Sunrise on December 10th.
Although the sky was promising at first light the sun didn't gain in strength.
The air was damp and the wind nippy.
Mid-morning I was working in the kitchen when I noted J. outside pointing and beckoning. I stepped onto the front porch to inquire and he explained, "The sandhill cranes are going over, but they must be waiting for stragglers."
Usually when we notice the sandhill cranes on their early winter or spring migrations, they are a rather loosely formed group winging steadily across the sky, their cronking calls ringing loudly before they trail into the distance.
The behavior of this flock was different: they circled, wheeling and spinning , staying above the house for nearly 10 minutes before the circle stretched and moved off to the south-west.
Wednesday [11th] was clear and sunny, a day to bundle up and spend time outdoors.
There had been a light frost and fallen leaves were crisp underfoot.
I am fascinated by the patterns of branches etched against a winter sky.
The treeline on the north side of the house edges the ravine rather untidily. Jim cleared some low-growing brush there, but left several dead stumps. The long narrow window in the main floor bathroom looks out into the trees. Drying my hands I glanced up and noted a large bird investigating the dead tree trunk. Several smaller woodpeckers bounced about in the branches of surrounding trees. This was the best zoomed shot I could get of the larger bird. The distinctive black gorget and red swath on its head suggest a Northern Flicker. The woods here are home to several members of the woodpecker family.
Walking back from the mailbox at the head of the lane I stopped to admire the reflections of our neighbor's cattle.
The hedgerow which forms our eastern boundary line with a small farm next door.
I wonder what sort of injury early on caused this tree to develop a twisted trunk.
Willis, faithful watch-cat. He likes this bench on the front deck, often staying there when we think he should be taking advantage of the greater shelter on the back porch. It is typical of Willis to be waiting for us on our return, whether we've been away briefly or on a day long errand.
The sun sank into a fiery sky on Wednesday evening and the nearly full moon climbed a star-strewn black sky. In the wee hours of the morning, moonlight spilling across my pillow woke me, to turn toward the window and marvel.
Thursday did not fulfill the promise of the brilliant sunset, and as the day progressed sullen clouds moved in. The full moon was hidden and the waning gibbous phase has likewise been invisible.
During the past several days of cloud and drizzle we have been busy indoors.
Jim asked where I wanted to hang this shelf which he made several years ago at the farm from a length of live-edge tulip poplar.
It is now to the left of the woodstove displaying various vintage tools.
Rummaging through boxes I found this copy of a vintage sign which had never been unwrapped. It now hangs to the right of the stove pipe.
We had an errand in Campbellsville and strolled through the aisles of Peddlers' Mall hoping to find a small bookcase to slot in by my desk. It needed to be large enough to place my printer on top. We found nothing suitable [in fact most of the furniture on offer was of the genre that I call '70's house trailer] so, pondering on the way home I thought of the small shelved unit which has been residing in the downstairs bathroom to hold towels and toiletries.
It is the exact width needed; Jim planed and fitted some lengths of oak lumber to make an extended top. This was an odd unit that we bought several years ago when we bargained for some cabinetry to install in the kitchen of our lower Amish farmhouse. It is a sturdy piece with shelves that can be positioned to suit items of various sizes. The paint finish is more ivory than it appears in the photo.
At some point I should paint it either white to match my desk or with my favorite matte black.
It is very satisfying to repurpose and refurbish.
My Christmas cactus in bloom in the sun room.
I usually have amaryllis and/or paperwhite narcissus in bloom at Christmas, but forgot to order them this year.
Rain has settled in, sometimes a mere damping drizzle, but increasing this afternoon to a deluge that is filling local streams, running along the roads in rushing, foaming torrents.
Thunder has boomed and rumbled.
The sun made feeble and unsuccessful efforts to break through steely clouds, to no avail.
We drove through rain to eat an early supper at the local buffet we like, then home to make up the fire afresh and draw the curtains against the darkness.
The cats have found cozy spots; Jim is parked in front of his newly installed TV in the downstairs 'family room.'
I'm headed downstairs to press 24 quilt blocks and arrange them for the baby quilt in progress.
Each week our house takes on a more comfortable and familiar air as our small treasures are finally unpacked and displayed.
Yesterday I made bread and a cream of butternut squash soup--filling the rooms with enticing aromas that promised a lovely simple meal.
It is the season to enjoy the rare sunny days and to enjoy our home on the days when the weather keeps us housebound.