Friday, December 6, 2019

December 2015

I'm going to take you back four years to December 2015, a winter month with virtually no snow when I got out on no fewer than 8 different interesting hikes, and really enjoyed it.  You had to dress up warm, but no slogging through snow.  I don't know if these will interest you, but to me there's nothing better than a saunter through the woods with my camera at any time of year, so bear with me while I revisit these memories.

The first walk that month was at Hope Haven Farm, a therapeutic riding centre near our former home.  I've thought of even going back there if they had a way to lift me onto a horse.

I headed first down the long farm lane away from the barn, finding beautiful dry stone walls marking the sides of the lane.

Beyond that lane and across a field the farm had an old tractor trail through a corner of the woods.  They had asked me to come and see if we could lengthen that trail through the woods because participants enjoyed it so much.

Of course I was fast distracted by the bright green moss and plants like cattails in a little wet patch.  The green was almost fluorescent in the damp weather.

It's surprising how green plants you can see if there's no snow cover, even in December.  There were ferns, that's Common Woodfern, and woodland sedges too, all bright green on the forest floor.

I worked my way through the woods flagging a trail route that would be wide enough for two people and a horse and rider, without too much large tree removal.  (They would have a volunteer or staff walking on each side of the horse for safety.)  Near the end as I came out to the fields again I found an interesting mix of old crumbled cedar rail fences and stone fencerows with more moss covered bright green boulders..

I'm still amazed at the effort the pioneers here went through to clear these fields.  I did get a trail flagged, and they cleaned it up and are using it with their riders, an interesting little project for me back then.  And a beautiful day in the woods.


  1. Those years ago, the work would have been so hard, no modern machinery, maybe dragging the rocks and logs by hand or behind a bigger horse, or on a cart. I marvel at how they stand there to testify until today,lovely green patches, there must be enough moisture on the forest floor to keep the ferns growing.

  2. We used to have a hoist at our riding stable to get people on a horse, though it used to take a while to get the horses used to the idea - we used to prepare them by hoisting the stable girls into the saddle! I've often wondered how much stone walls were about providing a wall and how much about clearing the rocks from the fields.

  3. We thrive as a species as long as we love this earth and your photos show your love.

  4. I have often marvelled as well at the back breaking work of pioneer people. A whole different way of doing things than we know now. I still get an occasional peak at some of that when I drive up through Amish Mennonite country west of Blyth and Belgrave Ontario.

  5. I've enjoyed revisiting these pictures with you. I remember you posting about the Hope Haven Farm.

  6. Nice photos. The old fences and walls are really interesting. Looking at the agricultural history down here it seems that the early settlers first made "snake" fences since they had plenty of wood from clearing the fields. As the wood ran out and they needed to clear rocks from the fields the stone wall were built. As soon as barbed wire was introduced there was no need to build walls so the stones were just piled up on the edge of the fields in stonerows. Your excellent photos show all of those stages -- well done sir.

  7. I loved going on this trip with you. And I too wonder sometimes how our ancestors managed to accomplish so much. Of course, they didn't have all the technological distractions we do. Even reading after the sun went down would have been difficult. Thanks for the memories! :-)

  8. The old stone walls and rail fences are a familiar sight.

  9. These are a very nice selection pf photographs, I enjoyed seeing them.

    All the best Jan

  10. It is incredible how hard people worked back then (without the technology). I love that their efforts can still be seen throughout the world, in small and large ways!

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