The Wood Folk Diaries: An Introduction

Welcome to our About Us and introduction to The Wood Folk Diaries series, which will become Rachel’s field journal.

The Fox

The Ways of the Wood Folk was written by naturalist William J. Long, published in 1899, with these quaint illustrations by Charles Copeland. This now public domain work was scanned by The Biodiversity Heritage Library and posted on flickr. I visually restored them with Photoshop.

The pièce de résistance is the bear:

The Bear

Long is also sketched lounging with rabbits, and an illustration of a game bird and her chicks was included as well. There is much more to it, but these pages stood out for a simple reason…

The Rabbit and The Grouse
The Rabbits and The Birds

…this is also my wood folklife. The only difference is that he is better dressed. Well that and 100 years plus.

I have wandered the woods with red foxes, black bears, rabbits, and partridges, among other wild ones. By wandered I mean they were on the path with me. I even had to shoo an overfriendly fox.

Many of these experiences were once in a lifetime. The Wood Folk Diaries is my way of sharing what was, and new experiences as they unfold, with field notes, sketches, photos, and videos. Long would probably say, “attagirl!” I am neurodivergent and learning everything about nature around me is my “special interest” as they call it. I am obsessed.

Being close to nature is the main reason I left the city life of my 20s to flee to the woods of cottage country, Ontario. I arrived late in the summer of 2013 to live in a Thoreau-esque cabin, in the one-acre wood, surrounded by trees and birds and animals. Lions and tiger swallows and bears! Oh my, they are here. And they bring awe and tremendous joy. When I first arrived, it really was like being in love!

I had wished to blog about the flora and fauna of the area for a while, and I’d bounced aimlessly from one idea (or URL or Facebook page) to the next. I had always wished to expand my creative skills as well but lacked the confidence to go all in. But with some encouragement from some of the best people I’ve met in my life, I’m making progress.

I’m not claiming to be William J. Long or R. D. Lawrence, but I will be Rachel of the Woods. Volume 1 Chapter 1 will be about my ruffed grouse who for a Springtime always ran up to greet me whenever I exited the cabin. I also especially look forward to introducing you to the little black bear we watched one late summer after his mother had chased him off. You’ll get to see his transformation too, and hopefully feel like you were there – like you are here sharing all the adventures and discoveries to come. (That and our extensive plant features of course!)

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