For me, March is one of the most mysterious months. Unpredictable at best, especially if you live in Michigan.
We were really disappointed that the snow melted from the woods early this year ending our snowshoeing and bringing in the sea of mud that Spring always brings. Walks in the woods are awesome, but the snow always presents some extra challenges and experiences. However, because the thaw came early in the month, we were able to do some work in the garden reorganizing the raised beds and dreaming of planting and harvesting. The mud has started to dry up and now we just have to wait for longer, warmer days to really get things rolling.
As of this writing, Winter has returned to the north woods. Les and Dish are at the cabin feeding the hungry birds and checking on things. He called to report 6 inches of snow and freezing rain. Here in SW Michigan, there is rain and cool temps. The difference of the US10 dividing line.
In the winter during the week, the road we live on can be silent for hours at a time. We can just barely see the road through the naked trees and brush during the winter months. If a logging truck or road commission truck rumbles by, we try our hardest to get a glimpse as they roll by. On a weekend day, we may hear or possibly see a snowmobile, quad, or ORV. This weekend, we even got a glimpse of a couple of walkers with brightly colored clothing. Other than that, it is very quiet here.
We were able to snowshoe with the dogs for 5 days in a row. The consistency of the snow makes so much difference when you’re trying to walk through the woods on snowshoes. Too warm and you sink into the snow, and after a warm day then cooler temps, the snow is hard and crunchy. Tuesday was a particularly beautiful day and Les and I were out with dogs. We took a break near the back of our property, and started talking about an idea I had the day before when I was out by myself. I was wondering how far it actually was to the nearest human to the south of us. There are at least four 40 acre parcels to the next inhabited homes. So, we started to do some math and were amazed at what we came up with. When we got back to the cabin we got the plat map book out and drew a circle and were surprised to discover that there are approximately 2100 acres of vacant forest land around us. 2100? Wow! Our closest neighbor is at least 3 miles away by road, but the amount of acreage that only sees humans a few times out of the year is staggering. Hunters and an occasional vacationer or camper are the only people that visit the properties and state land that borders our property throughout the year. Most of the vehicles that use our road are just passing through from point A to point B.
When you live in an environment where there are fewer people than say, whitetail deer, you tend to really take notice. You become hyper-sensitive to sounds, sights and smells. You need to be aware of your surroundings not only for your safety but for the well being of your property and domestic animals. Carelessness can get you hurt or worse.
There are so many bonuses to being out in the middle of nowhere, but also some detriments. We’ll talk about that more another time.