three :: mosey + plod

Come walk in the knoll pasture.  We might as well check the fenceline as we walk the perimeter.  This is a really hilly pasture, so I hope you’re wearing comfortable boots.

Bella has spotted us and comes running.  She is very excited to join us.

More excitement, as Bella has spotted a long, lost old bone

Looking up from the bottom of the hill, we can see that there’s plenty of shelter in this pasture – a small box shelter and plenty of trees that are the most popular spot in the pasture.

Walking a little farther, we discover a ground hog hole… actually we find four of them.  We’ll have to get them filled in before late spring.  They’re a danger to the sheep, and a real danger to the tractor drivers when we brush hog the pasture.

Now we have reached one of my favorite spots on the farm.  When you stand down here, it’s as if you are in the bottom of a bowl.  The steep sides of the pasture curve around.  You feel sheltered and protected.  It’s magical.

Our daydreaming is quickly interrupted because here come the girls over in the adjoining pasture.  They’re looking for breakfast.
Bella says we better head up the hill and get to the barn before the girls stage a break-out.  We pick up the pace and move on toward the top of the hill and morning chores.

mosey + plod :: two


It’s time for week two of mosey + plod.  Let’s meander though the back pasture… look there’s Daisy waiting by the gate to welcome us.  We are all enjoying a break in the wintry weather with sunshine and temperatures near sixty.
Looking back over our shoulder, Moe is standing guard at the fence, stamping his feet, making sure that Raven is not going to somehow sneak inside the pasture. 

Walking down the hill toward Madison, we come to the little wooden bridge we built across the gully.  For some reason it always reminds me of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and as usual I start mimicking The Troll “Who’s that trip-trapping across my bridge?” in my scariest, deepest troll-like voice.  Luckily, there is no troll waiting for us today, and we make it safely across with just a little slipping and sliding on the mossy boards.


Making the turn up the hill we find evidence of the wild turkeys, squirrels and chipmunks feasting under the hickory and walnut trees.  There still seems to be plenty of mast on the ground so hopefully the wildlife will have a good winter.
After following us for awhile and checking our pockets for carrots, Liam and the rest of the sheep have lost interest in us and have gone back up to the top of the pasture to graze.  They are intent on finding what ever green bits they can while there is no snow cover.


Walking on through the pasture to one of the bottom gates, if we look through the trees, we can see Poseidon and his girls over on the knoll pasture. 
Maybe, we will mosey over there next week.

(I am so excited to be a part of this amazing group of walkers put together by urban.prairie.forest to honor her Grandma Jean.  Thank you for this wonderful project!)

While We Were Walking

Don’t think for a moment that the Moving into March walk went unnoticed by the farm dwellers.  They definitely recognize when there is anything out of the ordinary, and are never at a loss for words. 

“I think you are going the wrong way!”

“We ran all the way down here… we thought you were bringing the hay!”

“What are you doing down there?”

“We’ve been up and down this hill four times.  Aren’t you finished taking pictures?”

“You better be coming up out of there with hay!”

“Don’t make me come down there and get you!”

A Long Explore

A beautiful, very early Sunday morning… let’s join Raven on a long explore.

This little spring-fed brook is one of our favorite secret places.

It is particularly lovely in the early morning sunlight.

Our little, shallow spring-fed brook is lined with moss covered stones.

Ok, this is our real destination, we were really coming to check on the Ramp (Allium tricoccum Aiton) patch! Here in the West Virginia hills, spring is Ramp season. Since they are one of the first plants to emerge in the spring, they are traditionally eaten as the first greens of the season. It is believed that Native Americans taught settlers to eat this wild leek as a spring tonic. Ramps are high in vitamins C and A, helpful minerals and reduce cholestrol, so the folk medicine reputation is well deserved. They are very strong and spicy so they also do a good job of keeping the ‘Non-Ramp Eaters’ at a distance.

Even our distinguished United States Senator, the honorable Robert C. Byrd, sings the
praises of the Mighty Ramp
In West Virginia, the emergence of the Ramp, after our long winters, is certainly a cause for celebration. You can visit a Ramp Farm, and you can even buy Ramp Wine. We hold numerous Ramp Festivals and in every hill and holler you will find churches and volunteer fire departments holding Ramp Feeds. As a matter of fact, come join us at the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department’s Annual Ramp Dinner on Sunday, April 26th, and celebrate spring in the West Virginia mountains!
Edited to add:
Ramp dinner noon-4 p.m. April 26th at the Aurora Fire Dept. Includes ham, fried potatoes, (with or without ramps), soup beans, cooked ramps, raw ramps, ramp salad, corn muffins (with or without ramps, desserts and drinks. Cost $8 per person.

Winter treat

Who wouldn’t take advantage of this extremely rare 60-degree December day and enjoy an afternoon walk? Raven and I started down the hill and were soon joined by an unexpected companion.

Davita… who has now decided that she is (a.) not a barn cat, (b.) resident house cat, (c.) Raven’s friend and companion. Please note that there is not one person or animal on the farm that has agreed with her on any of these decisions.
On this quiet, cloudy day this maple tree ‘skeleton’ looks serene.
Raven stopped on the knoll at the last patch of snow for some refreshment.

We all enjoyed exploring this rock ledge on the side of the knoll. All the colors in the woods have a lovely misty, muted and somewhat grey hue on this cloudy day.

Davita took some time out from our walk to climb this pretty little tree.

Heading back toward the house, we stopped to contemplate the beauty of this oak tree. Don’t you think that the base of the tree looks like the perfect location for a fairy door? Hmmm…

Toward the end of our long walk, Davita began to complain often and loudly. When we finally made it back to the house she had a long rest near the little grove of arborvitae. I am not sure if she will decide to join us for a walk again, anytime soon.
This warm, winter walk was a wonderful afternoon treat during what has already been very cold and very snowy weather.