Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Midwest Old Growth Forest Tour: Part 1

We took two weeks this October to travel around the Midwest and visit some of the Old Growth Forests we've not been to and soak up the magic of these ancient, biodiverse rich lands. 

First though, we traveled to our homeland of Indiana to celebrate my Grandma's 90th birthday and Steve's Mom's 70ish birthday. Here's most of the granddaughters (but not all, nor the grandsons) and the lovely lady herself.

Image may contain: 8 people, including Jennifer Kleinrichert, Julia Vorndran, Jenna Loftus, Jill Zeitz, Lori Bones and Nikki Silva, people smiling, people standing and indoor

After leaving family, we began our maiden voyage in the little camper and stayed at Brown County State Park to get our systems worked out, which we did other than the solar setup, but we will get there.

Thanks to our old trusty Indiana Gazatteer and serendipitous adventure that happens without a strict itinerary, we found TC Steele State Historic Site and happily walked through beautiful forest protected by people with huge hearts and vision.

We then traveled on to our first true Old Growth Forest (capitalized because of their significance), most of which has been cut and destroyed in this country. This 88 acres, the largest tract in Indiana, was spared. Think on that a moment: 88 acres out of greater than 22 million acres of land and water in Indiana. Let's do the math: 88/22,000,000 * 100 equals 0.0004%. WOW.

We decided after mourning those long gone trees, vast stetches of forest, vernal pools and all the life connected to them, we would focus on what it is still here and what can be done to make more.

Knowledge, then hope and action is always the best way forward for us. Previously, too much time spent absorbing ecosystem devastation for so long put us both in places of inaction and depression and what good is that?

Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest in Indiana (Hoosier National Forest) felt otherworldly. How I else do I put it? Ancient, wise, survivors, Mother Trees...

I walked in front of Steve for much of the hike and cried silent tears for most of the way. The power in the trees swept through me - up, down, in, out.

Thanks to the Cox family for never cutting this forest and allowing us to experience this forest and imagine the land as it was.

The cool temperatures stilled the insects and reptiles around us, but their lives in this forest filled us with joy and hope.

"I don't wanna be the only one living when all of my friends are gone." Lord Huron. That's what I hear in my heart as I look at this picture and remember.

Our next stop took us further into the Hoosier National Forest, where we found another gift: American Persimmons, perfectly ripe and ready for satiating hungry bellies.

I promise to write the follow up posts yet this month. Until then, join me in sharing your wonder or joy or love or kindness. Let's add some more goodness to the world and share it with one another.

Wednesday Wonder Videos:

11/7/18 - Monarch in NovemberToday Jennifer begins a weekly short video clip sharing a moment of wonder or joy or awe she experienced and we both would love to hear your own weekly inspiration. Please type in the comments so everyone can share in the goodness. Let's create some brightness in this world friends!

11/14/18 - Eastern Wahoo: This past weekend at another fabulous Arc of Appalachia invasive plant removal workday, a friend spotted a native Eastern Wahoo (think native version and completely not invasive relative of Burning Bush) and I just had to highlight the beauty of this plant. We hope to grow some! What's your wonder or love for the week?

If you want to be super inspired by the efforts of those with passion and a mission, please check out Their work clearing the invasives is what is giving plants like this fabulous Wahoo a chance to live, thrive and reproduce!


  1. Awesome! Unfortunately 88 acres is nothing, how sad is that? A huge tract of land was cut while I was away this past spring, and I know I wont' see it reach any maturity in my life span! You have inspired me. I have persimmon growing on my land, critters take full advantage of them they fall when ripe and soon disappear! I should collect some seeds eh?
    Your camper looks wonderful!

    1. Yes, collect! I am going to post some more pics of the persimmon in my next post, but we ate so many of those fruits and then collected the seed. We can't wait to grow some out this spring. EXCITING! I'm so sorry about the land around you that was cut. :( :( Big trees are falling in the forest around us this week. We are so conflicted...we use wood, but highgrading wood is so detrimental to the forest. We love our camper so much. I'm popping to your blog now!

  2. Loved those two videos, Jennifer! I too have monarchs in November, which is much more normal for us than for you. Not normal was our early freeze. My monarchs are inside cozy in their chrysalis and I hope to move them back outside today.

    And 88 acres---what a wonderful happy and sad place to be. I wish everyone had the enthusiasm and joy of nature are you two do!

    1. You have an early freeze, we have a late freeze. WEIRD stuff. What zone are you? I need to dig deeper into the gardening side of your blog because we keep dreaming of a warmer climate for growing food. ;)

  3. Love your love and enthusiasm of all natural things. Enjoyed your videos. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    1. Thank you both for always being such a source of continual inspiration!!

  4. Love that Wahoo! Last week I was walking at a local arboretum and saw a shrub I didn't know. I looked it up and discovered it is Euonymus europaeus 'Red Cascade'. Then today I watched your video! Love those synchronicities. I must have one of these in my yard. So gorgeous. I figured the birds would like them too.

    1. Oh the magic of synchronicity!! We must have them for our land too. We have a few babies and are nurturing them in the biggest way. :) It's so great to hear from you. I hope life is beautiful and inspirational for you. Send pictures or an update when you have time.

  5. We visited Pioneer Mother's while visiting my Mother at Christmas! We loved it...tons of red-headed woodpeckers. They were loving the old growth and telling us all about it. Thanks for sharing your love and inspiring us! Much love!

    1. SOOOOOOOO COOL! We LOVE that you two visited this place. Spectacular. Can you even imagine? We are so grateful this little bit was left. Hugs friends and much love to you!


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