Where did you get your love of the woods?

catherinet(5 IN)June 7, 2006

Hi all,

After seeing some of the replies I got for the "4-wheeler" post, I started to wonder...... How do some of us end up loving the woodlands and being good stewards, and others don't even think about them, or even destroy them. I lived at the end of a dead-end street growing up. Our back property butted up against my grandfather's, who lived on another road. So maybe I just grew up loving the woods and creek around me. Is that what helped you to love it? ........that you grew up with it?

Or was it the respect your parents or grandparents showed for the woods? Do you think it's all a matter of what we are taught? Just curious....

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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good question and good food for thought, Catherine!

I grew up in the city of Chicago, where we called vacant lots filled with ragweed "prairies". While I loved being outside and enjoyed gardening and plants as a child, I can't recall any particular love of nature that was instilled in me by my parents or anyone else. In fact, I use to have a Golden Guide to Wildflowers that I would look through at times and wonder if I would ever be so lucky to see any of those flowers in my life.

Then when I was a senior in high school, our class went on a retreat to a center that bordered a forest preserve area. We had some free time to wander on our own, and I stumbled upon a small area of breathtaking beauty in the woods. I don't have the skills to paint an adequate word picture, but a combination of the natural lay of the land, the autumn colors and the afternoon sunlight came together to create a stunning scene that I still can picture in my mind's eye 34 years later.

I think that was when I realized that nature's beauty could be found right here, not in some vague "out there" miles and miles away. After that, I became quite interested in learning about the natural history of my area, learning to id native plants and learning how to restore native areas.

I think it has to do with being able to see the beauty in what's before you. I try to share the beauty of our woods with anyone who is willing, and I try to open their eyes to what they are seeing.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 4:44PM
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bhrost(zone 5 NY)

I think a lot of us see forests as a sort of escape or sanctuary where we can at least temporarily forget other problems. In the climate where I live, after a long hard winter it would take a really unfeeling individual not to be inspired by the forest coming back to life. As for myself, being a cross country skier I like it in the wintertime as well. I think that as a young person fascination or novelty predominates, and only in later years does one start to think more about conservation issues.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 7:04PM
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The Girl Scouts. I was a Brownie all the way through until I 'graduated' as a Senior, and we used to camp out alot. Like weronicastrum, I vividly remember a moment when I hiked into the woods away from the others and came upon an isolated clearing, with a mossy stream, abundant ferns, and trees arching overhead like a cathedral ceiling. It was a remarkable moment of clarity, beauty, and peace.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 8:12AM
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radagast(US east coast)

I grew up in suburbia, but we had a most 1/4 acre lot with some trees, so that was a start. But several things really developed my interest over the years:

- Summer trips "down the shore" (New Jersey slang). While the shore is not a forest, the trips down there (when we didn't take the interstates) were peaceful ones that went by old trees and woods. More importantly, the beach itself was eye-opening in that it was something completely different from the dull suburban lots of the local neighborhood. I also rapidly learned that while the beach was often crowded, it was a wonderful place to be when people were not there (days after storms, weekdays when only kids who were off from school and people on vacation would be there, etc.). Those days helped instill a love of nature in me since they were so peaceful... just the waves lapping on the sand and crashing against the rocks... clouds rolling through the sky... and no people crowding around.

- In third grade, my teacher gave out research assignments to students - each of us was to write a report on a type of tree. Mine was that of "birch" trees, which I had no clue even existed until this time. So, I got a book out of the school library and started my research, and soon learned just how many different types of trees exist. This was a surprise to me, and it soon became a fun challenge to try to ID trees that I find, a game of sorts that continues even today.

- Another place we went to during my summer vacations as a kid was a small state park down near the southern end of New Jersey along the Deleware River. It was created around a Revolutionary War battlefield, but what really caught my eye were the HUGE, old trees of various species that lived there. In particular, there was a trio of monstrous sycamores that lived in the parking lot (more precisely, the parking lot was built around them, with very large areas left for the trees. They were massive, old things, and oddly all were multi-trunked, which leaves me wondering if they were perhaps pollars or something years ago. One had two trunks, the next had four, and the final had three. Each of them towered into the sky to an great height, and their bases were gigantic, especially to a child who was used to the modest trees of suburbia. These huge, old trees that grew wild in this park opened my eyes to the woods and how trees would grow if (generally) left alone by man.

That park was a very peaceful place - since we went there during the week, there were few other people there (some people on vacation, some retired folks, and some stay-at-home parents, and that's about it). The park was thus quiet and tranquil. Breezes would blow in off the Delaware River, and waves would ripple across the tiny sand beach and along the rocks, and then whistle through the towering trees.

I don't know if those sycamores are still there - I hope they are - but they certainly inspired me.

So, that's what gave me my love of nature, and the woods in particular. I also thank my mom and grandfather, who are both gardners, for their part in this.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 8:45AM
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robbiezone5(z5 HudsonValley)

i don't, as yet, have my dream woodland garden... we do have several plants, which i've recently discovered are considered to be "woodland", planted in the front of our house --- which is full shade.

but my interest in creating a woodland garden stems from (no pun intended) my childhood. we had land in the adirondacks, and i can remember the feeling of being in the forest. and it is these feelings that i want to recreate in the woodland garden that currently exists only in my dreams. ideally, it will be more about an inner psychic experience (i don't mean paranormal ghosts and mediums), created by the space. i'm not quite sure of how to explain this. i want my woodland garden to be about recreating feelings of introspection and serenity that one feels when immersed within a woodland/forest space. which, i think, is different than the type of feelings/thoughts that one typically experiences in an open garden. i think these feelings are related to being enclosed --- not claustrophobic --- within nature.

i'm finding it very difficult to put the feelings into words. if i remember back to my youth, and moving through the forest spaces of the adirondacks --- i can recall feelings of awe, of mystery, a sort of humility towards the surrounding/towering nature... but that's what i want --- a sort of sanctuary.

this doesn't yet exist on our property --- but i have my eye on a location which i might be able to shape (on a minor scale) into such a garden.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 12:10PM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

