Yesterday when I got home from work I took a lap around our property. I was on the lookout for small, straight hardwood trees. I need some poles for a competition the Pathfinders will engage in this May (lashing poles together to make a ladder). I found some suitable trees (2 inches in diameter) and cut them down. I wanted to cut them down with my bow saw, but I had left that in the Pathfinder trailer at the church. So I used my ax instead.

While I was scouting for trees I came across this bit of loveliness:

Slug surfing a slime mold

Slug surfing a slime mold


I believe this is a slime mold. I should have gone out again today to look at it – slime molds are motile, so it would have moved by today. Instead, David and I took Penny for a walk.

The path is still ice-covered

The path is still ice-covered

I wanted to bring the GPS and turn on some third-party software I loaded onto it. This software logs the position every 15 seconds or so. The reason I wanted to do this was so that I could add the trails in the Northfield Town Forest to OpenStreetMaps.org. Mission accomplished (but the trails don’t show up when I view the maps for some reason – maybe because I don’t know what I’m doing).

We covered most of the trails through the forest, but there are still a couple more I will get later. It was getting dark.

Along the road we live on their is an old chair in the woods. It has been there at least since we moved here seven years ago. Back then there was still leather on the seat and the back rest has not rotted off.
Decomposing chair in the woods
The beer bottle in the seat is relatively new though.
Decomposing chair in the woods

This has been an action-packed weekend. After church yesterday, the Adventurer Club met at the Haggett Farm. They worked on their Tree Fun patch, and I got to serve as the expert tree identifier for them. They found plenty of maple (striped, sugar, and red), oak (red and white), witch hazel, beech, birch, white pine, hemlock, spruce, and balsam fir. I know Ken has Sassafras and cherry up there too, but we didn’t come across any. He also has an orchard. We also hiked down to the beaver pond. I took a few photos while there, some of which I really liked:

An old stump in the beaver pond

An old stump in the beaver pond


Broken Footbridge

Broken Footbridge


Pool of Water

Pool of Water


The broken footbridge crosses the creek that drains the beaver pond. The water just kind of seeps out between the rocks in the dam and then pools up (picture three) before gathering itself into the stream. I really liked the photo of the pool.

After the Adventurer activities were finished, we hung around until the Haggett’s annual Harvest Party. Ken built a bonfire and we all gathered around it and ate a potluck meal. There was plenty of good food to go around. After dark Ken fired up the tractor and pulled a hay wagon around the farm (complete with riders). Before he put it in gear though he gave a speech about how important it was for everyone to stay on the wagon, because he didn’t want to accidentally run over anyone. And everybody but one kid listened to his advice. He thought it would be a good idea to hang over the front edge of the wagon and kick at the wagon wheel. Which promptly grabbed him and sucked him under. Yes, he was run over by the wagon from his calf over his right shoulder. He seemed OK to me, and for the most part, he was. It was in a soft pasture, so the wagon pressed him down into the ground rather than crushing every bone it passed over (which was a lot). We had two doctors on board and they did a quick examination by the light of several flash lights. Then they took him up to the house and had a better look. His parents took him in for X-rays. No broken bones, no internal bleeding, but lots of road rash (or pasture rash I suppose) and some bruising. Anyhow, he’s in pretty good shape considering what happened.

That brings me to today. For Jonathan’s fitness class, he has been organizing hikes, and the last one was today. We hiked up Mount Major. Three kids from the Pathfinder Club came with us and we also brought Penny. David was busy with school work, and Beth decided to sit this one out.

When we got there, I guess there must have been 200 cars parked along the shoulders of the road. Needless to say, the parking lot was at capacity as well. It was a perfect day to take that hike with the leaves pretty much at peak, holiday weekend (Columbus Day), and perfect weather.

