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Archive for November, 2013

I awoke this morning to snow falling outside.  So, after getting ready for the day, I took my camera and my dog for a walk.  There was just a light dusting of snow with more falling.  The air was brisk but the wind took the mist of my breath away before it could form.  The snow stuck to the grassy and dirt areas but not to the sidewalk.  Walking was easy, not slick at all, which is important to me since I tend to fall often and well.  This year hasn’t been too bad when it comes to falling.  Some years are really bad for falling.  One year, and I forget which one, I fell so many times that my family talked about special shoes or other things to keep me from falling.  I was sure once or twice that had broken my ankle or something, and since I don’t feel pain, I could have without realizing.  Well, not really, without feeling pain, I would feel the bone give, break.  I’ve dislocated my knee before and felt the bones move.  It’s an odd feeling.  I knew it should hurt, but it didn’t hurt at all.  Not feeling pain is scary.  I’ve gotten hurt before without realizing it.  Burns, cuts, scraps, bruises, happened without notice.  My family rightfully worries about me.  I do as well.

I walked toward my greenhouse and noticed that the dirt area near the new garage.  I took a photo of the grass and the dirt area before taking a photo of the snow on top of my greenhouse.  The plants inside drooped with the night’s cold, but once the sun comes out, whenever it comes out, they’ll perk back up again.  Most of the plants in there are hardy down to fifteen degrees.  Some are hardy as long as frost doesn’t touch them, or so it seems.  I’ve had such a hard time with rosemary overwintering outside up here on this mountain.  I have one in my greenhouse for its second winter.  So far, it’s doing very well.  It had flowers on it just a few days ago.  Beside the rosemary, sits a heather plant.  It also has flowers on it.  Maybe the heat of the greenhouse confused them.  I hope the flowers don’t make them more vulnerable to the cold.

I walked past the greenhouse without opening the door.  The chicken coop was the next thing I wanted to check on.  The chickens were all inside the coop, which kept them out of the cold and weather.  The coop is not heated so they aren’t exactly warm, but they aren’t freezing.  I worry about some of them.  They were injured by a raccoon who removed many feathers from their tails and necks.  The black one looks especially scrawny.  I hope the others are helping her stay warm.

Trees all around my home offer their protection from the wind, but because of the size of the open area, their protection is limited.  Still, they wave good morning to me as Thor walked toward them and  into the woods.  I take photos of him and the trees and the path to the woods.  He’s on his way to the creek.  He loves to play in the water, and he loves to drink the water.  It amazes me that he doesn’t feel the biting cold of the water on days like this.  Maybe he just doesn’t care that the water’s so cold.  Maybe all he sees is,….WATER!

I turn around to go back inside.  Over my home, I see the smoke coming out of the woodstove.  I love going into a toasty warm house after being out in the cold.  On top of the woodstove, there’s a tea kettle that will be nice and hot by now, so I’ll make hot chocolate once I go inside.  Too bad I don’t have marshmallows.  I love to watch them melt on top of the chocolate and stick to the inside of the mug and wrapping my hands around the cup.  I take photos of the smoke rising from the chimney in front of the trees and disappearing into the wind.

Once inside, the cats meow for attention or food, usually it’s neither, but they’re cats so who knows.  Salem, the black cat, fuzzes around my ankles.  Callie runs up the hall rather than take the risk that she might actually get petted, which she might actually like and that would scare her more than anything else.  Puff lies near the woodstove purring contentedly.  Warmth and her person and safety and more.

Life is good.Pristine Snow

Snowy trees in the backyard.  I've taken several photos of these same trees during this snow event.  You can compare this on to the ones in previous posts.

Snowy trees in the backyard. I’ve taken several photos of these same trees during this snow event. You can compare this on to the ones in previous posts.

My greenhouse is covered in snow.  Bet the plants inside are happy.

My greenhouse is covered in snow. Bet the plants inside are happy.

My dog, Thor, enjoying the snow.

My dog, Thor, enjoying the snow.