I didn't "fit in" as a kid. I had lots of friends and was probably just like any other kid but I didn't feel "connected" until I started to look at things very, very, closely and notice all the details. I prefered my own company and would explore tidal pools at the beach alone for hours on end. Carefully turn over rocks and explore the world beneath them. On a walk through the woods I couldn't get past the first ten feet for all the different details I would become fascinated with. A hike alone through the woods still makes me feel euphoric, beatific and humble all at the same instant. A hike with my kids makes me feel like I'm passing something holy and precious to them. Names and classifications of plants and animals, interrelationships of organisms, plants, geology, climate... whole systems and how they change and relate to one another. Those same childhood feelings persist but have become refined, directed and more intense, a connectedness with the natural world makes me feel like I know where I belong in it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 12:19PM
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When I was 3 my parents moved to a house in our small town that was on about 5-6 acres, almost all of which was wooded. My friends & I played in the woods in the winter (Mom wouldn't let us go in summer - snakes). We'd drag our dolls & whatever else we could carry and make 'houses' using pine needles piled up for 'walls'. Later, in my teen years, I explored the woods even more and would usually end up sitting on some rocks in one particular area. It was 'my spot'. I still love rocks, the smell of pine, and the feeling of being the only one in the woods when hiking (now with my DH of course). I wasn't a loner in school, but I sure felt like I was the only one around who cared about nature, bugs, snakes, spiders or anything else. I also am the only kid in our high school graduating class who went into engineering. Go figure!

Brownies and Girl Scouts and day or overnight camping at our local scout camp every summer only added to my love of the woods. It's funny that radagast mentions a school report on trees. I remember a science class (don't remember which grade) where we had to collect leaf samples with ID and research the genus, family, phylum, etc. I was so proud of that project.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 3:40PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Reading all your stories is very interesting!
I, too, can remember at girl scout camp, we were going on a hike, and we came upon this area that was trees, moss, ferns. It seemed like the most beautiful hidden place on earth. I remember associating one of our girl scout songs with that place "White coral bells upon a slender stalk,
Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk.
Oh how I wish, that I might hear them ring.
That will happen only when the faeries sing".

We also had a "church camp" that the families in our church were allowed to share for like a week at a time. It was like a primitive forest, with a river, springs, thick forest. Those places just always feel like home to me.
I'm just so afraid of losing them all in the near future. It scares me.
I was a loner too, and found myself wondering off from the other kids, to be with the trees.
Thanks for sharing all your personal experiences. They are really neat to read about!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 8:37AM
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bhrost(zone 5 NY)

You guys make me wish I had been a boy scout. Thinking about childhood brought back one happy memory with a forest association. Before he hurt his back my dad used to carry me on his shoulders when we went for walks in the woods. We would go in the evening, and by the time we were going back it would be starting to get dark. That is when he would hoist me up. I could grab onto the branches as we passed under. I remember glancing at the now darkened woods wondering what might be in the shadows. It was mysterious and exciting. No one in my family knew anything about trees though, I just liked the forest as an entity and trees perhaps all the more mysterious because they were nameless.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 6:21PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Yes bhrost......mysterious to me too, and very inviting.
Being the hermit that I am, I love feeling like the woods behind me goes on forever and ever.
I love the poem by Robert Frost "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". ....."the woods are lovely, dark and deep". I feel so good thinking about that poem.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 6:42PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

We lived in the city, but only a few blocks from the susquehannah. There was a hill three blocks long behind our house. I was a scout and one winter the juncos and then the yellow-bellied sapsuckercame through. That got me interested in birds and then flowers, shrubs and trees. I was nature counselor at the local scout camp two summers while in high school. during college summers I was a trail guide at Philmont in New Mexico. Forty some years ago, a development opened up that was heavily wooded. We bought one of the lots with 100 year old pines and oaks. The rest is history.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 9:22PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I have never visited this site but am working on a woodland garden. As a tot we lived in Erie PA.My Bobba(Russian Gramma) would show me every plant and tree each time I visited. I loved trees.How fortunate we were to later move to the boonies where I helped my father plant every inch of our yard in trees. I never feared heading into the woods alone and would often stop at the creek to catch salamanders. I also caught toads and snakes, even though I was a girl. A corner of the playground at school was wooded and that was where I could be found each recess. My friend had a dairy farm and we often walked in her woods also. We found a pond and an Island and putting our two names together,named it after us. We scratched that name in stone. I bought a horse and that gave met the most glorious freedom . Often as I heard a family fight brewing I mounted my horse and disappeared into the woods.
I picked may apples and collected galls and got more then my fair share of poison ivy.
After 30 years of marriage my husband and I bought a home on 2 and a half acres and have added 2 ponds and a creek(no island).We have an area we call our habitat and recently became certified by the National Wildlife Federation.It is pardise well, barring any more hurricanes!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 10:24PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks everyone,
Waplummer.......it sounds like you had a really interesting past in nature! Living near a river always seems to bring more wildlife to the area.
I think those of us who could play in the woods, creek, fields when we were young probably all have wonderful memories. It sure beats sitting in front of the TV or a computer all day long. I have concerns that many kids today have never even been in a woods.
Goldenpond, I think it's neat that your Bobba did that for you. We always would take walks around my MILs yard every time we visited her. It was just always part of the visit. Kids don't always gravitate to these kinds of things, but if we make it a regular part of their lives when they are young, they develop an interest in it.
Your property sounds great. I have a couple tiny ponds, but they still bring a lot of frogs and toads to my backyard. Have fun!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 11:14AM
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When I was a kid I discovered the wild areas were places to explore and visit and find animals and see things that were new to me. Much nicer than the hounding at the local school or the play/fighting with neighbor kids. So I was off to myself most of the time I had a chance so I could walk/bike further and further out into the natural world. It was cool. A nearby reservoir provided a great place to interact and us kids collected boards and nailed together a couple of rafts and would raft in this 200 by 200 square reservoir. But I think it was just being able to get out among the willow forests that lined the local riverbed which was mostly dry except for a very small crick of water that was agricultural overflow ???? that really gave me a chance to get lost and to feel totally detached from the world of men.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 2:53PM
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Gee, I've had the nicest time this morning reading all the individual stories. Mine seem to fall right into line with so many of your's.

I grew up about 25 miles west of Boston in a community that experienced the first wave of development in the mid-50s. My parents bought their first home in 1956, it was a corner lot (1/2-3/4 acre) but no one wanted it because it sloped steeply away from the road, backed up to a brook, and parents were frightened of the possibility of kids drowning in the brook (no kidding!). Mum and Dad were delighted with the trees and brook behind their new home.

