We spent the last week doing some necessary manual, outside work — pruning, clearing brush, spreading mulch, splitting logs — but still found the opportunity for old, forgotten surprises.
Above, stones found among discarded bricks and field stones in front of the house. The left shows the fossils of fern leaves (there are still ferns like this in the woods), the second is a mystery. Possibly decades of rain water dripping from the porch roof, onto soft rock.
As children, we made regular pilgrimages to this small boulder, known to us simply as “the rock”. One had to walk to the end of the old fire road and keep going, past the big fallen tree, past the patch of creeping evergreen called “crow’s foot” (or fan club moss) and then slightly downhill, and with any luck you’d run right into it. The woods around it felt boundless, although in reality it was only a few hundred yards from home. Now it’s just beyond the back yard of a neighbor’s house, built when I was a teen and too cool to care for woodland pilgrimages.
And look what we found — there is still crow’s foot peeping out here and there from underneath layers of fallen leaves.This plant is listed as endangered in some states (it was harvested for Christmas wreaths and such but can be found all over the eastern half of the United States, and seems to be mainly found in Virginia and other Appalachian states. We did not pick these, but gently dug them up, roots and all, and hope that we can start a fresh colony a few hundred yards closer. Most sites say this is damn near impossible to do, but at least one gardener has been successful. Ah well, it’s worth a try.