Thursday, December 19, 2019

From Bleak To Bright

 I awoke at 5 surrounded by a wodge of felines. Strangely, the bedroom was chilly.  The last chunk of wood J. put in the stove at bedtime must have smoldered itself out.  I decided--as one does--to trudge to the bathroom and made a detour to confirm that the woodstove was indeed cold.  I resettled myself amongst the cats, turning to gaze at the winter-dark sky pin-pointed with the glint of stars. 

My pre-dawn reverie was interrupted by the unmistakable sound of a cat about to produce a hairball!
I swung out of bed in time to prod Nellie-cat off the rug. 
Turn on the light, clean up the mess, turn off light, return to bed.

By now I was chilled.  I could have done any of several things: clatter about building a fresh fire; fumble about in the dark living room finding the remote control for the electric heat; pull a quilt off the rack in the corner or fetch a blanket from the closet. The first two options would be too disruptive, and I was in that
 half-witted fog that made finding an extra  blanket unappealing.
One by one the cats returned to the bed and we lay bundled together until after 7.

There had been heavy frost overnight.  Sunrise was subdued, sending a band of light over a pale landscape.

As the sun slid above the horizon ice crystals began to sparkle along the wonky fence.

Willis, always on duty, soaking up the early sun.

There are snug 'nests' prepared on the back porch for the outdoor cats; Willis prefers the bench near the front door where he can keep track of doings.

By the time I walked up the lane to the mailbox the sky was brilliantly blue and the air had warmed. 
Puddles lingering after several rainy days had formed ice reflecting the sky.

It was far too lovely a day to stay indoors.  Camera in pocket, a fleecy scarf over my head, I decided to walk the perimeter of our open land.
I often forget that our deeded acreage includes this triangular sliver that runs from the bend in the lane down into the south ravine.

At the lower end of the property the Jane magnolia [planted by former owners] is wearing plump 'catkins.'

I've  often wondered why former owners built a house on the very edge of the ravine at the west end of the property.  Their back door must have opened onto this half-hidden path which winds steeply through brambles and small saplings.

In the shade ice crystals remained throughout the day.

 A tattered sycamore leaf.

"Someone" recently drove across the area where I transplanted foxglove.  J. insists he didn't do it. 
A strange place for wheel tracks even in this yard where tractors and pickup trucks are always towing things around.

Some weeks ago a night of heavy rain and wind toppled a dead beech growing in the side of the south ravine.  J. sliced up the branches that stretched onto the verge....

...and then pulled the trunk of the tree to the woodshed where it can be turned into firewood.

I think a limb was cut from this tree years ago and the 'wound' healed oddly.  By using a bit of imagination you can see an animal 'face' in the center of the circle.

Willis patrolled behind me as I made two rounds of the property.  He took time out to recline on a fallen log that was catching the sun.

Waiting for Willis to stretch himself and continue our walk I heard the rusty calls of sandhill cranes. 
It was a moment or two before they came into view flying from the north.
These moved swiftly on in the standard formation unlike those spotted several days ago as they hovered and circled.  J. suspects that group was 'resting in flight' or waiting on stragglers. 

At the top of the hayfield--dandelions!


  1. Always a treat to read about and see what's going on there with you.

    Merry Christmas and have a wonderful 2020 ~ FlowerLady

  2. I wonder if they built right at the edge so as to free up as much "usable" land as possible? Who's to say?

    An enjoyable walk and wonderful to have sunshine again (ours is very fugitive at the moment - the accent being on heavy rain).

    I hope that your Foxgloves survive someone driving over them!

  3. Oh, and of course, MERRY CHRISTMAS and wishing you a happy 2020 to come.