I whipped out my camera about half way up the mountain, took a picture, and was told (by the camera) “No Memory Card” – boo. Luckily, I have a tiny one in my camera bag. It has enough room to hold six full-sized pictures. I reduced the image size so I was able to take a few more than that. Here’s a nice one:

Fall Foliage from Mount Major

Fall Foliage from Mount Major


Here’s another showing Lake Winnipesaukee:
Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major

Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major

We got down to the bottom again by about 1:00pm and headed home. Shortly after that, it was time for a Pathfinder meeting. Today we worked on the President’s Fitness Challenge. Luckily, I had to run the stop watch to time everyone in the mile, so I kinda got out of it. Va had invited the Adventurer’s too, because they also need to do that. So we ended up running all the kids through all five events (the mile, shuttle run, V-sit, push ups, and sit-ups). We did that first so the Adventurers wouldn’t have to wait for us to get to that part of our meeting.

At the meeting we finished up the theory portion of the Hiking honor. And now here I am at home, pretty much wiped out.

Today Jonathan had planned a hike to the summit of Mount Kearsarge. The same group of people who participated two weeks ago joined us again, as did David.

After church, we ate a quick lunch and then drove to Winslow State Park. When we got there, I found something new that I hadn’t seen there before – an attendant. They’ve always had a little booth at the entrance to that park, and it has always had a sign on it saying “Stop. Pay fee.” But there has never (until today) been anyone there to collect that fee, nor has there been a place to deposit one. So I was a bit surprised by this.

And unprepared.

This fee is $4.00 per person over the age of 12. I had only $4.00 on me, but I had three people over the age of 12. The party joining us had one person over 12, and he had no cash on him either. So we did a U-turn.

That’s a long drive for a U-turn. As it turns out, our companions live within a couple miles of us, so I thought we might as well hike all the way around Sandogardy Pond. Some of that hike is along a couple of roads, and that part of it was rather unpleasant. But overall, it was a decent hike.

We also saw another very rare thing – a train on the tracks that skirt the pond. Trains are so rare on this stretch of track, that they actually stop when they get to the road. A guy hops off the train and flags the traffic to stop. Then the train crosses.

It might be a bit charitable to call this a train anyhow. It consisted of one diesel engine pulling an antique engine. Or maybe it was a caboose. We were too far away to really make it out. Maybe I should have taken a picture.

Penny is crazy. This afternoon, I suggested that we go for a walk down to Sandogardy Pond. All three of my kids took me up on this, which is rather unusual. We took Penny with us.

The snow has been receding at a breakneck pace, but there are still plenty of patches of it, and it’s still a foot deep here and there. But I think there is more bare ground now than snow-covered. We got to the pond, and saw that it was still frozen over, though it’s melted at the edges. No way would I venture out there now.

I went to the edge of the pond to see if I could find anything in bloom, but I found nothing. So far, the only blossoms are still those crocuses in Concord. While I was crouched down looking into the water, Penny came splashing in. She flopped right in the water and started drinking. Need I remind you of the snow? Or mention that this is ice water? Didn’t seem to bother her in the least.

Penny taking an ice bath

Penny taking an ice bath

Then she picked up the stick she had brought with her and ambled on out. She shook herself dry, and was ready to chase that stick some more.

We walked through the forest-cum-field on the way there and on the way back. It really looks like a scene of total devastation with shattered tree trunks and branches scattered everywhere. I guess the branches are 6 inches deep over most of the area. It makes for a challenging hike.

Beth expressed concern that we were going to get lost in the vastness of the place, but I scoffed, telling her that I thought I was more than capable of leading us through a field without getting lost. We could, after all, see the roads on all three sides.

Beth and Jonathan making their way through the bush

Beth and Jonathan making their way through the bush

That said, the place is totally unrecognizable, and in spite of my navigational prowess, I misjudged the distance we had walked. We went a bit too far and had to turn around to hit where the trail used to be, leading to the road. I guess we could have just cut west and made our way to the road, but that would have led us through people’s backyards. I didn’t want to do that, so we did double back. I can’t believe I got us “lost” in a field. Maybe that will teach me to boast!