They hired a Dutch mason to level the front yard with a dry stacked stone wall, leaving the back yard to gently slope to the edge of the brook. They left the white pines, the Princess pine groundcover, the wild LOV, the Jack in Pulpits, the Lady Slippers, the ferns, the red mapes, the skunk cabbages... . It was a magical cool retreat when it was hot in the summer. It was equally rewarding to see the snapping turtles emerge about this time of year and make their way into our yard to lay their eggs. The perennial bed at the base of the wall was always dug up, but it didn't matter. "They were here first, dear, and they need a place to lay eggs. Don't bother them, please." Neither my brother nor I ever did and we quickly learned to keep our mouths shut so the other neighborhood kids never knew about them. Salamanders, spring peepers, frogs, birds, raccoons, skunks; it was a treat.

We moved when I was 14, to northern NH. A "flatlander" in a very small village I was "odd man out" and learned how to deal with needless lonliness by exploring the woods. Usually on horseback. There were miles of logging roads, nearly abandonned roads and I knew most of them very well. I saw deer, moose, bear, and the smell of pine trees, decay, and the spicey smell of fall is nearly palpable for me. Sun glittering through a canopy leaves, dancing on brook water, the buzz of deer flies as they escorted my mount and I through the woods. It may have been a sad 4 years for me, but I was fortunate to see things that many other lonely teens never experience. And I learned to be comfortable in my own skin and be my own person. To this day, nothing wild in the woods frightens me... it's people that can really freak me out, lol.

My heart though, is more in the gentle, rolling countryside of my early youth than in the northern areas of NH. I live on nearly 3 acres here... very much like the home I knew in Ma.. I love it here. And we have worked hard to maintain the feeling of woodlands as a protective, welcoming buffer around the perimeter of our lot.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 8:12AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Great stories, terrestrial man and chelone,

We also had a reservoir somewhat close to our house.........although we never sailed on it! What an adventure! (I'm sure your parents didn't know about it!)

Chelone.......your first house/property that you grew up in sounded wonderful. How cool that your parents were okay with the "live and let live" approach to the nature around you! I, too, was a lonely child who didn't seem to fit in, and I turned to nature for comfort. I say now (laughingly....but true), that I was raised by a grove of trees. I just always got incredible comfort from nature.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 11:26AM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

When I was 6 or 7, My Dad gave me a bird activity book. I loved it and still have it. The activities in that book started me noticing the different kinds of birds and helped me identify many of the common ones seen around homes and gardens. When I was 10, my maternal grandpa loaned me his German-made binoculars. Can you believe that!? From then on I spent every free moment watching and studying birds. I/We lived with my Dad's parents for most of my life, on 80 plus acres with a rushing mountain creek--a typical Appalachian Cove Forest community. My parents still live there and we live only 5 miles away with our own creek and woods.

But my love of woodland plants undoubtedly came from my paternal grandma who roamed the woods, collecting wildflowers for her woodland garden. She carried a little pistol and wasn't afraid of anything except being flogged by nesting birds:-) I still miss her.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 7:26PM
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catherinet, thank you for the words to the old Girl Scout song. We sang that one too, but I had forgotten all but the first couple of lines and can't really recall the tune exactly, but close. Didn't that one get sung as a 'round'? What cool memories come floating in now! I've enjoyed all the stories, and especially the similarities.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 3:32PM
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well_drained(z6a MA)

Wonderful story-filled thread. My theory of the origin of my love for the woods has much in common with other posters. We had two trees (sycamore and pin oak) in the backyard - both climbable - I loved everything about them (except raking the leaves). One of my earliest memories of "the woods" is climbing around the wooded parts of Central Park in New York City as part of a trip when I was five or six years old, the highlight of which was the dinosaur room of the American Museum of Natural History. Many of the dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in the books I was reading were depicted in forest habitats. The dinosaurs might be gone (or turned to birds), but in the woods, you could imagine one still hiding somewhere...

For me, there was always a sense of adventure about the woods - maybe because you didn't have to go very far in to lose sight of buildings. When I got old enough to go off by myself I loved exploring, crossing streams on stones or logs, climbing trees, looking for salamanders and insects, finding old mines, stone walls and foundations. Two of my childhood heroes were Huck Finn and Robin Hood - both of them forest dwellers and adventurers. Like many of you, I loved to identify birds, flowers, rocks, etc. I spent hours fossil hunting in stream beds. With friends I made forts, rode bikes down forest paths and (not yet having developed a conservation ethic) caught various snakes and frogs and insects (the time the baby snapping turtle I was hiding escaped from my bedroom and my mother discovered it is a story for another thread) (another un-PC reminiscence: skunk cabbage as a weapon). But usually, these sojourns were solitary: alone in my fantasy world, losing track of time, trying to remember to make it home by supper.

Now I'm trying to recreate a tiny piece of the woodland habitat in another suburban yard, not much larger than the one I grew up with. After five years, I'm now at the point where we can go for a hike in southern New England woodlands and when my DS points to something, at least half the time I can say, "we have that growing in our yard."

- wd

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 4:03PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Yes, outsideplaying, it was sung as a round.

Everyone's stories are actually jostling my memory and I'm thinking of more things. We lived at the end of a dead-end street. We had chicken farms on each side back behind us, and woods to the side of us. We had a small creek running through one part of our property, at the bottom of a small hill. We used to sled ride down that hill, and try not to end up in the creek!
In the woods to one side of our house was a swamp. How cool it was. I wish I had that swamp now. Anyhow.....in winters, we would put on our ice skates and their protector things, and walk about 1/4 miles to this swamp, where we'd skate in the dark without any light!
In summers, we'd go on adventures through the woods. My favorite place was a small grove of old apples trees, and one had a big branch that had split, and made a bridge from the ground to the upper part of the tree. I would sit on that and feel the wonderful warm breeze. The sun shining through those leaves made it glow a warm green color in that "room". We called it the alligator tree because of that branch. We could hear roosters crowing from the nearby chicken farm. Life was good!
Hearing your stories about your childhoods makes me aware of how important it is to encourage children to explore and enjoy the woods.
Like Vegangirl......whose grandpa lent her some binoculars when she was 10, to look for birds. Sometimes just a little help is all children need to develop a life-long love of something wonderful.
I don't know what's going to happen to the U.S. It seems to be filling up every space there is with homes and businesses. I hope the next generation doesn't forget about how wonderful nature is, and the healing power it has for us. I would be totally lost without it.
Playingoutside........when my daughter was little, and I would rock her before bedtime, I would sing "white coral bells to her". I started to make up a story, based on that magical forest I had seen at girl scout camp. It was about how I was taking a walk, and heard these high-pitched voices behind some bushes, and I slowly walked up to the bushes and pulled them apart, and there were faeries, playing in a little pond. And then we would both gasp "Faeries!!" It was really special. I think she and I will remember that forever.
Thanks everyone, for sharing all your wonderful recollections!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 4:33PM
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zinniachick(southwest Ohio)

Catherinet, it's personal shared stories like these that will help us all stand up and protect our open spaces. Thanks for the thread.

