Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Amish Forest - Part 1

There is an Amish family just down the gravel road from me. They have carved their farm out of the forest and built all the buildings. The husband trims my horses' hooves and one day I asked him if he owned the forest across the road from his house because there was an attractive dirt lane going into it which I'd like to walk with the dogs. He said he did not, but gave me the phone number of the man who did. I called and got permission to walk the lane, and one morning I did so. I parked my car across from the Amish farm:

And entered the forest with my very excited dogs:

All along the edge of the lane were blackberries in full bloom. There will be some good eating this summer by the looks of things:

And underfoot were hundreds of wild strawberries, fully ripe:

Ovenbirds, Chickadees and Wood Thrushes filled the air with their songs, and Ravens croaked warnings as they flew overhead to check out the intruder:

Most of the forest at that point was pine, and some of the trees were numbered. I later learned that the numbered trees would soon be cut for telephone poles:

 I learned from another neighbor that these pines had been planted many decades ago on land that had been depleted by too many years of potato farming:

I heard and saw the owner up ahead as we approached, so I put the dogs on leashes. I got to meet the man, who was mowing his lawn when we arrived. His cottage in the forest has no electricity and was built on an old foundation, probably the home site of the former potato farmers' house:

We talked for a while and the dogs ran and played. He told me what to expect from the dirt lane as I continued, so I soon went on my way. Out behind his cottage he'd planted several fruit trees, with protection against marauding deer:

We continued on the dirt lane, but it was seldom traveled beyond the house, so was less obvious. The owner had said that there were lots of coyotes, enough so that they followed hunters out of the woods with their deer carcasses. He also said there had been quite a number of black bears, though they had not caused any trouble:

All in all, it was a pleasant walk in a beautiful forest:

And the dogs were happy, having lots of fun. We took a side trail for a short distance, but soon turned back toward our original dirt lane, which the owner had said would take us back to the gravel road. Our walk was not over yet, and I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

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