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From my front porch and the bedroom window that I sit and blog beside, this is what a winter sunset looks like. It's the first one I've seen in way over a week and today's is a special treat because I enjoyed a walk through those woods with an old friend who loves the place like I do.

We have explored it in every season together, on four wheeler and on foot.....with dogs and without them. Today we heard hawks screaming from the bare tree tops while Faith the choco lab puddle jumped.

The 1100 acres that constitute the farm are mostly flat land bordered by the Forked Deere River. The lone elevation to the place is on the lane leading to my house. At the end of the dead end lane behind the only other house is a field edging the woods that top a hill. Climbing that hill reveals a huge drop to the slough from the river below. Farther through the woods, the slope becomes more gentle and walkable as one enters the bowels of the woods.

In the spring, the paths downward are lined with staghorn ferns and wildflowers. My daddy and I once went in search of the ferns and dug up a few that still remain in our flower beds. There are grapevines as big as trees hanging from the even BIGGER trees and choking them in some spots. Down near the slough the mud remains from the winter flooding that lured no ducks this season. It will flood again in the spring...you can bank on that one. Some spots you're lucky to get beans planted by June.

There are wild turkey..I've seen their feathers and droppings down near the river itself where they play hide and seek with the hunters and predators. Coyotes howl by night and occasionally venture up to the edge of my yard. Deer regularly pass over the lane from one feeding spot to the next.

Stepping over and around hundreds of downed dead trees I wondered if any of the "bumps in the night" that I hear out here was one of them crashing down. And of course, if no one is there to hear it...does it make a sound?

It has been a veritable paradise to grow up in, return to and raise a child in and explore as an adult with the capacity to appreciate the splendor. Yet it is not mine. As my grandma used to say " It's only borrowed from God" for a bit.

Thanks Big Guy. ^j^

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