There are conservation easements and land trusts available throughout the country for landowners to see that their land stays undeveloped after they're gone. Ask around and find yours if you'd like to know some local, like-minded folks.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:55AM
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There were many sources of my love of woods in childhood. We lived, initially, at the edge of the suburbs, with woods and farmland a few blocks from our house. That of course gradually disappeared. My grandparents worked a farm with woods on it. My family camped. The sympathy in my family for the environmentalism of the 60s and 70s. And then there were all those fairy tales (Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, etc.).

What made it all click was a two-week backpacking trip with my high school sophomore class in the Smoky Mountains. My road to Damascus, so to speak. I took another trip my senior year. Then when I moved back to the east coast in my twenties, I'd take another week to two-week backpacking trip with my wife every year. I take other trips and hikes as well, of course, but the Smokies are just that special, sacred place in my life.

My appreciation deepened as I read authors such as Thoreau, Hawthorne, Jonathan Edwards, Frederick Jackson Turner's "thesis," the English Romantics, Whitman, Rilke. Many of these authors are American, and the concept of "wilderness" has been an important influence in American culture. Wilderness represents many things: a threat, evil, anarchy, cruelty; solitude, religious transformation (Moses in the wilderness), an evocation of our own nature (which can be sweet. such as living together in harmony, or horrific, such as predation), a call to simply. I suppose what resonates in us determines our view. It is ironic that many who appreciate the woods also want their own private piece, myself included. The desire for 1, 2, 5, or 10-acre lots have destroyed many wilderness-woods. A "private wilderness" is an oxymoron. Just as is wanting a nice neighborhood and good privacy. Privacy and community are contradictory ends. Ah, well, as they say, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too." I guess if I can't preserve the wilderness, I can create my own little museum of it. But it is a selfish desire, to be balanced with other interests.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:40PM
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This story may seem contrived to some,but for me it's an accurate account of a distant memory.
My 'love' of the woods was born from an epiphany resulting from my first overnight campout with the boyscouts at the age of eight.After a day of hiking among the forested taghkanic highlands of the New york hudson valley,Our troop made camp at an appalachian trail leanto,where we bedded down for the night.Because of our numbers The leantos were filled so us first-timers were forced to spend the night on the ground outdoors among the forest litter with just our sleeping bags,low tech cotton pile handmedowns,sans tent.The next morning,awakening in the forest,I first experenced confusion and then a deep inate understanding"awoke"in me in response to my immediate surroundings.OF corse an eight year old really can't experience'understanding'of much of anything,and what happened to me in that moment took years of interpreting,But I remember the word that came to my child's mind that morning was "overallness".What ever that meant.
I do remember a shift of my perception of world around me though.Specifically the realisation ,when i got home, that the road I grew up on didnt really divide the world on either side of it but merely traversed thru it.Eureka! .The next weekend I acted upon my newfound awarness,by hiking into the unknown tracts of woods behind my house with my sister in search of adventure.Our exciting discovery of a swamp 1/4 mile behind our house was met with fury when my mother relised I wore my good sunday shoes for the treck.I think we brough back jackinthepulpet tubers.What a discovery!Despite my mother's reaction.
40 years later she still doesnt understand.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 8:47PM
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radagast(US east coast)

The irony of a "private woodlands" is a good point, though I look at it like this: if we don't buy the land and save it (turn it into a woodland or whatever is appropriate for the area), then we can be assured that somebody else will buy it and turn it into a parking lot, a mall, a collection of McMansion houses, etc. Truly, one cannot have a natural private woodland, but it is better than the alternative.

The other part of the problem is that while it would be nice if people could live together and thus leave more of the wilds undisturbed, I don't see that happening. This planet is already badly overpopulated, IMHO, and far too many people seem to exist solely to consume and inflict their will upon everything and everyone else around them. If they are not buying needless super-sized SUV's, playing loud music, fighting, or littering trash everywhere, they aren't happy. It's almost like an extreme version of animals marking their territory, except that humans do that with mountains of garbage.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 8:09AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I am a pretty unsociable person. I suppose it is arrogant of me to think I'm more deserving of this beautiful earth than the next person. I have pretty much come to the conclusion that humans aren't of this earth. Maybe they were dropped off by aliens, or whatever. I'm afraid I'm not into a religious interpretation of how it all started. But I'm trying to understand human behavior in natural terms. Do you think it's pretty normal for an "animal" to act this way? Are humans just acting like all other animals, in trying to be dominant? Is what humans are doing just very much like any other plant or animal, but we unfortunately had the brains to make alot of non-biodegradable stuff? I guess I'm just trying to make sense of where humans fit in here.....if at all.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 7:57PM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

Kudzu with thumbs...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 9:33AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

kwoods.....I live in central Indiana and just received my monthly copy of the DNR's "Indiana Outlook", and there's an article on Kudzu. I can't believe that almost half our state has a problem with it, and one county north of us. This is a bummer. Our 33 acres is covered with bush honeysuckle and DH has been singlehandedly trying to get rid of it. I think his heart would give out if I told him about the Kudzu waiting in the wings!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 12:57PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

My first appreciation of 'The Woods' came when I was hiking the Mt. Margaret high country just north of Mt. St. Helens in the late 60's. I was on a ridge above the timberline looking down at the sub-alpine landscape when I suddenly realized why plants and trees grow where they do. Trees were in the sheltered places and small plants grew on the exposed rock outcroppings. How this all blended together in a natural way was a revelation to me. It had a sense of scale. I just try to do this in my own garden now and I'm a long ways from attaining it. Awareness is the key, otherwise you are fighting yourself.

