Dear Curiosity Journal,
I woke up with skiing on my mind. I was curious if enough snow had accumulated to make skiing through the Hammock Forest a possibility. Rufus and I started developing the Hammock Forest in 2021 by trimming branches and installing hardware to hang hammocks in a stand of white pines planted for CRP (Conservation Reserve Program). Since the trees are evenly spaced in rows, it makes a perfect hammock hangout. If there is enough snow, it also makes quite a whimsical cross country ski trail. The powder was deep enough for Rufus to brave the big hill into the valley, which we usually avoid based on a couple of especially grisly falls he’s taken. This meant the odds were good that the Hammock Forest would be snowy as well. However, the evergreen canopy is thick, so I wasn’t sure how much snow would have reached the pathway. When we dipped into the woods, there was a luminous blanket of snow. We’ve noticed the deer prefer to travel along the main channel of the Hammock Forest where the branches are trimmed away, so for the second day in a row, I made ski tracks over deer tracks. Then Rufus decided to take us into the deciduous forest. I questioned this based on the amount of debris, downed trees, and unseen obstacles under the snow. He sped past my suggestion and began hopping his skis over large branches. I fell down no less than five times while Rufus somehow remained vertical and untangled. I must say I prefer the smooth bed of pine needles to a near knee injury. One day soon, we’ll be popping into the sauna after a ski around the farm. Yes, the sauna project is still meandering forward, and Rufus is determined to finish it this year, maybe even this winter. Fingers crossed.