Jan 16- Walking the line, part 1

One of the projects I had planned on doing this year was to walk the boundaries of Twin Oaks Community.  For all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve mostly had a pretty vague sense of where the community’s land ended, at least in some places.  To the North, for instance, the South Anna River (more on that in future entries) provides a pretty clear property boundary.  Our eastern property line, from Vigor Road to Old Mountain road, passes through about half a mile of woods.  I’ve always been aware that we’ve had “a bunch” of forested land behind ZK, but never been entirely clear on how much of the forest belongs to Twin Oaks, and how much belongs to the neighbors.  Not that it matters much from an ecological standpoint, but I’d like to know what land is potentially subject to the sort of clear-cutting and/or residential development that is unfortunately all too common in this part of Virginia.  

Today, a day which as Mala points out was “Ezra’s perfect weather,” I walked the northern half of this property boundary.  Sometime in the past couple of months, Shal marked the boundary with hammock rope, providing this interesting sight:

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Sure makes it easy to follow the property line.

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Spot in the woods where three properties come together– Twin Oaks on the far side, and two neighbors where I’m standing.  I should really figure out exactly who our ‘woods neighbors’ are.  Clearly one of them is interested in maintaining a solid fence, and one can’t be bothered (hence the string).

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The woods on the Twin Oaks side (to the right) aren’t thinned by the forestry crew, which generally doesn’t operate on the eastern side of Tofu Effluent Creek.  You can see how they’re much thicker than the neighbor’s woods to the left, which appear to have been thinned recently.  Don’t tell anyone, but in this part of the walk, I was treading on the neighbor’s land, as it was much easier walking.Image

This giant blowdown, absolutely covered with little shelf mushrooms, didn’t care much for fences or property boundaries.  The root ball was on Twin Oaks land, but I suppose any mushrooms that grow on the trunk would “belong” to the neighbors 🙂 Image

a close-up of some of the pretty shelf mushrooms growing on the downed treeImage

This tree, growing on the Twin Oaks side of the fence, was poking a toe over onto the neighbor’s land.  It is clearly not deterred by some wimpy barbed wire.  I was reminded of two quarreling brothers drawing a line down the middle of their room, and the mischievous older brother going “heh heh heh” and sneaking a toe onto the ‘forbidden’ side. Image

further down the line, a different neighbor’s field reached almost all the way to the property boundary.Image

This blowdown pond, one of the sort that I mentioned on a different day, was especially pretty, surrounded by bright green ground cedar.  Image

Once I reached Vigor road and hopped the creek (no small feat, considering it’s been raining off and on for the past 5 days), my boundary-walking was done for the day.  I had a few minutes left before it got dark, so I decided to go through the pasture and walk the edge of the woods, in hope of finding a few more mushrooms before the day ended.  Getting through the field without being coated with mud was slightly harrowing.  Here in Virginia, mud season doesn’t follow winter, it is winter.  Image

Once I made it to the woods, I was rewarded with a couple of well-preserved fawn mushrooms (not pictured), and some not-so well preserved oysters.  These guys would have made good eatin’ had I found them a day or three ago, but I decided to take a pass, let them spread their spores and become food to whatever has been nibbling on them.Image

my route wound up taking me past the cow-slaughter shack, where I came across this charming pile of waterlogged cow guts.  In the ye olden days, we’d probably find a use for every part of the beast, but for now, I don’t think any of us human-types are going to be eating this.  I’ll sign off with this charming photo.Image

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