Beth trying out the trail

Beth trying out the trail


Today after work I cut a new trail across the woods in the front of the house. It’s only about 150 feet long and runs north-south. Or south-north, depending! It’s about 30 feet from the road, so that puts it right there at the front of the property.

I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time, and mentioned it to Beth as a possibility. She asked me if I could work on it tonight, and I figured that I most certainly could. I didn’t think I was going to actually finish it tonight, but that’s exactly what happened.

I cut all the brush with a set of pruning shears, except for two trees that were a little bit too big for those to handle (they were both under two inches in diameter though). I used a bow saw on them. I also lopped off all the overhanging branches. It took maybe an hour.

The new trail starts at the frog pond and ends at the driveway. I don’t think anyone could tell it was there from the road. It’s about six feet wide, so that should be plenty of space for a speeding bicycle.

With the addition of this trail, Beth can now ride her bike in a circuit all the way around our property. I was a bit too tired to join her in that tonight (having just cut a trail and all), but maybe tomorrow we can give it a go.

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I got a couple of blisters on my left hand today. One of them opened up and hurts pretty much all the time. ouch. About a week ago we had some wind come through here, and it blew down a dead oak in the woods behind the house. That oak hit a witch hazel, and the witch hazel bent over and laid its crown on the trail I made earlier this year. The oak was too heavy for me to move. I thought about cutting the witch hazel to reopen the trail, but decided that since the oak was the one at fault here, I needed to do something about it and restore the hazel to its upright position. So I grabbed my axe and cut the oak in two. In this picture, you can see the witch hazel on the right.

Oak log

Oak log


Once I had the oak cut in half, I was able to easily move it off the hazel. I stood it back up, and then walked the trail.

Sometime last week I took the mattock out to the trail to try to level it up a bit. There are several places where the trail rises and falls a foot or more over a four foot stretch. I guess I leveled out five spots like that. This morning on my way to the oak, I noticed some deer tracks in some of the fresh dirt left after my leveling attempt. We don’t see them very often here, but it’s nice to know they are around.

I guess I would see three or four deer a day back in Virginia. I see three or four a year here. I think it’s because NH is so much less developed than VA, so the deer have much better cover, and use it as much as they can. Or maybe the deer are just less dense here, I dunno. The suburbs really do make pretty decent deer habitat, so I guess they could just be overpopulated there.

My squash bloomed today. One nice, fat blossom, and it was on one of the smaller plants. I looked more closely and saw that at least a half dozen plants have flower buds on them. It’s a race now between the squash and the frost. It remains to be seen which one will be the victor. I watered the squash this morning, and again in the evening. I want to give it as much of an edge over its adversary as I can.

Va, Beth, and I went into Concord today. Beth wanted to buy some shampoo for the Bags-of-Love program we have running at our church. This program was actually started in Hopkinsville, KY at the church Va went to until we moved to VA. Our pastor’s wife found out about it and got our church involved. These bags are given to kids (mostly teens, I think) who are taken from their homes by the State. This happens for a variety of reasons, chief among them being parental incarceration (I would guess). The bags are filled with comfort items to help the child get through what promises to be a very traumatic time. Beth wanted to buy some shampoo, so that’s what we got.

I also bought some sponges, car soap, and poster board, and if that sounds like almost everything a person would need for a car wash, that’s because the Pathfinders are having a car wash tomorrow. I will also bring two hoses, a fourth sponge, and two buckets. Beth helped me make a poster when we got home, and she did a pretty decent job! I outlined the letters (FREE CAR WASH) and she colored them in. I taught her to think ahead so she didn’t have to drag her hand through wet marker ink, and she followed those instructions perfectly. No smudges, and no messy hand. But… I still need to color another!

I also worked on teaching her to ride a two-wheeler today. I have some training wheels on a bike, but they’re cobbled on. If she leans to the right, the training wheel tends to fold back. I guess I need to slap an extra bolt on there so that quits happening. Right now it’s OK, because she only rides it when I have my hands on the handle bars helping her balance. The lesson today was how to pedal and brake. Balance comes later.

I learned when I taught the boys to ride that the secret is to make them go fast. Most people (me included when I was first teaching Jonathan) tend to go slow at first, but it is incredibly difficult to balance a bike that’s creeping along. Fast makes it easy to balance. When I taught David, we went to a grassy hill and sped down it. He caught on pretty quick. I’m hoping Beth will too. It’d sure be nice to take her bike riding.

Oops! I almost forgot! I saw a pickerel frog (Rana palustris) today. Beth spotted him. I would have walked right by. Here he is:

Rana palustris

Rana palustris


OK! Thank you both for reading!