Such a busy weekend and I wondered how to fit in another ACRES visit. Then I realized that the McNabb-Walters Nature Preserve is almost across the road from our tree farm and we had to drop a load of wood off at the farm anyway. When our friends Tammy and Brian called, I asked if they wanted to meet us at the preserve for a quick hike. We met at the entrance at 5:00 on Sunday March 7, 2010.
The picture above is the Davis-Fisher Creek which drains into the St. Joseph River. It cuts quite a deep ravine through the land and is pretty even without any leaves. We hiked with Tammy and Brian late last fall along the river ravines, admiring the same stark beauty.
This is a locust tree with thorns over a foot long. Some trees are easy to identify in winter!
These shrubs are native spice bushes (Lindera benzoin) and are hosts to the spicebush butterfly. Their buds are round little balls. If you chew on a twig it tastes like spices - cloves, ginger, nutmeg? Tea can be made from the twigs and seeds.
The trail loops around the remnants of an old sugar shack, as the woods are filled with sugar maples. We found scars on the trees where they were tapped many years ago.
Not much left of the sugar shack,
but we did find an old sleigh used to haul sap to the sugar camp for boiling down. The sleigh was in remarkable condition, but buried by so much debris it was hard to get a picture. Hey, ACRES, this sleigh might be worth salvaging. It was in pretty good condition.
I earnestly searched for green. I refused to take pictures of garlic mustard though. There were a lot of ramps, or wild leeks,...
and a bed of ferns...
And rue was starting to grow. I looked for, but did not find, harbinger of spring. It is probably too early.
And I love fungus. These little buttons had seen better days, though.
Steve and I plan to stop by the preserve more often, coming and going from the tree farm, watching it as it bursts forth with ephemeral spring flowers. We feel a special kinship to it as we made friends with Alwilda McNabb Walters when she was in the nursing home. She told of how her husband's family acquired a lot of the land. They owned a funeral home and if someone could not pay for the funeral, he would accept payment in land.