Nearly balmy temperatures on Saturday morning gave way to clouds and wind by mid-afternoon; before dark the rain swirled in, pelting from a leaden sky which blurred into the grey murk of twilight .
We heard the rain faintly through the night, but woke to the silence and white light of falling snow.
The glossy leaves of the magnolia tree wore white edgings.
The red berries of the dogwood were dots of color in a grey-white landscape.
Willis greatly hampered my efforts to clump about in the snow and take photos, here inserting himself in the branches of the dogwood.
At the boundary of the woods the snow-fall added to a mysterious and gloomy setting fit for a winter's tale.
The one spot of color along the line of the boundary fence, a maple still clings to rusty leaves.
Sadie the barn kitten.
The three kittens have grown luxurious winter coats.
Sally in the barn ell where we have laid down old sleeping bags as cat beds.
Sometimes the kittens appear to prefer making their own beds in the hay.
Pebbles, hoping for a second breakfast.
Her hay is now served in the barn ell which is adjacent to her yard and shed.
Thyme, dark green and aromatic beneath a fluff of snow.
There were two dried blooms on this dark red achillia.
The ginger cat, here seen through the kitchen door is one of three known strays which we are, willy-nilly--feeding. We have seen them at a distance in the yard or barn since we moved in last spring.
I don't begrudge them a morsel of kibble in this cold weather and I regularly put out warmed buttermilk or skimmed milk.
But....we don't have the means to spay/neuter yet more cats and I have a fear that at some point a feral female will deposit a litter in the barn.
J. arranged a covered carton against the warmth of the chimney which rises from the carport floor.
The girl kittens seem to prefer shelter in the barn, but Willis pops out of the cozy box whenever we open the kitchen door.
J. going out to get wood this evening informed me that one of the two ginger strays was in the box
I took this photo while trudging up from the mailbox about 11 a.m.
The mail was late and we have been told that this [to us] small amount of snow causes all sorts of delays and cancellations.
Granted, there was just enough snow and cold to make for some slushy spots on the road, but having lived for years in New England and then in Wyoming, the weather doesn't seem that daunting.
The little house looks snug and inviting on a cold day, with a stash of wood handy in the carport.
Snort'n Nort'n, the old Dodge, waiting for another day of wood hauling.
Juncos have been bouncing about the yard for about a month now.
Their heads are differently marked than the western juncos.
I spent about an hour, bundled head and foot, plodding about the yard, rummaging through some bins which J. moved to the barn, accompanied at every step by the kittens.
When I heard a harsh gabbling sound I looked at first toward the woods thinking that the wild turkeys might be feeding there.
The cronking voices ebbed and then strengthened, and I looked above to see two gatherings of sand hill cranes wheeling and swirling in the lowering sky.
The presence of sand hill cranes was familiar in Wyoming. Early last March as we drove between Wyoming and Kentucky we saw great flocks of the tall brown birds who were wintering, with Canadian geese all along the North Platte River in Nebraska.
I had not expected to see cranes here and I stood bemused, noting the stretched necks, the long bodies like attenuated strokes of black ink against a canvas of mottled grey.
I watched and listened until the two groups melded into a purposeful flock and headed southward, their
strident calls fading in the cold air.
We bought two bird feeders today and two sacks of feed, one bulging with grey striped sunflower seed and the other a mixture of seeds which should appeal to many of our dooryard visitors.
J. suspended the feeder from a pole screwed to the trunk of the maple which is directly in line with the kitchen window.
We hope that the combination of birds and outdoor cats won't result in too many casualties amongst the bird-kind.