strangest thing of all, though, was seeing a four-foot-long piece of my septic field pipe lying there in the woods, well over a hundred yards from where the logger had damaged the field a couple summers ago. He wouldn’t have put it there, so with the damaged trees, I wondered if there’d been a mini-tornado in the area at some point. If so, it would have been within 125 yards of the house. Moving on, I passed the nearly worn-out, but repairable tractor blade that I’d left there a few years ago. It should be worth a few bucks to somebody. Then, I came to the main log road for the property and headed back uphill toward the house. The tarp that I’d put over an old stack of lumber there is going bad, so I either need to move the lumber or recover it soon, or I’ll lose it.
Not far uphill from that, I passed a drag scoop for the tractor that I no longer have. It should bring a few dollars, too, as will the worn-out-but repairable brush-hog not far above it. I may give it to a neighbor though, since he was kind enough to get my tractor started for me, when I wanted to sell it. A little further up the hill, I came to a tiny almost level spot beside the trail within a stone’s throw of the corner of our wooded back-yard. I believe I’ll make a 6x8 foot tin shed there for some tools, since I have no storage at this place and my basement needs decluttered. Finally, I made it to the railroad ties that surround my bed of irises and had a seat. Sitting there, I mulled over the feeling of no longer having a farm tractor, after a life of having access to one. It was another one of those fish-out-of-water sensations for me.
Before long, my phone vibrated and my wife asked where I was. I told her to look out the glass doors and she’d see me. After a short conversation, I moseyed on to the house and rejoined my wife and pooch in the TV room. Having found no morels, I made up for it by having the second third of my greens from the other day, along with part of a baguette slathered in some Irish butter. Delicious! © 2014