Then in May, 1980 that whole Mt. Margaret area got blown away when Mt. St. Helens exploded. It is, of course, recovering now. My memories of hiking there are as clear as a sunny day.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 1:37PM
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After 20 years in a private in-town lot with gardens we loved, we moved--to an acre and a half that is mostly woods and backs up to a wetlands that will never be developed. Our decision was somewhat impulsive--but we later realized the impetus -- we both grew up in suburban homes that backed up to large undeveloped areas of woods, bluffs and streams. I often explored the paths on my own, and had my own 'thinking rock' overlooking the valley. The sounds of wind through the trees, birds and insects; the colors of green and gray...it's calming, and 'feeds our soul.' As adults we were avid backpackers and now love the north woods of the boundary water wilderness area in upper Minnesota. Canoes and cross country skiing vs. speedboats and snow-mobiles. Our kids are continuing the legacy. As we have friends come visit our new home, we realize that not all have that in-your-bones connection with nature. Now we have to learn about being good stewards to the small bit of woods we care for!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 8:35PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Sounds like a really nice place pmta. I've always thought it would be soooooo wonderful to live next to a protected area, instead of always worrying about what's coming next.
We have a large woods behind us, but recently 3 houses have gone up behind it, and they love their 4 wheelers. It is so opposite of how we enjoy nature.
My husband and son go up to the boundary waters every summer, and love it.

Good luck with your little bit of heaven!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 11:37AM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Great thread...very personal so I feel privileged to read it.

Wow...where did it come from? For me personally NURTURE had a lot to do with it. I grew up in a city subburb but my father was an avid camper, caneoer, hunter, fisherman type guy. We spent almost all our free time camping and fishing. My dad was heavily involved in Ducks Unlimited and eventually took on the role of President of his chapter. We always had nature books, nature magazines and camp pamphlets around the house. My dad's mother loved to feed the birds right outside her kitchen window on a home-made platform feeder. She always kept an ancient Peterson's Field Guide on the kitchen table and we perused that thing past threadbare as kids. I can still remember always turning to the colour page on the "Scissortail Flycatcher" first thing when I picked up the book. She also had copies of a nature book that my dad used to read as a kid in the '40's and early '50's. They were yellow with age, tatty and smelled bad but we still read them every time we visited her. My other grandmother lived in a lot on the outskirts of the city and it wasn't until I was grown that the city had flourished to meet up with her property. She had mature trees and we often watched the squirrels and birds out her big picture window during luches at her house. My granddad had a huge library of National Geographics that we would read in the basement and when we weren't doing that, we were running around in the wooded areas of their property collecting pinecones, chasing squirrels and looking for little bunnies.

Not to make my childhood sound like something out of a fairytale because it certainly wasn't. My dad was a terribly abusive alcoholic, my mother and extended family were the stereotypical "enablers" and myself, my brother, mother and our dogs ALL were visited regularly by the wrath of my father. My introductions to the love of nature was only furhter fed by the need to be as far away from my family as possible and even from a very young age I learned the true meaning of "peace and tranquility and refuge" in nature because there was neither peace OR tranquility in my home.

As I grew older and like many who have replied to this thread, I became more appreciative of the privacy, tranquility and peacefulness of just simply sitting or walking amongst trees, plants, birds and animals. I've never known the need OR desire to be around a lot of other people. I find life to be too stressful, too hurried, too preoccupied with "things" and "money" and "vanity". I prefer the peacefulness of the woods, birds and squirrels and cicadas instead of cars and car horns and I enjoy taking in all the simplicities as well as the intricacies of nature that most of the people I know, either don't realize or realize and don't care about.

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 11:22AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Very nice Barb. Thanks for sharing.
Your story made me realize that I, too, as a child found refuge in the woods from the cruelty of my family. Sometimes I tell people that I was raised by a grove of trees. Everybody laughs......but it's really true. I felt such acceptance and consolation under the trees.
Thanks for adding your story.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 10:26PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Gee CathT... I'm sorry for your cruel past but isn't it great that we have found some sort of comfort and a great love for nature DESPITE our difficult pasts? I think it's a bit cathartic to find something positive in something that was so negative.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 5:13PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Yes Barb, I agree. I don't know what I would have done without having the woods to turn to.
I wish every child could have the opportunity to have great experiences with the woods. Maybe that's why I fight massive development so much that destroys alot of nature. Nature is such a good teacher, and can be such a comfort.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 5:27PM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

What a good question and thread!
I grew up with half an acre of woods in the backyard. As a child, I would walk with my mother, and she would point out animal paw prints in the winter, insects in the summer.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:14AM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

I grew up across from a woods that had been deeded to our city to be made into a park. Most of the park never happened. Through this woods ran the Rouge river, absolutely polluted with sewage because the sewer system floodgates used the river for overflow. Yet this river was fabulous.

It was called the Rouge because iron in the water had once tinted it red. The banks were lined with some of the most amzing trees. One we called the monkey tree, with huge horizontal branches that curled around. There was a great log across one part. My parents told me they used to bicycle out to swim in the Rouge. Henry Ford's mansion was on the Rouge, with a water wheel generator. Mrs Ford used to ride the river in her motorboat.

I used to dream I would buy up the woods and restore it. Clean up the water. There was a great variety of plants. On one drop-off, a trickle of reddish water came from the earth. A spring? Or just ground water from above? You could see what the Rouge used to look like. I wanted to find the old creeks and restore them.

In one spot there were large boulders lined up. It must have been a property marker. Nearby a grove of black walnut most likely planted by someone. We had pheasant, many ground birds, and so many frogs despite the pollution. Lift a board and frogs would scamper, including tree frogs, peepers every spring. The frogs are not in such numbers now. Neither butterflies. We had a lot of milkweed, which I have not seen in years even in our local 'woods'. Haven't seen a black swallowtail since I was a kid.

Boy it takes me back - the area was polluted, with cement chunks and rusty coils in the ground but there was ten times the flora and fauna. So many honeybees. I blame a lot of the decline on the weed and feed saturation of our properties.

We can bring it back if we try. This year I got more free flowers by not cutting things down. Just now tall purple asters are blooming. It took a lot not to cut down the weedy stalks but what a reward. I will collect the seeds of my first asters to multiply them for next season. Nature comes back if you give it a chance.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 10:40PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

"Nature comes back if you give it a chance".......how true!
When we first moved to this rural property, the first owner had spent alot of his time on his tractor, mowing everything. Everything. Well we decided to let it all grow up. Now we're in the middle of a woods. Each year, as nature healed itself, we got more and more birds, insects, animals. It was wonderful seeing, hearing, and feeling it all heal.
Our property is not the conventional idea of beauty......like a manicured golf course, but it's teaming with life, and life cycles. It's really a treasure to us.
Thanks for adding to this very interesting thread ellen and flowerkitty!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 9:55AM
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I got my love of the woods in several installments, the first was many years ago as a young boy scout, the scout master would take a group of us out in the country, we would set up a site and he would have us go out and collect all sorts of old wood branches to build a campfire , we would then cook our meal over the fire , even if , sometimes they were just hot dogs .When we were done we would go for a walk exploring the fields, woods and then climb down over the embankment to the creek, as we neared the waters edge we would start to flip over flat rocks.
You never new what you were going to find under them , sometimes crayfish, spiders, tiny snakes,or beetles.

