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Winter Labors On

February 26th, 2008

Winter has a firm grip in our area with snow and cold weather continuing. And looking ahead the next few weeks may keep us colder than normal. I was walking around this morning looking for the telltale daffodils poking up through the ground. Last year they were up about 2 inches by now, but there’s none to be seen as yet. Which is actually a good thing… the plants and flowers bloomed so early last year that they were nipped by the frost. Perhaps this year we’ll avoid the frost and see some more flowers and fruits.

Even the squirrels are hungry as winter labors on. This young Fox Squirrel came near the bird feeder to nibble on sunflower seeds. I wonder if its food stores are low? And these are not park squirrels; They’re quite wary of human or other animal presence. It’s actually the first one I’ve seen within several hundred yards of the house in two winters- they usually stay further away because our dogs and cats are about. But the pets were inside for much of the day and the squirrel seized the moment!

Fox squirrel in Missouri

Bluestem Around the Pond

February 24th, 2008

I’ve taken pictures of Bluestem before, but I really appreciate the color against the snow.  In the past I’ve cut the grass around the pond in late summer to keep it trimmed looking.  This year, I cut more carefully and allowed the Little Bluestem to really grow.  Turned out to offer beautiful color to the landscape as well as erosion prevention.  I don’t know how agressive Bluestem grass is, but it seems to grow very well here.  If it helps stablize the pond bank then that is another plus.  Somehow I just enjoy it’s natural look.

Little Bluestem grass growing around the edge of the pond

We’ve enjoyed some new snow this morning, but the temperatures are rising fast.  Time to clean up some woody debris around the property, but everything is by hand.  It’s just too wet and muddy to drive any kind of equipment around the landscape.  We’re about 2.5 inches ahead of our average rainfall by this time of year.  That’s good, and maybe it will keep us ahead of the dry weather going into summer!

Warm Fire in the Morning

February 13th, 2008

Warm winter fire

 

Pretty darn cold out there… nothing like a warm fire to help start the day.

 

Snowy Fun in Winter

February 1st, 2008

     We awoke to a snowy landscape, and one of those quiet days when it’s nice to enjoy being at home.  After a big breakfast, I spent a couple hours outside clearing the driveway with the tractor.   With enough wind, we have drifts at various places in the driveway, and I’m thankful the tractor really clears the snow.  Mom and the boy stayed inside baking fresh bread- yum!  But then it was time to play…  So as the sun came out we bundled up again to enjoy some fun in the snow. 

The Yellow Lab had some fun of his own… he loves the snow and ran around in circles as fast as he could, and then ran again for hundreds of yards kicking up the snow.  He was smiling the whole time!

Yellow lab running in the snow

“Look at me!” the boy says, enjoying the powdery snow. We pulled a sled around the property trying out the hills. 

Fun in the snow for a young boy

But fresh snow is always good for a snow angel!

Snow Angel

Our Labrador Retriever “pup” is so goofy… and look at him jump!  He leaps into the air and goes crazy chasing snowballs.  Now when you throw a snowball and it lands, well… in the snow, it’s kind of hard to find!  But the dog doesn’t know that- he tries to catch it, then runs in circles looking for it after it squishes into powder!  It’s so funny…

Yellow Lab jumps after snowball in winter

The Basset Hound and Shiba Inu watched the Labrador jumping after snowballs, wondering “What is he doing?!  Do they really taste that good?!”

Basset Hound and Shiba Inu watch the crazy Labrador

There’s something about sunlight and shadows on the snow.  It was a fun day and the landscape was beautiful.  

Winter afternoon

Light, Color and Trees

January 13th, 2008

Every season offers it’s gifts and the colors that come with the changing light of the day.  Even the trees, bare without leaves for shade and cover, show a rugged structure that may last for hundreds of years.   Most of these trees will still be here long after I am gone.  And the light and color will come again. 

Trees and color of sunset in winter

Brrrrr! The Ice is Back

December 9th, 2007

     In the midst of the second ice storm for the year… the first came in January last winter, and now this week.  Who knew we would have such doings before winter once again has come!?  Strange combination of lots of rain and temperatures around the freezing point.  It’s actually very beautiful… it looks like an icicle paradise everywhere.  But it takes it’s toll on the plants and trees- many lose branches, and even break apart under the weight of ice.  Which of course isn’t good for the power lines… We lost electric power for half the day and went to town for lunch and extra stuff.  But the fire is going and the power’s back on for now- yippee!  I remember writing about the storm in January…  it took some time before I got the generator running, but it’s great to have when you need it. This storm is forecast to last a few days-  so let’s hope everybody stays warm.

Ice storm in December

Harmony of the Seasons

March 18th, 2007

Yesterday we had a brief interlude of snow in mid-March.  Missouri has snow as late as April some years, with brief freezing periods.  Yet they are brief indeed, as the daytime temperatures warm the trees and plants with the coming of Spring.  By the end of this week the weather will be warm with temperatures around 70 degrees F.   The leaves are beginning to emerge from buds and the grass is becoming greener.  But yesterday was nice… the snow lasted just a few hours and gave a brief remembrance to the recent winter.  

March snow reminds us of the winter past

Perhaps it allows a letting go of that cold season as we begin another, and life emerges all around us.

Snowy Daffodils in March

  There is beauty in every day, and sometimes it’s nice to see a tangible reminder of what was, and will be.  The daffodils with garlands of snow bring the harmony of the seasons together.

Shadows and Light

February 7th, 2007

Yesterday was one of those magical days… an interlude to the winter gray and cold.  For a brief day we warmed up to almost 50 degrees F.    The sun was out, the snow began to melt, the animals slept quietly in the grass… and all was shadow and light.  It is early yet, but I saw glimpses of Spring… Daffodil stems about an inch out of the ground, buds slightly thicker on tree limbs, and a lonely moth flying around in the sun.  The pond began to thaw, quickly…

Snow on Pond in February

Shadows and Light during thaw of pond

The first photograph was taken about 10:00 am, and just a few hours later… The second photo shows a liquid layer on top of ice with multiple shadows of trees.  The mix of shades, colors and reflections are mesmerizing.

˜Ole Man Basset Hound

And there’s the Basset Hound surveying his domain…  He’s the “old man” of Fox Haven.

New Winter Day

January 16th, 2007

Ah… the electricity came back on late last night. Convenience is a wonderful thing.  A new day dawns… I know it’s cold when steam rises from the pond in winter. Temperature 7 F/ -14C.

Winter Pond

More Ice Pictures…

January 14th, 2007

Wow… the freezing rain just doubled the ice overnight it seems.  It was quiet this morning walking outside… except for the crash! of tree brances in the distance, falling with the weight of ice.  The big Ash tree lost a giant limb…. Power has been on and off… coffee cups on the woodstove and thank goodness for the old propane stove in the basement- we still had a warm breakfast.  The lineman and power company employees are working overtime…  they get little credit it seems, but I so appreciate their dedication.  Here’s a few more pictures…

Japanese Maple Japanese Maple in ice…

Field Grass Field grass “sculpture”

Broken Ash Broken Ash branch

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