November has long been my least favorite month.
In New England, where I spent most of my life, and in Wyoming where we lived from 1998 til early in 2010, winter comes early and comes to stay.
The sky is often overcast, chill winds blow and there is mizzling rain or soggy snow.
Here in Kentucky, we've found that November has redeeming features: crisp nights and frosty mornings give way to warmth at mid day, and slanting sunshine spreads over the harvested fields
with a mellow blessing.
November is a good time to walk around our fields or trail along the edge of the neighboring woodlot.
The ticks have gone where ever such pestilences go in cold weather. Snakes have gone sluggishly to earth.
The booming of gunfire from nearby ridges warns that hunting season is in progress, but I feel safe on our open acres.
Roadside flowers and gardens have succumbed to frost, leaving bleached stems and seed pods to sway and rattle in the wind.
I crossed the road to pick my way along the edge of Big Creek.
The water is low after the long drought of summer.
Here a rivlet foams through a rock crevice.
Here and there are tangles of this viney plant.
I haven't identified it.
This old grey barn huddles against a rocky wooded ledge on our neighbor's property.
I would like to go closer, but there is the issue of tall grass in the summer with whatever may be lurking there. I don't suppose anyone would order me off if I hiked across the pasture for a nearer view, but I haven't presumed.
Instead, I stood on a rise near the edge of our cornfield and used my camera's zoom.
A view across the corn ground.
I remember the rare blue sky days of November in Vermont.
There might be half-frozen mud underfoot, gardens and grass soddenly brown, but a sunny afternoon drew me outside, hands stuffed in pockets for warmth, ears tuned to the calls of Canada Geese flapping high above.
There is a good bit of corn on the ground for the gleaning.
The wild turkeys are keeping their own council during hunting season.
Those who survive will be glad of these hard dry kernels.
A long shot toward the area of ground which J. continues to groom for inclusion in the tillable acreage.
The disc harrow waits under a bare-branched tree.
Walking along the edge of the wood which marks our boundary, I collect sticks and twigs to use as
A thorny invasive vine dangles from a branch, framing a view of the weathered barns.
It was good that I spent several hours outside yesterday, for although not cold, the weather today has had little to lure me out.
Pewter grey skies, a heavy stillness which suggests we might have some much-needed rain.
As pleasing as November has been this year, it comes at the cost of continued drought.