The second was when I was just a young teenager , my dad would take me to small trout streams, we would trudge our way through the woods to get to these little tiny waterways, and when we got to one of his favorite spots , he would sit me there and move on down stream just a little bit. While often waiting long periods of time for a trout to bite , I would be looking all around checking out the different plants and trees that I did n't have in the city and by the time I checked my line, it usually was stripped of its bait. But still fond memories

The third was when I when I had a new home built on a small wooded lot.We cut down many trees to make room for the house, the front, back and side yards , where grass was to be planted .Wish I hadn't taken so many now. But I did manage to save a small portion of my lower back property with several trees on it. There were still enough trees as to block out most of the sun.There are now ,only a handful of lots in my subdivision that have trees . As they were clearing land for some of the new houses in my area I would rescue some of the plants and small trees. As I looked over my woodlands , I discovered something new .Ferns. I never took time to look at them before . Now I appreciate both the trees and looking at the ground stuff, the Ferns , Jack-in the pulpits ,Trilliums and even moss growing on rocks or old tree limbs.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 10:19PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

What a great thread. i feel like i've come home somehow. my background was a lot like catherinets ,barbs and terrestialmans too.I grew up in a small town in Arkansas with woods and mnts. all around and i feel also like i was raised by the nature around me and i always felt safe there,still do. my husband and his family were avid hunters,fishermen and women. and nature lovers.They never killed anything they were not going to eat. We traveled the world untill we retired than moved here on 30acres surrounded by Ozark National Forest on 2 sides 95% of our land is in old hardwoods and for the 18 yrs we've been here we've been allowing the wild plants,trees and all wildlife grow as it will. Never know what i'll run into when i walk out my door,squirrels,deer,chipmonks,possums,skunks(WE LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE)and even have had a couple bear come thru.(they ran). Got to mention snakes but have a lot of lizzards and frogs and like them,not the snakes. lighting bugs galore in the summer and locust to serenade me. All kinds of birds all year round. One large woodpecker that drinks out of one of my hummingbird feeders and follows me all around the woods fussing at me. I call him baby. These are all my best friends along with my 2 dogs Cricket and Dillen. Yes i'm in heaven here. my husband died 3yrs ago and i miss him but when i'm outside i know he's still here.
My daughter lives next door and loves the woods as much as i.
The question was brought up-words to the effect- How does humans fit into the picture? Does it make sense that i like a lot of persons. But i don't have a lot of use for humans. We are probably the most destructive force ever to inhabit the earth. As John Denver sang in one of his wildlife songs "What a h_ _ _ of a race to call man."

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 1:28AM
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cypsavant(z5/6 Ontario)

I've lived on our family farm my entire 40 years. We've been here since 1837. The woods on it are a small area of very interesting bottomland, mostly silver maple swamp, but they only take up a small portion of the property, which is mostly pasture and hay crops. However, we're walking distance from several large upland woodlots, and as a child I spent a lot of time exploring these and the bigger tracts of mature mixed forest and cedar swamp near my aunt's cottage on a lake just north of us.
I think, for me, the woods were an escape from the toils and predictability of the farm, and also from the windswept barren winter fields. (when you go for a walk here in the winter, you've pretty much seen everything you're going to see as soon as you clear the yard...not a lot of mystery going on)
I've come to love the grasslands just as much, and our upland sandpipers and bobolinks and meadowlarks...but I still spend a lot of time wandering in the swamp amongst my old maples. After all this time, I still find something new almost every day.
I can't think of a better reason to love the woods.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 2:00AM
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I grew up in a densely populated area of northern New Jersey. My family often walked for hours in a large, nearby forest that was protected from all development in the West Orange area. I went to a summer camp in Watchung, also heavily forested. When I was at college in Newark, my boyfriend and I often drove out to the Delaware Water Gap where we found profuse berry bushes by abandoned farm houses ans swam in creeks. Happy memories!

Now I have a house in southern New Hampshire with our own woods in the back. I plan to replace much of the remaining lawn with woods and wildflower meadows. It's a good place to live and we are happy here.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 1:15PM
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I always lived with my back to the forests. As a child, there was no keeping me away from the frogs, snakes and explorations of the woods. It was solice and provided my hyper soul with what it needed most to survive childhood. Yes, I was the tomboy and am now glad of it, it built my character and I never felt lonely. I can remember overlooking the reservoir on horseback, watching the sunsets and the light reflecting off the water. Better than any painting in any museum. Now that area is overbuilt with million dollar homes.

My primary home has 2.3 acres, mostly wooded with a floodplain beyond my property line. The mature oaks behind my property bordering the stream was recently forested by some folks who valued a four-wheeler path more than the canopy and endangered plants. Lesson learned. I purchased another home in the western part of the state which is surrounded by 44,000 acres of parkland. My property is 13 acres and I am hoping to purchase 20 more. Hopefully, all that will be taken are pictures and all that will be left will be footprints. There will be no need to "develop" the land as it will be planted for the wild turkeys and white-tailed deer. The spiritual essence of the land and the serenity there feeds my body and soul more than any medicine or substance made by man.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 12:39PM
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shapiro(5a Ontario)

My father had a lot of failings: he was quick tempered and lacked many of the "fatherly" skills - but he did have a deep love of learning and a love of nature. He took me for walks in the woods from an early age, taught me the names of the trees and showed me the stars. He gave what he had to give.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 10:46AM
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well my love for the woodlands came from my grandparents who raised me. my grandpa was a great farmer who had a great love for nature. My grandmother was a blackfoot Indian, who knew almost all there was to know about herbs and there medicinal and healthful propertys. They taught me everything i know. Im prolly the only 21 year old you will ever meet who lives off of the food he grows and treats himself with herbal remedies which i pick myself. my grandparents are now passed away. but im happy to carry on this great tradition.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 7:38PM
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rascalthomas(z6,cape cod,ma)

I think it came as a blessing from GOD so that I could see the beauty of what He created, large and small. Senger, is your birthday realy December 31? Mine is also. Happy Birthday. The land where I live is on an small island off southern Massachusetts. The Wampanoag Indian tribe from Middleborough, Ma used to summer here and live off the seafood. I can feel their presence everytime I walk in my woods.Last year I found a tiny white flower. totally white stem, leaves and flower, about an inch high, growing in total shade. After research I found out that the name of the plant is Indian Pipe. God is good. Give Thanks.and hug a tree.Peace be with you all

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 5:04PM
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When I was a kid I walked down an old railroad (tram) road to the elementary school. Being in a woodland just makes me feel good.

