The northeastern corner of the Twin Oaks property is hard to find and an even harder place to love. The property boundary in this area is the confluence of the South Anna River and the creek which I sometimes think of as Tupelo Creek and sometimes think of as Tofu Wastewater creek. South of Vigor Rd, the property boundary through the woods is marked with a rope, and I’ve walked most of that boundary in the past month. Today, I looked north, where after flowing under Vigor road, the creek enters a flat, wooded, floodplain area, and spreads out into multiple channels and low boggy swampland. It’s an area that I have seen countless thousands of times as I’ve driven past on the road, but have never felt compelled to explore on foot. Which makes sense, because it’s not a particularly easy place to walk through unless you’re willing to get muddy. Here are some photos to give a general sense of the area: And here’s the spot where the creek empties into the S. Anna River, which I guess is the official northeast corner of Twin Oaks property. Once I pushed through the swampy, overgrown bog-forest to the edge of the river, the vegetation opened, and I found myself in a surprisingly pretty bit of open, parklike riverside forest. The riverbank itself was mostly free of bramble, making for easy walking and open views, like this view of the neighbor’s property, an old mill from the 19th century that is still somehow standing, despite a near total lack of maintenance: Heading upriver, I encountered several attractive spots where I could imagine hanging a hammock or hanging chair and just sitting back and watching the river flow by, or even bringing a tent out some night and camping out. It was a very attractive and inviting bit of our forest, a place I had never previously explored. There was some bramble, less than I had encountered in my last trip to the river. And I noticed that the leaves on the bramble are starting to open. Signs of spring? Another spooky forest imp! Eventually, I walked the riverbank all the way upstream to the impenetrable bramble patch that marked the end of my earlier explorations (when I came at it from the other direction). I made my way back to the road by crossing this field, which is one of our largest, certainly the flattest, and because it is inaccessible by road, the least visited of any of our pastures. I’ve thought about using it for ultimate frisbee, since it’s so big and flat, but it is hard to get to, and gets awful swampy whenever we get any significant amount of rain. It was dry enough today, though. On the far side of the field, just before hopping the fence and walking back to the road, I came across this flush of oysters. Like the last lot I found, they were far too old to be edible– I seem to be having bad luck with my timing, but I guess I can’t complain, as I don’t really expect to find any mushrooms at all in the first week of February. After hopping the fence, I figured it would be no problem to just climb back up to the road, but due to poor route choice, found myself back in a muddy boggy area, crossing multiple channels of the creek. I was fortunate to find this tree, which allowed me to cross an especially muddy bit without having to wade through too much nasty muck. I probably should have just stayed in the field and let myself out at the gate, but where’s the adventure in that?