Friday, May 29, 2015

Wading the Creek With Michael

Cross Vine hangs over the creek 

Wading the Creek With Michael 

Dana Koogler aka Nanny Cookie and 
grandson Michael Lindsey age 6
Friday May 8, 2015

Pictures are here: Creek Wading Pix

    I had wanted to get out with my grandson Michael and wade the creek.
I wanted to hike some place pretty and quiet and uncrowded.  I wanted to take him to 
teach him to love doing some of the same things I loved as a little girl.   I loved playing
outdoors and most especially in the creek.    I spent considerable time laying on my belly
with a Dixie cup or the cup from the spring catching critters out of the creek.  I dug into
the creek bed and pulled up small amounts of yellow clay which I used to make pots.
I let the dry in the sun and pretended to be a real potter.  Every kid should have the chance
to dam the creek enough to make a tranquil little pool where they can see the creatures 
in the stream.   

       We packed us a picnic and headed down the road to just such a place.
It required donning water shoes and leaving them on most of the day.   We also took toys
and the net to catch things with.    Almost at once we began seeing beautiful wildflowers in the form of cross vines dangling from the trees over the water!   We also began seeing creatures right away.
Minnows swam and darted in the stream.   The morning was cool and clear.   We would have
perfect weather today.  
Michael getting ready to ford the creek for the first time of the day.

Michael has the red canoe tied to some jute cord so it can float downstream without getting lost.

Looking downstream

Some of the creatures we saw today
 Cherry Bug--many legged creature!
 Dragonfly coming in for a landing.

      I felt like as a child that most creatures were my friends and I tried to make pets out of just
about everything.   I hope my grandkids love and respect animals and appreciate the beauty of the world outside.   I find that even as wicked an old sinner as I am I still feel the presence of God 
in Nature.  The world and every created thing bears witness to His divine power and might.  
I cannot think of anything I'd like better than for my grandchildren to relate to the Lord 
in that way.   

Pasture rose... the multiflora roses growing are invasive species, but they certainly looked pretty today and smelled marvelous.   I picked some from a bower high above to bring down for little
Michael to smell them.

 Michael at the second creek we came to. Playing with action figures in the creek.

 We have caught a crawdad in the net!  Put the net BEHIND him because he swims backwards.
 MIchael pretending to be very proud of catching a crawdad.
   Second creek crossing. Same creek as the first one, but we are following it up to a different ford as it meanders along.   

      We played in the creek awhile.  We were careful to watch our feet and hands for snakes are out.
We hoped to see a snake today, but we hoped it would be a non venomous one.    We hadn't seen any yet.   We had to get out of the creek finally and hike for awhile up the road to the next turn onto a different trail and go to a different creek.   The walk along the dirt road was pleasant enough.
We had blue skies and sunshine and a breeze.

          Before long we came to the deep creek ford and thankfully the tree across it was cut out.    
Michael handled it like a champ.  I knew todays creek walk and short hike would be fun for us.
So much to see and plenty of stops along the way.   We hiked in the woods now on a real trail.
Muddy in spots, but so pretty. The forest was lush, cool and green.  The creek now meandered by
bubbling and forming small cascades, gravelly shoals, and deeper pools.   We came to a split in the trail and turned left to go down to a picnic spot to eat our lunch by a little waterfall.  We approached and a gray squirrel came out to fuss at us! He chattered and barked then ran away. 


         The little cascade we had lunch by.
Michael at our picnic table.  It is so little used it is mossy! 

      We had a nice lunch.  Mr. Squirrel came out and fussed one more time then ran in his camper
and slammed the door.  What a grouch!   He must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today!

       We doubled back to the intersection after we finished eating.  We passed Mr. Squirrel's camper.
Michael wanted to go in to try to talk to him about his bad attitude.  He wondered what was in the camper?  I said I imagined it was full of nuts and nut hulls.  I was running out of ways to convince him we did NOT need to go in that camper when I spied a silver spoon on the trail. I said "See there! He is so angry he is flinging spoons!"  Michael kept the spoon to use to dig in the creek and the sand.

      We hiked up a bit further and at the next pretty spot along the creek he decided we'd gone far enough.   I did not want to tire him out to where he'd be against hiking.   We stopped to play in the creek again.  I went to ford this spot and as I did I looked down and there was a tiny garter snake.
He was so cute and we were thrilled we got to see a snake and it was not a venomous one! 
Michael squatted down by him to talk to him.  Baby garter snake was scared of us and started striking
and hissing.  He got on the defensive right away.   Michael was so disappointed that little snake was 
the second grouchy critter we'd run into today.   I had to explain to him that such a tiny creature is born and its mother leaves it all on its own from the time it is born.  He has to be tough to protect himself.  He feels like as big as we are compared to him that we will squash him or hurt him.

We got a great look at the garter snake, but this is the poor photo I got of him as he slithered away fast.

All smiles today-- WE were in a good mood! No grouches here.

These kinds of days are treasures to me. I hope they will be to Michael as well.

Rock art... then they get thrown back in the creek!

Mr. Smiley Face with tiny white rocks for teefs!    :-)

      We hiked back fording the creek many times.  We greeted a pair of men who were on a tractor 
at the last ford.   They stopped to chat for a moment.  Then Michael had to watch them drive the tractor across the creek.  It was deep where they forded and he cheered for them when they made it across safely.  Michael doesn't meet a stranger.  He is nice to everyone. I'm glad he is not a shy child.
He was a tired little boy but very happy.   

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