Back to the woods (10)

(The glow of the maple leaves.)

I walked to the back of the property this morning.  Back to the woods.  This is the time of year when I can wander around back there for as long as I like.  In the spring the vernal pools keep great sections of the ground in the woods under water and mushy.  In the summer months the swarms of mosquitoes are so thick that no amount of bug repellant can keep them away and you’re likely to leave drained of a good portion of your blood and many itchy bites.

(The path to the woods.)

But in the autumn months the ground dries up, the mosquitoes and deer flies hide from the cooler, windier weather, and I can easily make my way down to the creek.

(The creek today.)

I don’t think I’ve been back to see the creek since last winter or maybe early in the spring.  Winter is another good time to visit the woods, but I have to be sure to wear my winter boots and take great care as it can get icy back there.

(The creek on January 9, 2010.)

It’s a dewy kind of day today.  My feet and the bottom of my jeans were soaked by the time I got back to the woods, having walked through the former hay field (future woods) to have a good look at the trees we planted.

(Dewy red clover.)

(Leaves on one of the linden trees we planted.)

Rain has arrived along with even cooler temperatures.  The clouds darkened and thickened all morning, but there was the occasional thin spot where the sun tried to shine through.

(Looking at the clouds through the trees in the woods.)

The only sounds in the woods were coming from me, walking on and cracking the branches scattered on the ground.  M and I have to get back there soon with the chipper-shredder and start making some mulch while we clean things up a little.  The path through the woods, underused during the summer months, is hard to find.

Coming back along the eastern side of the pond, I spotted a green frog sitting at the edge of the water.  Most of them jump when I approach, but this one just sat and stared at me.  He reminds me a little of the frog on ice:

(November 2008)

I don’t know why I’m posting snow and ice photos from the past.  We’ll be seeing that sort of stuff soon enough.  Hopefully we still have a few more warm days coming to us before the snow starts to fly.

It’s ten days into my commitment and experiment in getting outside every day.  There is still a long way to go but even in this short period of time, I feel as though I’m learning.  And, as I recently replied to one of the comments in my last post, each daily exploration has, so far, brought a gift of some kind for my spirit/soul.

In other news…

Cooking gives you the opportunity to meet the things you eat.  You can touch each carrot or olive and get to know its smell and texture.  You can feel its weight and notice its color and form.  If it is going to become part of you, it seems worthy, at least, of acknowledgment, respect, and than thanks.  ~ Gary Thorp

I decided today was the day.  The day to make Harvest Soup.  The weather is gray and chilly.  A perfect soup day.

I went up to Hilgert’s farm and loaded up on vegetables.  Whatever appealed to me.  I came home with a half peck of tomatoes, a big bulb of garlic, red onions, white onions, red potatoes, white potatoes, yams, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers, green peppers, yellow Hungarian peppers, Italian green beans, yellow wax beans, corn, cabbage, and carrots.  I may be forgetting a few items.   I had two bags full of the most colorful produce I’ve ever seen.

I’ve spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the kitchen chopping, dicing, cubing, peeling, and putting together a big pot of soup using the vegetables I brought home from Hilgert’s.  I used a homemade vegetable stock although it didn’t need much in the way of liquid as I used most of the half peck of fresh tomatoes and they are nice and juicy.  The big decision I had to make at the point I added the stock was how to spice the soup.  Spicy curry flavors?  Or a spicy Cajun soup?  How about a minestrone?

Minestrone it is!  The Italian peppers and green beans leaned me in that direction.  I also considered the fact that I’ve been preparing a lot of spicy foods lately.  It was time for something a little calmer.

I added kidney beans and garbanzo beans to the soup to give us some protein.  I’ll put in barley and pasta for the grains when the vegetables are almost finished cooking.  At the very end I’ll add a few spoonfuls of homemade pesto just for fun and flavor.

In addition to the vegetables, beans, and grains, I infused the soup with my love and gratitude.  I am thankful to the earth for providing, to all the workers at the farm who labored hard to bring us these lovely vegetables, and to the folks who work in the farm market for their work (and friendliness) in making sure we get the freshest vegetables and fruits.

I am really looking forward to dinner tonight.  It is going to be delicious, nutritious, and nourishing.

When you prepare a bowl of vegetable soup, you are preparing the soup ‘of a thousand households.’  You are united with the farmers who grew the vegetables and the workers who built the roads to deliver them.  You are assisted by those manufactured the utensils and those who constructed the stove.  The list is endless.  And the soup, itself, will nourish not only you and your friends but all those you are yet to meet.  ~ Gary Thorp


15 Comments on “Back to the woods (10)”

  1. chris says:

    so, are the froggie toads related to M? You guys are really enjoying Akron Zips – are you up for women’s volleyball? maybe we can plan a night.

    CB and JS

  2. What an amazing place to spend some time! These are beautiful shots! I love the maple leaves when they turn! These all make me a little homesick for the midwest. Great job!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, PF4A. 🙂

      The obvious change of seasons is one of the things I like most about this area. But So. Cal. has its beauties, too.

  3. Anna Surface says:

    Beautiful photos and I really like the contrasts with photos from the past. What a beautiful little creek. I just love the frog. That big pot of soup sure sounds good! I really like the quote by Gary Thorp. Wonderful post, I enjoyed it!

  4. Marcie says:

    Gorgeous images. I have to say – for a moment – I thought winter had descended upon you early. Nice to see the contrast of the seasons.

  5. Brian says:

    I’ve been enjoying all your posts Robin. I really can sense the area you call home.

  6. Kathy says:

    It’s good to get back in the woods, isn’t it? I am still very excited about your blog and your commitment. Your Harvest Soup sounds delicious, too. Enjoy your day outside, Robin.

    • Robin says:

      Kathy: Very good. 🙂

      When we first moved here I thought I’d be spending a lot of time in the woods. Most of the area is thick with trees but there is a small clearing with an apple tree at the back of it. It seemed like a great place to escape from the sun during the summer months. I discovered that wasn’t the case once it warmed up and the insects came out. I think the let-down between the desire to hide in the woods and the reality of the mosquitoes caused me to spend less time in the woods over the past few years. It will be nice to get to know them again.

      • Kathy says:

        No I know you really know the woods. There is always a problem in the woods. Either it’s mosquitoes or black flies or hunting season or too much snow or too hot or…I like when it’s possible to overcome the mind’s resistance and get out there anyway. I think my latest resistance has to do with too many areas that have been logged, sigh.

  7. Kala says:

    Wonderful composition, light, color and DoF in that first image of the leaves.


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