Friday, May 24, 2013

Nature's Treasures

      When I was a little girl, I spent a great deal of time playing in the woods.  I loved the peacefulness.  The quiet noises and earthy smell delighted my soul.  I was at home in the woods.  The trees transformed into houses, stones were placed in just the right places for my "tile" floors, exposed roots winding up the hillside became the steps inside my home, leading me and my imaginary guests from my downstairs living areas to my upstairs quarters. It was from the bounty of God's great gifts in nature, that my dad provided for our family.  He did commercial fishing in the summer months, hunted and sold ginseng, trapped, skinned, and sold furs through the winter, and for a few years, dove the muddy waters of the Mississippi in search of clams to sell.  Despite my mother's strong disliking for the taste of wild game, most of our meals consisted of things my dad and brother had brought home from hunting or fishing.  From a very early age, two of my favorite things to hunt in the woods were morel mushrooms and those little red berries connected to the roots that were like gold to my father (ginseng).   Unfortunately when I was old enough for my "real" hunting adventures to begin, I did not do so well.  I am sure Dad was more than slightly disappointed when he took me on my first hunting trip, that involved more than just picking something growing from the ground.  When my moment of glory came I could not pull the trigger and shoot the cute little squirrel.  Oh, I would be glad to eat him for dinner, but I quickly discovered that I was not going to be able to be the one who was MAKING him dinner!!!  Dad never took me hunting again, and I never asked to go again.  My years of practicing my aim at the little pop can (which I thoroughly enjoyed) were over too.

     Dad had given up on making me a hunter, but my love for nature and the woods remained.  Seven years ago when my husband and I looked at the lot we built our house on, he stood picturing where the house would sit, where the garage would be, etc.  I, on the other hand, headed straight for the woods.  I stepped out of the real world and into the quiet peacefulness of the woods.  "Sold!," I announced.  Immediately I began picturing our children making the same kinds of memories I had made myself as a child in the woods, and I very much wanted that for our children.  But, what really sealed the deal???  A few weeks later we came back again.  It was morel season.  There were quite a few dead elms on the edge of woods.  I had to know.  It was raining, and I think I even had on my church clothes, but I didn't care, and off I went into the woods.  I didn't have to look long before finding a handful of morels!  My husband called the owner (who probably thought we were INSANE) and asked if I could pick them (he said yes, btw).  We enjoyed those mushrooms for dinner that night, and were now certain this land was for us.  I mean, SERIOUSLY, who would pass up land that has morels right there, right off of where the yard would be????!!!!

     So now every year I go down to the woods in April and May wondering what treasures we might find.  Some years we find quite a few, and others we find only one or two, but we are always grateful for whatever we find.  This year I have had no success.  I have gone down daily to find absolutely nothing.  Today was the same.  Except for this time I did find what looked to me like a morel which had already been found by someone else:


I also found some other things that interested me.  So after coming back inside I decided to venture out once more, only this time with the camera to take some pictures of those interesting things.

Like this:
By the way, I am TOTALLY afraid of wolf spiders and look who snuck into the picture without me knowing!  I had a slight increase in risk of heart attack after I stood up, saw it, and realized just how close we were.


 and this:

AND...because God is great...ALL THE TIME...out of the corner of my eye...I also saw THIS:

We are not a greedy family and this sole little guy (split into tiny pieces to share) is going to be a delight to our six mouths tonight!

Yum, yum!!!!


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