Willow House is situated on 65 acres. The forty acres at the rear of the property are forested. Sunday was a beautiful day, sunny, positively balmy for February. The thaw has melted away a lot of snow and what is left is compacted and frozen enough to walk on, so we decided a walk in the woods was in order. The trails through the forest were once used for taking out wood. They have been poorly maintained over the past few years, but are still clear enough to offer an easy hiking surface.
The winter woods have a tranquil and restful feeling, but the plentiful animal tracks and trails give evidence to the lives being lived beyond our gaze. Coyotes, foxes, raccoons, deer and squirrels had all left their marks, although the melting snow had distorted many prints. Here, the cloven hooves of deer have left deep impressions:
Wherever the snow had melted away, the bright green of Fan Clubmoss (Diphasiastrum digitatum) was visible. For Themarvelousinnature‘s take on this interesting and ancient plant, visit her blog entry here.
The forest has many young trees and few large, mature ones. Tree stumps and an occasional stack of firewood testify to the logging that has been done in the past.
One of the most majestic trees in the forest is this towering Eastern White Pine (Pinnus strobus), which was spared the woodman’s axe.