We were in luck! The Welcoming Committee was off for the weekend!
You can drive for miles and miles in the 44 thousand acre woods called (at least by DH's family) Moody Pasture. The pasture contains millions of pine trees which were used for turpentining in Russell's grandfather's day, today they are harvested by lumber companies to make whatever various products pine trees make.
On this land are so many ponds and lakes and most of them are that sparkling blue that doesn't seem real. They also have sandy beaches. There is even one pond called the Russell J*nks Car Wash. In his mid 20's, Russell stopped one day to take a picture of a big 'gator and apparently put his truck in neutral instead of park. It started rolling and by the time he got to it it was hood deep in the pond. He sheepishly had to get help and get pulled out of the pond! That name is even on an area map of the acreage. If only someone had gotten a video of that!
Below is a picture of an old oil truck. We camped in a place called the oil well site.....years ago there was some drilling for oil done there. The wells are capped off and no one seems to know if there was any oil found or not. The family sincerely hopes they drill again and there is oil because they also retained the oil and mineral rights, which they have paid taxes on for years with no return. That's the pits! I'm not sure why the truck was just abandoned there, but as you can see the forest soon takes in whatever is left there.
Then, there's this little red car that is also being consumed by the trees and underbrush. I mean, did someone just drive in and decide to walk out??? It's a long way to the highway. There's no dead body in the car, someone checked long ago!
This is looking down one of the many, many roads that criss cross through the property. Most every road has a name. In fact, there are even a few street signs.....and intersections.....no kidding......not that it would help someone like me if I got lost. But my husband knows these woods well, having been in them all his life.
We saw a total of 4 deer at different times running on these roads.
Here are a few rows of pine trees. At the oil well site, they were doing some cutting. When they cut, they take the pine cones for seed and put them in the nursery to start a new crop. There were huge basket like things filled with pine cones.
Then right smack dab in the middle of these 44 thousand acres is a cemetery! Most of the headstones are people who died in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
This is Blue Pond. An absolutely breathtaking, huge pond. I've never seen it so low. We drove on dry ground that we have swum (looked it up, it's the right grammar, looks wrong!) in and boated on. A lot of youngsters learned to ski in this pond. It was sad to see it that low as it is a majestic pond, home to many fish, turtles, probably snakes and a few alligators. When I learned about the alligators, I stopped swimming there. I have a very vivid imagination and could feel the tug from underneath the water every time I got in to swim.
In fact, when Russell's brother died several years ago, his ashes were scattered in this pond. MIL was saying she hadn't been there since then and I said, He's on dry ground now. Just kidding.....well, unless they washed out further, they really are on dry ground.
I did not grow up going to the woods. The woods are a little frightening to me because I am a small city girl......very small city, but city nonetheless. To my husband, this is a sanctuary of safety and good times.
He was a bit wistful this time, saying he wished his grandfather (Pappy) had kept out portions of the land. But, as my very wise grandmother used to say if wishes were horses, we'd all be a riding. When my husband and his sister and cousins are gone, so will the rights to go there. Our children, who have grown up there will have the gate permanently locked.