Wednesday, February 16, 2022


We enjoy walking. In our last home, it was a nice solid three-mile round trip walk to the mailboxes, and I miss that. Here in our new place, even though we're farther out, there are fewer places to walk. Go figure.

The problem is exacerbated by dogs. We're kinda hemmed in by some scattered neighbors whose dogs are not yarded (if you know what I mean), and it makes for some exciting encounters on the road whenever we have Mr. Darcy with us.

So Don and I got on Google Earth and started tracing road paths from dog to dog ('scuse me, from boundary to boundary) measured from our house, to figure out how many times we'd have to cover the same ground to achieve a nice solid three mile walk.

Once that was determined, we began incorporating afternoon walks into our daily repertoire, especially now that the snow is releasing and walking no longer requires cleats on our boots. (Walking three miles in cleats would be exhausting.)

Walking allows us to observe our environment far more acutely, both the large and the small components. Here's some of the things we've seen.

Deer tracks across a north-facing slope.

A solitary deer in a field.

Further away, three others watched.

The doe moved to join her companions...

...then the whole group moved to a safer distance.

The snow is retreating from this outcrop of rocks.

A freshly dozed section of road from an industrious neighbor working to fix potholes.

A dead grass head from last summer. Soon enough we'll have multitudes of fresh green grass.

A large tuft of soft underfeathers caught on some barbed wire. There were also feathers on the ground beneath. Trying to interpret what happened, it almost seems like an owl caught some feathers on the fencing while dive-bombing a rodent. Hard to say, but these feathers have the look of an owl's downy feathers adapted for silent flight. Just a guess.

Elk hoof print.

A cheeky magpie.

Late afternoon sun through some ridgeline trees.

Sun on a mossy embankment.

The moss's new growth glistened so brightly, it was almost fluorescent.

Turkeys. Heavens, we've been seeing turkeys. Enormous flocks of them.

My scarf, which I snagged on a convenient branch when I got too warm. I'm famous for shedding clothing as I walk. Our old neighbors used to be able to monitor my progress by keeping track of what outer clothing I'd shucked off and hung on fence posts and bushes.

A neighbor's small stock pond, still frozen because it's tucked in a shadowy north-facing draw.

Pheasants. We're starting to see more of them.They're skittish birds and hard to photograph (especially while walking an upland bird dog on a leash.)

An old wasp nest on a neighbor's mailbox. Must have been exciting when it was active.

A mere fraction of a neighbor's chicken population, which she describes as "too many."

And one escapee.

Some fog wisping through the hills after a slushy day.

Yes, walking is the best possible way to observe the world around us, in my opinion.


  1. I love walking with my two pups too. Lately, we've seen lots of deer, and some wild turkeys. I smiled when reading about taking off layers as you go, because I do the same.

  2. I enjoy your posts like these. 💗

    I have a question for you, if you don't mind. How does one get to know neighbors when you're so far apart?

    We are in a "neighborhood" of houses on land. We have 15 acres, for example. So many of our neighbors have gates across their driveways/property preventing us from knocking on doors to bring Christmas cookies or similar neighborly things. When new neighbors moved in next door, we were able to bring muffins along with a welcome note and our cell numbers in case of an emergency, but we've never heard from them again, not even a "thank you" text. I know some folks are just private people, us too. We're not looking for best friends but it would be nice to be on friendly terms...

    1. Often people like your neighbors have kin around or people they've known all their lives. That's their community. They may assume you have your own people near enough to have your own community. Kinship goes back generations and are interwoven throughout those generations with marriages and deaths and births.
      If you have children in school with school activities, it will help open doors. And church can as well. I wish you luck. So many people are moving to the country and bridging the old and the new is not easy for anyone.

    2. Thank you, I believe you must be right. It does seem like a lot of folks that are moving here are ones who grew up here, moved away, and are now returning.

  3. You guys carry an equalizer when you walk?

    I'd love to live out there where I pretty much wouldn't have to worry about having meat on the table.

  4. Walking is great exercise, one I have come to prefer above all others. Thank you for the wonderful pictures!

  5. Your pictures are always such a blessing and so thoughtfully shared.
    I understand about the dogs. It's a catch 22. I only have one now. He was left behind by a renter down the road a few years ago. Most of the time I can't catch him, but he will come in for food at night or if the weather's bad. He's mostly a varmint dog, especially hates snakes. I've grown to love this small mutt from the excellent job he does keeping critters out of the yard and away from the house, especially the many Rattlers and copperheads around. A couple times he has literally kept me from getting bit once at the garbage bin at the road and once when I went to get something out of a vehicle. He follows me close enough but not close enough to get leashed.

    Out here, nobody has fencing for dogs. Generally the dogs stay on the right property unless new animals come around. Strays get shot. It may sound cruel, but too often town people just dump off animals in the country to fend for themselves. Then they breed and there are wild dogs.

    I used to walk a lot and this dog follows. Then there came a new neighbor who suggested I follow his example and showed me his poor dog on a heavy chain and a barrel to sleep in for all kinds of weather. Looked like one of those commercials for abused animals.
    Now, if I walk at all it's in the other direction. Same with driving. My place isn't small at all and I seriously doubt the dog goes there any more. Plus, that neighbor accesses his land with a tractor at will through mine and has never asked.

    If I thought this dog could be reasonably confined with a fence I would consider it for his own safety. But he digs. And he's doing a great job as things are. He's fixed, has a collar and shots and tends to stay in the yard guarding his place.

    My old lab had to live indoors and stay on a leash because she was going to hunt if off. She couldn't be trusted to stay nearby. Plus she would dig out, climb over, or bust out of anything and I gave up and kept her in except for walks.
    I think you have to play things by ear.

  6. My walk gives me a few options. I live in farm country. I live between 2 farms that are bordered by woods. If I walk along the road to the left,on my way to the woods, I'm walking between 2 fields, seasonally presenting cotton, peanuts, cattle. Then I'm in the woods. Whitetail dear, funny tortises, birds, wild flowers, TALL pines etc. If I walk the farm road to my right, I'm treated to my farmer friends addiction to animals: A huge "pet" bull with an over 6 ft span of horn, tiny horses and donkeys, beautiful full size riding horses of many colors, goats and their babies, cats and more cats, white cattle, and my walk has a canopy of pecan trees, harvest free for the taking.