Now that we’ve gotten settled in at the farm, we’re trying to make time to take the occasional break from the chores and get out and explore all of the beautiful forest that surrounds us. We are fortunate to have large tracts of private timberland to the north, west, and south, many of which are open for recreational use. There are miles and miles of old forest roads and trails which are closed to vehicles and are perfect for hiking. Some of the trails start as close as the north edge of our property and others we access by walking down the road a mile to a different trailhead. Hunting is of course a popular recreational use out here, and we’ve seen lots of elk remains lately. Sometimes we see old scattered bones, but we’ve also seen entire rib cages as well as an elk hide left along the side of the road. I must admit that I thought for a brief moment about bringing that elk hide home and attempting to turn it into a rug, but learning how to tan a hide is a hobby that I just don’t have time for at the moment! During our hikes in the fall we found a great mushroom patch and harvested about 15 pounds of chanterelles. We’re looking forward to returning in the spring and searching for morels. It’s great to be able to walk to our new mushroom hunting spot instead of driving to our old spot in the Tillamook State Forest. Now that we won’t be going to our old spot I would be happy to share its location, but the location of our new spot near the farm will be a closely guarded secret!