I was fortunate to be able to purchase and preserve a portion of my childhood forest. Now my family and visitors can enjoy it as well.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:42PM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

I grew up in PA farmlands mixed with woods. I have always lived in the country so its part of me, as a person. I could never seperate myself from the country or the woods. I now live in the poconos and As an owner of 11 acres, 10 of it woods, I couldnt imagine it being anything else. We also have a responsibility because its a water shed. The acreage contains wetlands. We have put a lot of work into it to clean up the mess other people have left. The rewards are that many natural habitants are returning.The ponds contain frogs and spotted salamander, and other water creatures.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 6:34PM
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After reading more of the followups some of you may be interested in virtually visiting my woodland in Eastern NC. Development is King here in the coastal area. Has changed much since I was a child.

Since 64% of the forests are owned by private individuals lots of forest is lost each year to developers. Farmland too. NC lost the most farmland of any state in the US over the last two years according to our Ag Secretary.

Drop by www.redbayfarm.com if you can. We have 46 acres we're trying to preserve. Even my wife is on me to sell our 7 Acre Lone Cypress tract.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 7:39PM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

Wow Jim 46 acres! Thats a big plot.
Where I grew up there was lots of farmland when I was a kid. Its now houses. Lehigh valley Pa, richest farmland in the country and they are putting houses on it. Remaining woodlands are being cut down for housing.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 10:51AM
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tinylady(07 NJ)

I grew up on the Eastern Shore of MD. Where at that time it was farmland and woods. Most of my classmates lived about a half hour or losts more walking distance from me. No playground, swings, or park to go too. So the woods became our park for my self and siblings. There was a stream in the woods that ran from the creek all the way (about 5 miles) through the woods. That was our marker to know where we were. Trees and their vines became our swings. Down trees became our sesaws, and the stream became our pool. My father was a nature lover and he taught us about animals. We had all kinds of wild pets. Ones that had been injured and could not live in the wild. The woods was a friend , a sanctuary, calm and peacefull. You could sit and watch nature do what it does and respect that was the life in the woods. I still to this day love to go and just sit there and receive a calm feeling. When I was searching for my home, that was a sitbulation, I wanted trees around me, not houses. If I could live in the woods I would.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 7:57AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi again everyone,
I came back to visit this thread. It is so neat, I'm bumping it up for others to read, enjoy, and add to.
I actually printed off many of the pages here. So many of you have such wonderful stories about your relationship with the woods. Thanks again for sharing them.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 3:45PM
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I got interested in it since I was like 6 when I started noticing there is so much more out our local park then frogs to catch.

Sure it was 10 years ago but still. Learned so much I surpass my science teachers. In Western Massachusetts there is a place called "Mt. Tom". There used to be a theme park there, a water park, and skiing. And on the other side was a very quite park that used to be free. I have never been there in the spring to see all the trilliums and things growing. I am definetly making a trip this year. Whether my dad likes it or not. I always get there late spring and everything is dying down. I finally spotted some trilliums though :D. Trout lillies everywhere and Rattlesnake Plantains. Which are orchids I figured out. Quite common there where I go. So much stuff that are usually just over looked. It really is an escape. I just love running through the woods alone. Its a weird thing. I feel like I am getting back to my Native American side hahaha.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 8:53PM
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I grew up in WV. Our house was an old farmhouse that still had a 5 acre woods attached to the property. There was a small creek that ran through the woods. I loved to play there.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 6:59PM
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lorax_00(z6 IN)

I grew up on 250 acres as an only child. But the truth is I had a brother and many sisters. My brother was the creek that bordered our property and my sisters were the many oaks that thrived along its banks. I played with my brother and sisters every single day of my childhood. I told them secrets. I told them jokes and laughed along with them. I climbed them to help me see forever. I snuck through them on moonlit nights. I yelled at my brother who occassionally broke and made me wet and cold on my many winter trips across his ice. And I thanked my sisters for keeping the wind at bay while I warmed up before walking back home. I listened to my sisters' whispers to know mother nature's score. My sisters told me if a storm was coming, how bad it would be and from which direction. They always knew. They still know.

The woods are the real world as God or Nature or Allah or Time or whomever intended. When you stand in the woods you are simply a part of the web of life. You are not anything more or less, just a small cog in an infinite wheel. You are exactly where you should be and your happy/satisfied soul will reflect that.

Now if we could only get EVERYBODY to understand this----the world would be a much better place.

Just a thought.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I grew up on a farm that was quickly dwindling from 600 acres to the 52 it is today, although no longer operational. The county took ~100 acres under eminent domain when I was 4, for a reservoir (great fishing to this day)... the rest was sold off to people who built homes. I could spend an entire day wandering around the property when I was a kid and never get bored. I have never thought of myself as a conservationist as I have very conservative political views. I do enjoy the outdoors and am willing to do everything I can now, to make my retirement years as enjoyable as possible. I can't see any cheaper way to entertain myself than planting and taking care of trees and plants.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 10:33PM
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What a wonderful thread this is! I love everyone's stories.
I grew up in the country & never wanted to live anywhere else. I was the youngest of 3 kids & my brothers were a lot older than me so they didn't really want me hanging around. Since there were no other kids to play with, my dog & I spent a lot of time in the surrounding farmland & woodlands. To this day, the rolling farmland is one of my favorite things to see, but what really hold a fascination for me is the woods. It just buzzes with wildlife & action. It's not the kind of action that is attracted by a lot of people, but I find it totally awesome. Now after many years I finally have my own little piece of woodland to maintain & I take that responsibility very seriously. I am learning all I can about how to nurture the ecosystem that is allowing me to be my home so I can live in harmony with the plants & animals that were residents here long before I came to live here. I feel blessed everyday as I wake up to the birds singing & the trees swaying in the breeze.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 12:00AM
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What beautiful stories....thank you, kindred spirits!

My own love of nature began in childhood, when my parents' 2 acres of woods and creek seemed to hold unlimited possibilities for discovery and adventure. I knew no names of things, only the richness of sensory experience.....the scarlet of Virginia Creeper in September, the trilling of Spring Peepers in March, the smell of honeysuckle in June. I loved the strangeness, the vast mystery, the invitation for exploration that the woods represented.

