Treasures found in the back woods of West Virginia.. photos and notes on the things we have seen and found on our trips into the Appalachian forest.
Snail on river moss, Cleveland, WV
My subject is one that is near and dear to my heart. This post allows me to shows off some of the photos I have taken over the years that we have lived in the Mountain State. West Virginia is abundant with wildlife and the scenery is both mysterious and enchanting. Many times it has reminded me of all of those fairytale and fables written about the woods. My personal favorite to use as an example is the story of Hansel and Geritol who get lost in the dark woods. Here in our forgotten state where technology still takes a back seat to wildness I have found my love and my gingerbread house hidden in the woods.
Growing up in Boulder,Colorado, we saw deer, rabbits, coons, and occasionally a fox. Impressed and fascinated with every thing nature had to offer I read and studied our local wild life.I wanted to know more and see more. This passion to understand wild life, its conservation, and how to live a more natural life became building blocks of who I wanted to be as an adult. Maybe watching to many episodes of “Grizzly Adams” had something to do with my life choices. I wanted to marry “Adams”, I wanted to be in the forest with him, living off the land, eating wild game, making dinner over a fire. I wanted to have friends who were trappers and miners. I wanted to save people from the cities from getting lost in the wilderness. I wanted a Buck Skinner life, a Pioneer woman.
Funny how a young persons dreams of life can foreshadow reality. After years of working towards my dream, I have almost reach this goal. I married a wonderful man who loves the woods as much as I do. Tom is a person who sees the value of all of the things the hard wood forest has to offers. We are a family who supports conversation with an eye towards the sports men who donate millions every year to protect what it is that they love. We live conventionally and not in a rustic cabin with no running water, but we do spend almost every free time we have working with or around animals, wild life, and trying to live off the land. I still dream of a small cabin with a wood stove and a hand pump for water but that will be a vacation cabin out in the woods someday.
Mary Conrad cabin Jackson’s’ Mill. Jane Lew West Virginia
Cody’s proud catch of the day
Tom and I have been lucky over the years. We have been able to share our love of the outdoors with our kids. Cody now 22 and is an avid outdoors man himself. He often surprises us with his skills with a compound bow and fishing pole. This was a rather good day of fishing at Holly River State Park. The fishing was excellent with many caught and released that morning. I was lucky to get a few put in the freezer for later use.
Cody with his native and brook trout
Early morning Sun on Stone Coal Lake
Most of our adventures, we are up long before daylight and we return only after a long day. Fishing, Hunting, Hiking ,Ramp Digging all take lots of daylight hours to accomplish. While on a long drive to a secret fishing hole I stopped the car and took these photos. The sun had just risen over the trees and began its climb into the sky to burn off the fog that is ever-present in the winding hills of West Virginia.
Morning mist on Stone Coal Lake
Locus tree nut pod
Spring Wild flower
With Christopher being so young we try to keep things simple and interesting at the same time. We spend many hours looking for hidden treasures and wonders of wild life that he at four years old he can understand. We spend many afternoons looking closely at the ground or at his eye level. He loves hunting nuts, seed pods, berries, and flowers. His education about respect, understanding and love for the mountains begins here… with a snail, flower, and nut. It is in the peace and beauty of a stream that he learns about pollution and how it hurts the environment, how it kills fish and makes the family unhappy. He is able to understand that much at about nature at four, and it is important that he does.
toms favorite trout stream. Webster County West Virginia
While in the woods my family forages and hunts. We eat many of the wild plants and animals that nature provides for our use and we expand the collection every year. This year we have adding the foraging of Mushrooms and Fiddle Head Ferns to our list and will at some point in the future add Wild Hog to our diet. It is always a delight to find and eat wild plants and animals. Here is one of my favorite edibles and things to photograph…. wild colorful mushrooms. Some of the mushrooms photographed here are very poisonous.
collection of Wild Mushrooms
I am not sure what it is about fungus that fascinates me, but I always have time to photograph a new style or color.
I also wanted to include pictures of the deer and turkeys and other animals that we see and hunt in West Virgina. But many of the photo I have taken are actually after the hunt is over and are trophy shots. Some readers find these offensive and I will refrain from sharing those photos. I now realise that I do not have many good photos of the live animals themselves. I hope to remedy the situation over the next few months, so that a post like this is full of good photos of live animals in their natural surrounds.
Funny what we take photos of isn’t it ? I never realised that I loved seeing deer in our back yard but never took a photos of them? These are my most current deer photos, they are not overly well shot, but you can get the feel of how friendly they can become over time.
what a group of friends a Boy( Chris) a mule a calico cat and white tail doe
This deer is comfortable to seeing Mini the Mule in her pasture but when we came to visit, she was curious about Christopher and they looked each other over for a long time.
White tail Doe looking at Christopher
fall foliage in Fayetteville,Wet Virginia
These are the woods that I love and depended on for my “dream come true”. It still surprises me that I am able to live a life where I am part of nature on a daily basis. The woods have taught me so much about being true to myself and a strong individual. Yes, I love my computer and internet but they are only tools that I use to share my love of the outdoors with you. It is in the woods that I find my peace and my connection with the universe. These woods nourish my body and my soul. It took almost 45 years to get here to this place where I was living true to my heart.I now realise that my dream of child hood is coming true, that I am a woodsman’s wife, a Pioneer Woman, a Mother and a Steward of the Woods. I am strong and free and able to rejoice in the mountains and streams of Wild Wonderful West Virginia.
Sharing with a wordless Wednesday blog hop.