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Colorful Sky and Snuggling Cat

October 2nd, 2007

     The weather forecast says we may have frost within the week!  Hard to believe the first frost of the year is almost here.  I always enjoy the last of the annual flowers and outdoor plants, yet the frost will snap most of them for the year.  The leaves have begun falling from the trees and slight color changes are beginning with sumac and maples.  It seems the grasshoppers are the most abundant insect around.  I cut the grass this evening and hundreds of them were jumping and flying as the mower passed.  Tonight we have rain, and I hear the steady falling of rain as well as the roar of heavy downpours as the thunderstorms pass.  We need the rain so much, it’s nice to finally know the ground will become saturated as we head towards winter.  The sky always amazes me… we were having dinner as I glanced outside last night.  “Look!” I said as I saw the clouds turning pink and red.  I grabbed the camera and raced outside to get a picture of the sunset’s painting in the sky, knowing it only lasts but moments.

 The clouds glow red at sunset

And here’s the young one curled up with Sparky the cat… he loves the kitties!

Boy and cat snuggling together

Days of Light and Play

September 26th, 2007

What is it about light and the colors of the sky, the sun, the trees…  maybe I’ve written too many times on this subject, but I find myself drawn to the interplay of light and color in nature.  So if you’ll forgive me for indulging… actually, I need to just make that a recurring theme because I suspect I’ll be writing and posting similar pictures again! ;)    But Autumn is here, and it’s time to begin preparations for winter.  The garden is on its last legs, with the vines and plants looking very sad.  But we enjoyed the vegetables this summer.  And I need to go into business selling Jalapeno’s or something… they keep producing and producing.  From about 10 plants we’ve taken hundreds of little peppers this summer!  Over the next week I’ll try to cut back the garden and begin laying newspaper and compost on top. 

We were at the bus stop a little early this week and enjoyed the awakening light of dawn in the sky.

 The early light of dawn across the sky

The young one turned 7 years old this week.  Where does the time go?   He’s growing up so fast, and seems to enjoy just about everything.  Remember rolling down hills?  He loves to do that with the Yellow Lab chasing him. Soon they’ll have piles of leaves to roll in too.  They’re both kids… oh, and the Lab puppy is growing up too… he’ll be 1 year old next week.  I guess that makes both of them seven years old!

 The young boy rolls down the hill with the Yellow Labrador

Another picture of light through the trees.  This was a late afternoon picture the other day, as the sun began setting to the west.  I think one could mark the seasons by the position of the sun and the light as it changed through the trees.  I’m not that analytical perhaps, I just enjoy the subtle changes over time.

Light through the trees from the setting sun

Brush-cutting the Dam

September 16th, 2007

     It was time to cut the pond dam for the year.  Last year the dam required three cuttings to clear off much of the accumulated saplings and brush and to replant with grass.  It looked good for most of this year, but a few weeks ago I was astounded to see quite a few saplings already growing again.  So after the young one and I spent a couple hours clearing logs and tree branches (left over from some trees cut down last Fall  in March), it was time for the walk-behind brush cutting mower.

I took this picture after the first row or two was cut. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s a 17-20 degree slope- too steep for a tractor or mower.  It’s also about 280 feet long, and 27-33 feet high.  Going slow from side-to-side paralleling the dam seems to work best, until about midway down, then it steepens because of a small bowl (where someone’s tractor long ago was stuck).  Then it’s up and down from the top to bottom, and back up sideways. 

The Pond Dam before cutting

Takes me about three hours now, finishing up with small brush trimmer.  The dam seeps a little at the lower middle section.  Always been that way, with the ground damp and spongy.  So I don’t make ruts, I use the brush trimmer by hand for that area and try to keep it growing in grass.  Last year I pulled over 100 Cattails there, and now only have a few to deal with.  But after walking through clouds of dust and grass seeds while mowing, I’m a sneezy mess!

Another view of the dam before cutting

It looks so much better when finished.  Not something I particularly enjoy doing, but like many chores- it’s really nice when it’s done.  Half way down the dam a little bunny went hopping out in front of the mower. I picked him up and showed him to the young one, then let him go.  And we found a box turtle!  I seemed almost stuck in the tall grass of the dam- I don’t know how he could crawl through there.  We painted the date and the young one’s name in small letters on the back end of his shell and let him go in the forest. Maybe we’ll see him again next year. I remember doing that as a child, and found “my turtle friend” two years later, with the painted markings barely visible.

The pond dam after cutting

There are many logs and branches at the far corner we still need to pick up, and than we can cut that part of the dam.  That corner has not been planted with grass yet- it borders the forested Oak area, another project for the days ahead.

Anothe view of pond dam after cutting

 

I never tire of sunsets… I don’t really know why.  Like Divinebunbun, I try to enjoy each one for the peaceful beauty it brings at the end of the day.

Sunset after a long day

Sunset After the Rain

September 7th, 2007

    This evening was simply beautiful… a heavy rainstorm stopped just before sunset, and we wandered around marveling at the sky. 

      As I walked to the pond, I saw the setting sun peeking through the trees…

 Sunset through the trees in August

     I looked up to see the orange highlighted clouds…

 Evening clouds at sunset in August

     And then walked quickly to the other end of the hillside looking westward over the pond.  Something about the looming darkness at sunset is so mysterious… and yet inviting. 

 August sunset over pond

     I’ve noticed this week that the Nighthawks have begun their annual migration south.  They fly very high almost as solitary birds, yet a few hundred feet apart.  I counted more than 50 this evening as they lazily flew overhead, and took this picture… apologies for the poor quality, but they were flying so high that all I could get was a fuzzy outline that I tried to brighten with my software.  You can just make out the telltale wingbars of the Nighthawk.  It was interesting that they were not calling as they do in summer… usually on summer evenings you can hear the nasally “psshh” call, but tonight they were all business on their way south.

Common Nighthawk way up high!

After the rain

March 23rd, 2007

Another rainy day, but the sun finally broke through at sunset.  The ground is so saturated you can hear the water bubbling through the grass.  Squish… squish… everywhere you go.  Wanted to do some work outside, but I would just put big ruts in the ground with the tractor and mower.  So it has been inside time, and general clean-up.  The birds are really getting ready for nesting, and some trees and shrubs have begun to flower.  Spring sure moves quickly when it comes… one minute it seems cold and quiet, and then with the rain the world comes alive again.  Even the weeds have asserted themselves already!  I should be traveling next week, so I’m not sure how much posting I can do.  But here’s the sunset tonight, or at least the reflection among the clouds.  Each day has so much to offer.

Spring sunset in Missouri after a rainy day

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