Big Creek sparkles in the sunshine of a clear afternoon.
This whispy shrub grows along the verges, red-berried in winter--I don't know its name.
And down the road the daffodils have shivered through many a wintery wind, their golden cups bowed, but still lovely.
Removed from our dooryard by the breadth of a field is this small abandoned house.
Like many others in the area it seems to have been empty for a number of years, slowly giving in to weather and neglect. The surrounding dooryard has become part of a pasture where a man from a ridge or two away keeps his beef cattle. The cows munch and plod their way about, surprisingly not trampling the clumps of daffodils that dot the yard.
G. peered in past the tattered shades drawn over the windows and remarked that a once delightful small kitchen faced the south with an outlook down the valley.
At the bottom edge of the photo you can see that the house sits on a piled stone foundation, fallen away in places. I can imagine that the house was uninsulated and chilly in its days of habitation.
The back wall of an enclosed porch is leaning, the eaves above it crumbling. The rusty remains of a hand pump jut from the yard, now liberally dotted with 'cow-pies.'
There are no signs forbidding trespassers, so G. and I clambered over the sagging fence and picked bouquets of daffodils, leaving many to delight the eyes of those driving past--if they care to look and appreciate.
The two trees in front of the house are hollies--I didn't realize a holly could grow that large.
This bristly specimen stands near the creek bank.
I puzzled over the identity--G. remembered that someone described similar trees as a locust.
It doesn't look like the variety of locust tree familiar in New England.
A wikipedia article identifies it as as 'honey locust' and shows a similar photo.
The Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos, also known as the thorny locust, is a deciduous tree native to central North America. It is mostly found in the moist soil of river valleys ranging from southeastern South Dakota to New Orleans and central Texas, and as far east as eastern Massachusetts.
Here is a verticle view of the tree.
Drying leaves have caught in the thorns creating nest-like cups.
I think it would take a hardy bird to raise its young in such a prickly place.
The daffs in our yard are not as full-blown as those along the road.
The buds have shivered in the cold since appearing prematurely in January. A stretch of warm days has seen them raising their heads, then they bow to the cold winds and rain looking utterly blighted.
Bobby and Nellie are rootling in a patch of catnip--Several clumps have wintered over, but have been nearly demolished by the vigorous attentions of the boys.
Tiny red leaves on the Knock-Out roses near the east wall of the garage.
Bobby, caught licking his lips in enjoyment of a catnip morsel.
[Photos didn't load in the order I wanted!]
Leaf buds on the tree peony near the veg garden fence.
Days of blue skies and sunshine occur just often enough to encourage us that winter will end.
Kentucky winters are not harsh, surely not in comparison to those endured in New England and the interior west.
This has been a winter marked by rainy drizzle and the grey, glowering days that accompany rain.
Most days have had a bitter wind.
As soon as my household chores are finished I build a fire downstairs, turn on the sewing machine and delve into my stacks of beautiful fabric.
Several of the cats patter down the stairs to join me, sprawling on the rug in front of the fire, tumbling into the old wing chair, or--in the case of the over-grown kittens-- getting in my way on the iroing board or cutting table. Today I will stitch the two remaining borders on my sampler quilt, the 4th quilt top completed since January. [Two of the quilts are 'lap-quilts', so this is not as daunting an accomplishment as it might seem!]
I pay for this dedication to my sewing with a few more aches than usual in neck and shoulders, but the pleasure of seeing a finished project [which I hope will be cherished by the recipients] sustains me.
Spring weather WILL arrive and with it the need to be out of doors and laboring in the gardens.
Until then, surely only weeks away, mugs of tea, the fire and the whir of the sewing machine.