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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Spruce Woods Wildlife Refuge

Spruce woods wildlife refuge sign

  Our daughter had gone to 4H, and we had about an hour before we had to pick her up. It was a beautiful September evening, so we decided to take a short walk through the forest across the road from our home. Walking through this forest reminds me of my childhood. My dad worked for the forestry, and he used to take us hunting for pine cones...yup, pine cones! 

  Mom and Dad always found ways to earn a little extra money, and collecting pine cones was just one of them. We would drive to a plantation like the Spruce Woods Wildlife Refuge, and fill burlap sacks with the pine cones we found. Dad would sell these pine cones for the seeds to be used in planting more trees. (If you've never heard of such a thing, here's an article about it from Mother Earth's News.)
 It could take a long time to fill a sack with pine cones...unless you knew where to look....and Dad taught us exactly what to look for. It was like finding buried treasure, when we came across a place where the squirrels had stashed their winter supply! I always felt a little sorry for those poor little squirrels....all that work, and we came along and stole their treasure! 

 Anyway, now that I've taken a walk down memory lane, let's get on with our hike through the forest! Although it's a wildlife refuge, it's also a popular place for people who ride ATVs and snow mobiles. This trail runs along the edge of the forest. It's behind the homes that are across the road from us. You can see the trails are well travelled by ATV enthusiasts. 

sandy trails for ATVs
ATV trails

sandy ATV trails

sandy path through trees
It had recently rained, and even though the ground is very sandy,
some trails still had puddles.

deer in bush
This deer was actually on our road, outside the wildlife preserve...
A common sight here!
pine forest
We headed down the main trail.
All along the edge, there's new growth in front of the older trees.
Beautiful little pine trees!
evergreen trees

sandy road through forest
This trail winds it's way through the forest.

evergreen forest
It's clear this isn't a natural forest...
Many years ago, the seedlings were planted in rows...

probably from pine cones stolen from a poor unsuspecting squirrel!

forest
It's getting close to sunset...
 the sun is streaming through the trees.

prairie grass on hills by forest
We took a short cut through the trees to a smaller trail
 that leads into a clearing.
The changing colors of fall are more evident out here.
Horse back riders on hills, in front of evergreen trees
Surprise! We met up with our neighbour, out for a ride.
The horses aren't used to seeing people walking out here,
 so we surprised them too!
prairie grass by forest
Time to head up the hill that leads back home.
A beautiful pine tree silhouette against the setting sun.

 Well, look who's keeping an eye on things!

I'm sure that squirrel was happy that all Jeremy took was a picture!



* NOTE: A reader tells me that the place a squirrel stores their cones is a midden. Here's a link to read about it.
http://www.naturetidbits.com/squirrel-midden.html

AND....in case you're wondering why we're walking among pine trees in a place called Spruce Woods....I've wondered the same thing! The pine are all along the front, where we took pictures, but there are spruce trees further in.


This post is included in the Maple Hill 101 blog hop.



5 comments:

Michelle said...

Nice little trail through the forest you have there. Looks like it's enjoyed by a lot of people! That's interesting about finding squirrels' stashes of pinecones. I didn't know they'd keep the whole thing, or that you could make money selling them. Interesting!

Deborah said...

Hi Michelle, I'm glad you enjoyed our little tour. there are miles of trails, but we didn't have time to go far. Yes, the trails are enjoyed by many! I'll have to do some research about squirrels and pinecones...it's been a long time!

daisy gurl said...

Sounds like a blissful childhood. What a wonderful place to ramble and roam, complete with wildlife.

Thank you for sharing your fabulous outdoor post on The Maple Hill Hop this week!

Deborah said...

daisy- thanks for stopping by. My boys spend hours in this forest...I'll have to post pictures of the teepee one of them built!

Robin @ A Life In The Wild said...

Thanks for stopping in! It's nice to meet you through the blog hop.

The place a squirrel stores cones is called a midden.

You have a beautiful place to enjoy in the refuge! Living in or spending time in the woods is good for the heart and soul.