This year has been declared one of adventure for our family.
As much as farm life can seem like a daily adventure, we are committed to getting out and trying some new things as a family. Easter weekend, we hosted some of my family from Missouri over a long weekend. We enjoyed games, food and some pond fishing together.
My younger sister has become a morel mushroom hunter in recent years (says she). She has some great pictures of finds from last year that she shared with us.
We were fascinated with the idea of discovering little edible treasures in our woods. We spent Saturday afternoon hiking through the woods on our farm in search of morels. My sister described the type of areas that they are typically found. My husband seemed to know the exact spot on the north side of our property, conducive to lots of shade and cool, wet conditions.
We put on long pants and boots. I slathered everyone in tick repellent. We loaded up water and set out on a hike through the woods. The wooded area of our property has a creek running through it. It’s also home to many huge rocks. We climbed (and slid) through the terrain in hopes of finding our first morels.
We hadn’t gotten too far into the woods and my sister screamed at my youngest daughter who was about to step right on top of a large brown snake hidden in some leaves. We are pretty sure she stepped on it to its death because the slithery tail whipped around and went limp into the leaves shortly after her step. By then, my husband was dying laughing at us. My sister and I were completely on edge.
We walked a little further in search of old elm trees and a few others. We climbed all the way to the top and searched all over. It wasn’t long before my sister let out another scream. Another snake. This one was a huge, black rat snake. We tried to calm her down because this one was one of the “good guys.” But she wanted the kids far away from it and fast. My husband followed its trail as it slithered up a tree into a hole. He touched its tail and I thought my little sister might pass out.
After a few hours in the woods we gave up. It was likely that the thick squirrel crop on our farm had already gotten to the morels. Even getting down on our knees to look in shady, moist areas, we couldn’t find any. That afternoon we perused social media only to see the great finds all our friends had the same day while morel hunting.
Adventures are everywhere in life. Whether working cattle or hitting the road to see one of the seven wonders of the earth – there is always something new to experience. We are not the people you want to call if you’re going to hunt for morels. Or maybe we just need more practice?
Our family is never short on its thirst for adventure. If you want to find huge, nasty looking snakes in the woods, call us neighbor.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’