As a teenager, I drew away from nature, absorbed in the usual teenage activities. Then in college I needed a science credit of some kind and impulsively chose Field Ecology. The choice changed my life! I learned, for the first time, the LOGIC of nature, the amazing harmony of ecological interdependency. It just blew me away that 'nature' wasn't just some hodge-podge of living things, but that each component......from rocks to soil type to plants and trees to insects to birds and mammals....each were intertwined in marvelously balanced, perpetual cycles which made sense, made more sense, in fact, than most human activities. I learned to identify the "22 natural communities of Missouri," the limestone glades and granite balds, the oak-hickory forest and the ox-bough slough. For years after I could go nowhere without drawing a companion's attention to the natural community we were passing.

Then I moved away. But I came back some years later. It seems I am as hopelessly native to this region as an indigenous bird or wildflower. I could not feel at home anywhere else. Having returned here, I've made an ongoing project of identifying trees and birds, fossils and wildflowers. I'm rehabilitating my family land to (hopefully) return it to its natural state, and I've volunteered with wildlife and wild bird rescue groups. These have been very educational experiences, but the scientific aspects of nature hardly represent the full picture for me. As an artist, my aesthetics are almost entirely inspired by nature, the seasons, the textures, the colors.....these define my personal sense of soul and spirit. Alone on a walk in the woods, I experience a peace and larger perspective, profound feelings of awe, respect and gratitude. Much, much gratitude. I guess, as Frank Lloyd Wright would say, "Nature is my church."

I've also been very involved in local efforts to curtail development that would destroy the last refuges of nature here, both in zoning of private land and public parks. Because if you love something, especially something that cannot defend itself, sometimes you have to fight for it. This activism has also added enormous richness to my life, for I have learned the fascinating protocols and structure of community politics, and through it met my closest friends, including my dear, sweet boyfriend, a nature lover like me.

But where did I get my love of the woods? I don't know. It seems to have been there forever...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 12:07AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I, too, love the woods and green places and I, too, grew up surrounded by woods. Perhaps that is the answer. I remember discovering Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants, ferns, and mosses, trees with hollows, and large-leafed plants with veins on the undersides of the leaves that continually tore off the scab on my knee-wonderful memories. We often walked through forests on the weekend with our father and that love has stuck with me. It is what made me fall for our house-lots of trees.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 3:40PM
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I am so glad that people still keep this topic going.It is one of the best threads that I have ever seen not only in the woodlands forum but in any forum. It is always nice
to go back to this thread, especially, in the dead of winter and read many of the stories over.It always warmed the heart and brought back many childhood memories. So, if any of you out there who have read these fine stories ,and haven't written a few lines ,please give it a try.You will feel good and we will enjoy reading about your experiences. Tom in NW PA.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:08PM
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plays_in_dirt_dirt(Z7A VA bordering NC state line)

bump ... keep the stories coming ... you're reviving my memories from so long ago ... thank you ...

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 6:54PM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Ahhh, the woods...

Many fond memories of walking through the woods as a young'un... I spent much of my childhood wandering the fairly large forest behind our house. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, I would be found in the woods.

There's Something very refreshing, revitalizing about the woods.. The whisper of the wind through the canopy of leaves high overhead, the thundering of a rocky, rushing brook, the ethereal song of thrushes in a remote area of the woods, a sweep of one hundred different wildflowers in the spring, the shady coolness in the summer, the blazing colors in Autumn, the quiet hush of a deep winter's snow, illuminated by a full moon on a frigid, clear night - All seasons are good seasons when you love the woods.

It took me a while to realize that I could replicate this beauty in my own yard - I'd enjoyed the quiet, peaceful look of ancient, unchanged forests in state and national parks (The woods I played in as a kid were second-growth, somewhat overgrown woods), not really registering that I could do something to bring the beauty of natural, undisturbed woods home.

That's where I started becoming interested in the cultivation of forest plants - Some people like the open spaces, others like their perfect lawns with widely spaced trees, with unchanging grass under them - I prefer the natural mulch of leaves, and the interesting combinations of plants that arise with hardly any effort on my part. I like to be able to just observe what goes on throughout the years in a woodland filled with only native plants - I do what I can to eliminate invasives, but it's not easy! Garlic mustard has proven to be my worst enemy, popping back up whenever I think I've eliminated it. I do like what some people consider weeds, though - Wood nettle (Laportea canadensis), Wild grasses, etc. - It's all part of a rich, interesting woodland. If you limit yourself to only a handful of species, it becomes rather boring and tiresome after a while!

Still spend as much time as possible in the woods, when I'm not working! That's my story, though it may be a touch heavy on the prose!! Keep the stories coming!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Weekends with Grandpa in the Texas hill country, fishing!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 6:24PM
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I was born in a country in Southeast Asia near the equator. My grandmother had a working farm. However, with the overthrow of the government, her farm was shut down and she was only allowed to grow enough fruits, vegetables, and rice to sustain the family. So much crop just rotted away.

Since my dad was taken away as a POW, my mom, sisters, brother, and I moved into a small cottage on grandma's land. I can remember always wanting to be outside. I loved exploring the different fauna and flora. I wanted to pet and ride grandma's baby water buffalo, whose name translated to "Little". Not so little when he became an adult.

Mom used to warn me to be wary of the scorpions near our outdoor 'washroom' (just an area at one side of the house where a water pitcher was stored on a ledge for use to wash up and brush our teeth since there was no indoor plumbing). However, I would make frequent visits just to watch them move around and drink from the left over water on the ground. As a kid, I knew these creatures were dangerous. I've seen what there sting can do to a grown man. Did I mention poisonous toads that squirt milking white liquid from there skin when disturb? So fascinating to watch.

My mom didn't share the same love for the outdoors and animals. Or, maybe, she was just plain weary from the war and constant soldier surveillance. She didn't want me to go exploring or go near the water buffalo (and I begged and begged).

Anyhow, different fauna and flora here but I still love them.

I go hiking, camping, and mountain biking whenever I can.

Now that I've gotten a little older, I also garden. Not that gardening is less work. It's just that I won't be flying over handle bars while gardening. :-)


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Inspired by this thread I am looking for a collaboration or social network site for woodland- and tree lovers, but I decided it had to go to an independent thread.

If it sounds relevant to you look at my post titled "Collaboration or social network site".

Hans Olav

This post was edited by honymand on Wed, Jun 26, 13 at 11:25

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Later I found this on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/treefrends/

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 3:52PM
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