Early December mornings have been bleak with clinging fog and intermittent drizzle, giving way around noon to pallid sunshine chased by slate-colored clouds.
The wind has been sharp, blowing from the west.
I have walked the meadow loop each day, darting out between showers, bundled in down jacket, scarf and boots. On such days I walk with a brisk determination, not lingering to look up into the bare trees.
The lingering sunset Wednesday evening promised better weather.
It was still dark at 6 this morning, but the sky beyond my west bedroom window was sprinkled with stars. I propped my pillows so that I could watch the slow awakening of the day. The west meadow showed a slight skim of frost; by 7 the eastern sky was flushed with pink and the temperature gauge registered 33 F--a degree above freezing.
Sunshine and a brilliantly blue sky prevailed throughout the day.
We went out early in the afternoon to walk twice around the meadow loop--approximately a mile.
I trudged out again with my camera to admire the trees that mark the edge of the north ravine.
Hickory, tulip poplar, oak along the ravine edge, with some variety of softwood maple surrounding the small barn we refer to as 'the snake shed.'
The dead tree trunk has been drilled from bottom to tip by woodpeckers.
A highlight of Tuesday's walk was the sighting of a pair of yellow-bellied woodpeckers alighting in one of the oaks in the east boundary hedgerow.
The sycamores cling to their seed balls.
The cover crop sown on the garden plot has germinated and grown vigorously during the days of cold rain. You can see the mowed path that loops along the north ravine and across the east boundary line to connect with the lane that leads down hill, passing the house and continuing to the western end of the property.
Here and there a dandelion braves the cold weather.
Beech nuts discovered under one of the trees.
All the nut-bearing trees have produced heavily this season; there is a bounty of acorns, black walnuts, hickory nuts. The beech nuts are tiny and harder to find in the tussocky grass.
Nigella has sown itself prolifically around a straggling thyme and two sturdy germanders in the raised bed by the front gravel walk.
Violas shrink in response to a frosty night, then flourish again when the wintery sun warms them.
Another vivid sunset splashing shades of vermilion, crimson and deep rose behind the stark tracery of black branches.
49 F. at 10 p.m. The sky is star spangled and the wind is still.
Tomorrow's prediction is for sunny skies and a high of 63 F--before clouds, showers and below freezing nights move in.