Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winter Walk-off 2012


 

For Winter Walk-off 2012, hosted by Les at A Tidewater Gardener, I am going to take you along on a walk I take almost every day, with two horses in hand. The pony is recovering from a condition that requires that she be hand-walked, and rather than leaving Prince to scream and run I take him along too.

The pasture looks brown at this time because the fescue (endophyte-free) has not yet peaked
above the level of the brown stuff, but there is grass in there for them. I don't know what the
grass outside the pasture is but it's the most extraordinary green in late winter/early spring.

 

Sunday afternoon DH manned the horses while I manned the camera.
 

We head past the pastures, following the track that leads down to the creek. On either side of this road are rough mown fields with saplings and blackberry patches, one of which is home to a wild crabapple tree that is a glorious beauty in April, a pond that's only a third full because we've had a dry year, and many wildflowers. Sunday evening we saw a Barred Owl take off from one of these fields and then fly from tree to tree. I heard one call last week so knew they had returned after being ousted by a pair of Great Horned Owls during the winter.
 

At the end of the pine tree tunnel there is a choice of going right or left. Either way you go you will end up in the same place, but the left is a more direct route to the creek. Straight ahead and to the left is a slough where we often spot Wood Ducks and turtles, and there are Swamp Tulepos and Hibiscus moscheutos in pink and white. The slough has just recently filled in with water again, which is highly unusual. The only time I have seen it dry before is a couple of years during summer drought.
 

The right hand option goes through sapling forest that is filled with light even in late afternoon.
 

Whoever owned the land before us sold the timber and in some places there are mounds created by logging.
 

With the Red Maples flowering overhead and the leaves just beginning to bud, the young River Birches are what catches the eye at this time.
 

The woods are filled with deer paths. Like a lot of people we see deer almost every day. One day when I was walking the horses next to the creek I looked up to see two does in the trees, motionless, not 10 feet away. I'm not sure if the horses saw them or had seen them long before I did. Horses are very astute at detecting motion, even at a distance.

Here the path runs parallel to the creek, lined with a mix of Northern River Oats, Possamhaw (Ilex decidua), and Hawthorns.
 

 

 

 

Mature American Hollies
 

and ghostly white Sycamores stand
sentinel at the creek's edge.
 

 

 

The walk from the house and around the loop and back takes about a half an hour. I walk the horses 1-2 times a day depending on the weather. In the evenings we take the horses back up the road past the pastures to the paddock behind the house. The green hill beyond is the neighbor's pasture. The fact that that pasture is spring green already and not sere brown is a testament to how mild our winter has been. I am grateful that the winter has been dry too, as it's made walking the horses a lot easier and more interesting. There are still some mud pits though, and some chainsaw work to be done before it's a good idea to ride the horse or pony under the branches that lean over the paths.
 

 

Thanks for joining me for this year's Winter Walk-off.


19 comments:

  1. What a beautiful area you live in! Thanks for taking us along.

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  2. You have such beautiful property to walk. I love the pine tunnel!

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  3. Wow !!! Such a gorgeous walk, the trees are so beautiful and your photos are perfect. Thank you, Sweetbay !!!

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  4. That was a lovely walk. I see your trees are already getting leaves. We're not there yet, but we're seeing some green shoots.
    Our horses almost always see deer or elk before we do. They seem to detect any movement, even from a great distance.

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  5. Love that Pine tunnel, very magical. I love your walks, especially the creek and the great trees around it.
    Can't believe how stripped the land is once they harvest timber, looks like a catastrophe hit.

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  6. Forgot to say I am glad you did this walk, saw your comment to Les.

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  7. I enjoyed this walking tour as much as the horses did. I love getting a sense of your property and the quiet woods around you. Thanks!

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  8. Sweetbay, thanks for joining in. I may not comment everytime you post, but I always enjoy looking at your beautiful garden through your trained eye. Some of your previous photos have shown glimpses of what lay on the other side of the fence and I was curious as to how the rest of the land looked. Now I have a better idea. Do you take a dip in the creek when the weather warms? Thanks again for taking part in my Walk-Off.

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  9. Such a wonderful walk. The pleasure was all mine, to accompany you and the horses. Such beauty.

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  10. I loved this walk! The pine tunnel, the creek, and the sapling forest are lovely. What a great way to spend 30 minutes.

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  11. Thank you everyone for your comments!

    Les no I haven't gone swimming in the creek but I have gone wading in it (and wasn't too thrilled about it either). ;)

    Janie in spite of how much I've heard horse people go on about limits of horses' vision (incomplete colorblindness, lack of depth perception compared to humans, the small blind spot directly in front), they sure do have excellent vision in general. They always see things before I do!

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  12. Gorgeous! The Pine Tree tunnel is my favorite but you certainly live in a beautiful area. Nice walk!

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  13. What a lovely property you have. I would walk twice a day too if I had such interesting paths to wonder along. Your trees are gorgeous...love the river birch and sycamores especially. And how lovely to have such a large stream too. My dogs would be in heaven!

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  14. You have so much outstanding natural beauty around you.

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  15. This is so beautiful. What a wonderful place to walk.

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  16. Thanks for taking us along on your winter walk-off. It is nice to see more of the area around your property. I particularly like the shots of the pine tree tunnel and the close shot of the bark on the tree trunks.

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  17. I feel so much more relaxed after taking the virtual walk with you! I am so happy for you and wish you all the glorious walks in the world (wishing I had a pine tunnel too!)

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  18. Oh Sweetbay, Your woods are enchanting . . . love the various trees and seeing your tunnels at the end of paths . . . the creek and the horses! Wonderful walk! Wonderful land and photos.

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  19. Dear Sweetbay! I am a displaced coastal N C gal and this walk with you was a return to home and youth. So beautiful - I felt I had walked those very paths and been to your creek. Thanks so much

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