Saturday, April 13th, 2024 Church Directory

Exploring with Sadie

I grew up Jersey City, which  has close to 300,000 people crammed into 16 square miles.

Almost every inch is paved. There are not many trees, very few green areas and even fewer signs of nature. When I was growing up there, our wildlife consisted of pigeons, sparrows, rats and an occasional squirrel.

So after I moved to the farm in Minnesota in 2000, I really appreciated being surrounded by acres of meadows, forest and wildlife. Even after being here for 24 years I still love walking through the woods and watching the deer, hawks, racoons, woodpeckers and once in a while, bald eagles.

About two years ago we got a four-month old German Shepherd. We named her Sadie. She loves walking through the woods and farm fields. But she also likes to chase deer, rabbits and anything else that happens to get startled in the bushes. So even though we have acres for her to run, I have to keep her on a leash when I walk her in the morning or else we’ll be searching for hours to find her.

Our early morning walk has become one of the best parts of my day. We take different routes through the fields and woods. We follow deer trails and sometimes just wander along the tree line that separates our farm from the neighbor’s.

Sadie has her nose to the ground  a lot of the time, tracking whatever scent she picks up along the way. And because animals don’t always take the path of least resistance, we often end up fighting our way through thick brush - that includes twisted vines and brambles, broken tree limbs and thorn bushes. Sometimes I think I should probably invest in body armor and goggles just to get through the brush.

But even though it’s not an easy walk, I’m know I’m getting a good workout and enjoying nature at the same time. I’m also exploring parts of the land I’ve never had a chance to see before.  I can see where the deer had slept in the high grass the night before. I’ve found bird nests in tall trees and woodpecker holes in other trees in the middle of a marshy area. I’ve found foxholes on the side of a ridge, discovered some dirt piles made by burrowing animals and muskrat mounds in a few of the ponds at the edge of the woods. Last year I found a Sandhill Crane nest in one of the wetlands.

I know some people might think that walking their dog is a chore. But I look forward to exploring the land with Sadie every morning.