Today we finally made it South to our land! It was such a lovely, relaxing experience! We have been meaning to for a couple of months, but once work started up we were adjusting to having only one day off a week together and then the early snow storm messed up about a week or so. But this week we finally had some extra time off because the Vario-Vac packaging machine at the plant is broken (and no work for Chris until it is fixed). The Sturgeon River is about 15 minutes south of Montague which is where we have managed to shop for groceries a couple of times when we cannot make it to Ch’town. However, even Montague is 35 minutes south of our home so it is a bit of trip. It wasn’t too snowy and mostly a nice day hovering around zero.
As with every wander around our land, the first thing we bump into is wildlife!
Today it was a large flock of Canada geese enjoying the left over soy plants our farmer’s combine missed when he cleared his crop out! Chris decided to head over and say hi to the birds!
Apparently this is how you say, “Hi” in bird speak!
Our 20 acre field is vast as always!
We hiked across to the far trees (distant ones in the above picture)…
and decided to explore the region between this end of the field and the river. Chris knew from satellite photos that somewhere in this tangle of trees before the river proper was a pond of some description. In fact, our very first adventure on the land when we traveled out last year to inspect it, we could hear frogs singing from this area!
So we scrambled down the edge of our field into the lower parts of the forest.
And found lots of baby spruce trees…
and a really cool birch clinging to the top of a small mound of earth!
Even though it has snowed a few times, there is still green in the woods! Mosses on trees,
and ferns still cling onto their color.
After a short walk through the trees, which without a trail would be impassible vegetation during the summer, we came across the pond and wondered what sort of amazing (and mosquitoey) place it would be in spring!
It was pretty soggy still around the pond and the ice was more of a skim than anything we could approach. So we have no idea how far it goes or how deep. It will have to remain a bit of a mystery until we cut a proper trail into it (perhaps in Spring).
We returned up to the field and decided to take our favorite trail (well more like a wildlife trail) to the river. It actually skirts around the pond, now that we can see through the trees, but is higher up and drier. Along the way we found a bird nest in a bush,
massively tall flower stalks (these flowers were over 5 feet off the ground – they obviously picked a bad spot to grow and were desperately looking for light),
and our field of cherry trees (unfortunately infected with black rot – but their bark is still lovely).
In a little “bay” along the river bank, there is an old spruce tree with huge roots that stick out over the river. It makes for a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the water, or in today’s case, the ice flows.
There were a couple of ducks on the river, but mostly it was just the creaking and groaning of sagging ice (likely due to the tide being low and therefore the river being shallower).
In our “bay”, there is also another old spruce tree which has fallen into the river. You could see the ice line when the tide is high, and now that the air was warming up, pieces were starting to drop off the branches and onto the lower ice.
Chantal is sure that an ice troll lives within the roots of this fallen tree.
And yes, that is sea weed on the branches of that tree!
Chantal also enjoyed the wonderful ice patterns along the bank.
After an hour or so enjoying the calm, slow pace of nature in winter, we walked along the river bank for a bit to see what we could see. There were squirrel tracks,
a huge fallen tree that was propped up by two other trees,
a bird feather caught on a branch,
an old rotted-out tree, carved skillfully by woodpeckers, and now looks like a good nesting location,
and something you just don’t see very often…
a clam shell in the forest with a spruce cone. No wonder the animal died! I don’t think spruce cones are their natural food. Perhaps this guy was trying to evolve to be more land bound!
Before hiking back to the field, we took one last look down our river toward the ocean.
After a bit, we got to our “road” which is mostly a small pond (clearly broken through by Chris’ soaking wet feet) which was filled with tadpoles this summer!
Chantal wanted to take a few more pictures of Sturgeon Bay, St. Mary’s Bay (the larger body of water our bay is part of) and the little harbor for lobster and fishing boats.
As well as one last shot up the river toward our land.
Chris also prepared a little map of the area for reference to give a better sense of space. There is so much more to explore of course as really the front half is only 35 acres of the total 84 and the rest is all forest! Hopefully, we will get another bit of time off and get out again (especially now that there are no bugs about!).
A: where the car is parked and where the harbor, bay and bridge are located
B: where the geese were
C: where we hiked down the hill to the pond
D: where the pond is
E: where the trail is
F: where the tree on the “bay” is