Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bock Nature Preserve, Kosciusko County
    My family has been a member of Acres Land Trust for a few years now, and during those years we have enjoyed only the nearby preserves of our own county. The comfort of the familiar, you know. Shame on us!  Up to now my hiking adventures and blog entries have taken us to those same familiar preserves.  So now...we venture into unknown (to us) territory!  
An addition to our usual merry band of hikers: General Lee
     On this day my entourage and I (plus our dog, General) traveled over 100 miles to visit two nature preserves we had never enjoyed before.  And it was well worth it!  Our first stop was to Bock Nature Preserve in Kosciusko county.  

On of my very favorite things about springtime is looking through the trees, my sight unimpeded by the future's leafy growth, and appreciating the vastness of the space surrounding me.  I love this illuminated view of the woodland floor's green carpeting.
An impressive vernal pool.  Find a description of a vernal pool in my last post, here:
So large, one photo just wouldn't do!
     It was a beautiful day for a hike, and we saw so many indicators of spring.  I think I'm usually too busy and distracted to notice and appreciate nature's gifts that are able to be seen only in the springtime. 
The sun was behind this tree, effectively "lighting up" these leaves.  I love how they glow!

Blue Eyed Mary
When winter's chill has scarce left earth
And April winds blow "Hey down derry !"
Comes gaily dancing down my hill
Sweet, laughing, Blue-eyed-mary.

She wears a dress of bronzy green
Draped round her light and airy;
She lifts the loveliest face I've seen
Brave, tender, Blue-eyed-mary.

Her eyes shine like the azure sky, 
Her step light as a fairyHer face, no crystal drift so white,
Dear, steadfast, Blue-eyed-mary.

My hat is off to Bouncing Bet,
Gill-over-the-ground runs quite contrary,
Black-eyed-Susan is my pet;
But I'm in love with Blue-eyed-mary.

~Gene Stratton Porter

Dutchman's Breeches.  Named for their resemblance to the historical Dutch sailor's pants.  Only upside down.
I wonder what he's drinking?
    The Bock Nature Preserve is 47 acres, but is only half covered with forest.  The other half is an agricultural field that is being converted into native grassland. Tall-grass prairie plants have been established here, and it makes for a very diverse hiking experience.
We could see that the grasses had been very tall.  Today they were mostly flattened from the winter snows and rains.  
    In it's past life, this preserve was a portion of a family farm for over 100 years.  The windmill on the property remains as a reminder of the land's past use.

A memorial of a past life.
Next stop: Glennwood Nature Preserve!  See you there!

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