I spent a little time, yesterday afternoon, exploring some of the wilder parts of the farm. It's one of my favorite things to do at this time of year and goes hand in hand with foraging.
Early May is the perfect time to explore the woods between Maven Haven and the pond. It is here, at this point in spring, that I usually find morel mushrooms.
With farm chores and household chores finished for the afternoon, I put on my tall boots and headed out into the woods.
The pigs were in the front pasture,
contentedly grazing. Most of the other animals were napping.
As I approached the woods, a squirrel chitter-chatted from a nearby tree.
Bees were busily buzzing from blossom to blossom on the wild honeysuckle.
I set my sights on the forest floor, looking for just the right shade of brown. A-hah!... there it was... exactly what I had hoped to see... a beautiful, delicious morel mushroom.
To give you an idea of their size, here is my basket next to brown Sammie.
They will be perfect in a spring omelet made with Havarti cheese, asparagus, spring onions, and these deliciously earthy fungi. The rest will be dried for future use.
I extended my search to the woods near the stream.
In addition to looking for more morel mushrooms, I was also hoping to find some elusive Jack-in-the-Pulpit flowers. I found neither.
But, keeping one's nose pointed towards the ground opens up a whole world of plant-life. There were tiny Spring Beauty flowers...
a yellow flower that I cannot name (help me out if you know what this is) (Addendum: mystery solved by Stephanie on FB.... this is greater Celandine)
and another tiny flower that I had never seen before.... dwarf ginseng (a medicinal plant of the Native American people)
On my way back to the house, I couldn't help but notice how much the area around the old log cabin had changed in recent days. All of the beautiful yellow from the forsythia is gone, as are most of the flowering quince blossoms.
What I did notice, however, was the sound of tiny drones flying past my head in and out of the quince.
Besides enjoying the last of the nectar, I imagine that the dense brush might serve as a secure location for these tiniest of birds' camouflaged nests.
Just as they have for the past several years, the hummingbirds returned to the farm on May 1st, after their arduous flight from the south. They will spend the summer here, raising their brood, before heading back to the Caribbean for the winter.
Did you know?......
Hummingbirds are the fastest vertebrates in speed related to body length. They can fly at a speed of 358 body lengths per second!
They have the fewest feathers of any birds... just 940 of them.
During flight, their heart rate can reach rates of up to 1200 beats per minute, and their respirations can reach 250 breaths per minute.
Isn't nature amazing!
I feel so very lucky to live so close to nature. I am astounded by it each and every day.
PS: we had another "pasty butt" intervention again yesterday. These little chicks are certainly keeping me on my toes. Luckily we keep a blow dryer in the barn so that I can dry their little fluffy butts before returning them to their flock.