A Walk in the Woods

By Leah
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Last weekend we had a really beautiful day! And as it was around the first week of April, we headed to the woods to look for Morels.

As I’ve said before, our forty acres have been in the family nearly 100 years. At one time there was an old wagon road that crossed our property. It came along the bottom of the hollar and split into a fork — one road going up hill to the right, the other up hill to the left. We have tried to keep this old road fairly clear over the years and we come down the left fork when we go into the woods.

The dogs went with us of course, but Beauregard had to stay on the leash because if a rabbit popped up, or a deer scampered by he would be gone in an instant and might not come home for hours.

We have a great many sycamore trees on the property, which is where you find Morel mushrooms growing. Greg anchored Beau’s leash to the feed trough we put down there for the deer, and scouted around the trees hoping for large patches of the highly prized fungus.

Unfortunately, we found everything but the sweet Morels. I wandered around taking pictures of the more interesting items. Large flat rocks in the dry creek bed. Bones probably belonging to deer the coyotes have killed.

Wild flowers, a wild rose bush, May Apples, and wild blackberries abound in our woods.

I found some old friends as well. I grew up playing in these woods, and my favorite things were the wild grape vines to climb and swing on, exposed tree roots to hide treasures in, and deformed trees to climb.

We haven’t been fortunate enough to find mushrooms in several years now. Back in 2009 Northwest Arkansas had a devastating ice storm. It damaged many wooded areas around here, including ours. We were without power for fourteen days. That spring the mushroom patches were very sparse, and have gotten smaller over the years until now we are lucky to find a handful in a season. I have also heard rumors of ‘mushroom thieves’ in the area climbing over fences at the backside of properties and harvesting whatever they can find either for their own use, or to sell. So one way or another, our mushrooms have vanished.

So we climbed back up the left fork of the old wagon road, passed the oak tree at the top where my father and grandfather used to stack shocks of corn, and through the gate into the front pasture. Then we set our sights on the house and let Beau free to run.

But it wasn’t a complete loss. We still enjoy our trips into the woods just to enjoy the peace and beauty God has blessed us with. And that is what makes Old Home Farm special.

Photos property of Leah McAllister.