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I awoke this morning to the rooster’s crow.  The door between run and fenced area was closed.  The chickens wanted the door open.  My dog, Thor, wanted out, too.  Once I was dressed, I grabbed my camera before heading out the door with Thor on his leash.  He bounded out ahead of me with his leash trailing after him.  My camera was still in its case which was hanging off my shoulder.  A deep breath confirmed the biting cold.  My two sweaters did little to cut the cold, but I continued to walk anyway.  The sky was blue with shades of gray clouds.  The colors of sunrise would arrive soon.  My breath came out in a cloud.  Thor met the chicken that stayed out last night.  “Silly girl,” I said, “you really should’ve gone in last night.”  She clucked her response as she followed me down to the coop.  I opened the door on the side of the run, and she ran inside where food and water awaited her.  The problem is that the rooster is there, too.  She flew out of the fenced area each day in order to escape the attentions of the rooster.   He really needs more hens to keep him happy and busy, and to keep the hens happy, too.  With the chicken safely inside, I open the door between run and fenced area.  The rooster is the first through the door.  He immediately jumped up onto the camper top that is on blocks.  It has provided them with extra cover for many years.  Once up there, the rooster crowed to announce that it is his domain.  The chickens ran from run to under the camper.  They clucked their delight.  Once done crowing, the rooster jumped down and promptly started chasing hens, who ran from him leading him on a merry chase.  I walked away before he successfully mated with any of them.  I did notice that he was not interested in one of the reds, making me wonder if she was still laying eggs.  I made a mental note to check her vent later.  Pink and moist is good; yellow and dry is not good.

Thor and I headed toward the iron gate that stands at the wood’s threshold.  The gate was a graduation gift from my best friends.  Leaves covered the path long ago.  Thor was happy to lead the way.  I knew he was headed to the creek.  I had to keep the leash fairly short so he wouldn’t get wrapped around trees or go somewhere that I can’t follow.  He learned long ago to go backward, retracing his footsteps when he gets partially wrapped around a tree.  He’s a smart dog.  Further down the path, he started huffing with each breath telling me that he smelled some animal or strange dog.  He found the spot he wanted and peed to leave his mark.  He kept breathing deep and huffing, following the path of the unknown critter.  Bear, coyote, fox, and many others animals share our home.   Thor wondered back and forth, nose to the ground, huffing and tracing the scent.  He followed the scent to the creek where he jumped into the water without hesitation.  He wondered the creek huffing and following the scent.  I watched him with a grin on my face.  I took my camera out and started taking photos.  Sunrise colors through the trees.  The glistening water flow over rocks.  Thor drinking water.  Very cold, rolled up rhododendron leaves.  The neighbors cattle at the fence where our properties meet.  Frost on leaves.  For some I use the flash; for others, I don’t.  The difference has always amazed me.  I prefer natural light, but there are times when the flash is the only way to get the perfect photo.  Some of my favorite macro photos were taken in the dark using the flash.  I put the camera away.

Thor and I walked out of the woods and toward the driveway.  Frost crunched under foot as we went from woods to field.  The sun rose through the far trees, but no warmth reached me.  Thor didn’t care though.  He was busy sniffing the ground.  My hands were too cold to hold the camera still, and so I left it in the camera even though there were so many good photos available.  Life happened that way sometimes.  Instead of walking all the way to the driveway, I decided to head up to the goat barn instead.  Thor happily lead the way.  On the other side of the field, I could see the smoke start to rise out of the stack which told me that my son had just put wood into the stove.  I smiled with the thought of a warm woodstove to stand beside once I go inside.  Thor headed up to the house, as I followed behind.  The cats joined us, meowing their desire to go inside, too.

I opened the door.  Thor and the cats entered first.  I walked in and smelled the woodstove.  My son hugged me good morning.  Coffee perked.  Breakfast waited.  Life is very good.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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These are the latest photos of my greenhouse.  It is unheated, but still manages to produce nicely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts...one of each.

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts…one of each.

Brassicas close, the lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, parsnips, carrots, and peas.

Brassicas close, the lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, parsnips, carrots, and peas.

Rosemary, heather, and comfrey in pots

Rosemary, heather, and comfrey in pots

mostly mugwort

A close up of the flowers on the Heather plant

A close up of the flowers on the Heather plant

evening primrose, onions, garlic, and strawberries in the gutters.

evening primrose, onions, garlic, and strawberries in the gutters.

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