Monday, December 21, 2015

Darkest Days

Happy Winter Solstice!  We've hit the darkest time of the year... these days, our shadows are long, our sun is low in the sky (when it shines at all, which is only a short part of each day)... it's the day when the northern hemisphere is most tilted away from the sun. And now, we begin the slow but steady process of welcoming the sun back.

Though winter seems like it's just beginning, at least our days will start to get a little bit longer from here on out!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Seeing Signs

In March, this would be a welcome sign of spring.  Since I took this photo on December 16, it's a sign of something a bit more... disturbing.  At any rate, I don't think those daffodils will survive -- winter weather has finally set in, with cold and wind yesterday and today.  (And, OK, it's supposed to be back up in the mid- to upper- 40's next week, but right now, it feels like winter!)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Salatin Said it Best...

Folks, this ain't normal.

It ain't normal that yesterday -- December 13 -- I ran in short sleeves (and was hot despite being rained on).  It was 60.  I had to pay attention to the ground so I didn't step on worms, which have come out again (or puddles, which abound).  It ain't normal that today, the temperature is dropping -- it's gone into the upper 40's! -- and kids are complaining that it's cold.

Part of me appreciates this (the runner part).  Part of me wants to report on frozen ground, frozen lake, solstice, and take a break for a couple of weeks before I start reporting on false-hope signs of spring.  You know, normal.

In human phenology, this weekend I also received my first seed catalog for the 2016 summer growing season (3 of them actually).  Somehow, this isn't inspiring the wistful longing for summer that it usually does, given the current weather.  They are still colorful and lovely.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dense Fog Advisory

You think?
Maybe because it's December and it's supposed to be in the 50's a couple of days this week... 

Everything is coated in icy mist.  It's quite pretty.  The oddest thing is these ice strings -- very hard to photograph -- but they just look like strings of ice, some well over a foot long, connecting twigs and plants.  I assume they're old spider webs, but it looks just like these random strings of ice.  (Most don't have these drips, but I think that was what allowed the iPhone camera to actually focus on that one...)
Just another example of the drippy ice covering everything...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Walkin' in a...

It doesn't take much snow -- if the snow is wet -- to make a winter wonderland.  This morning's 1 or 1.5 inches turned the world magically beautiful!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Last Flower

Witch Hazel -- known by some for its use in natural astringent products -- is known by me as the last flowering plant of the fall.  (It is also the first flowering plant in the spring... Hamamelis virginiana has these yellow flowers in late November-December, while Hamamelis vernalis, the vernal witch hazel, has orange blooms in late February-March.)  Though tiny, the flowers look very celebratory, brightly colored streamer petals unfurling from the center. 
So I'm starting to feel bad for these worms.  Last week they came out to escape the saturated ground, and many of them were caught still on the pavement when the snow event occurred.  I saw quite a few frozen worms left behind.  Then it warms, the snow melts, saturating the ground, it rains, leaving REALLY saturated ground, and the worms come out again... but it's December, and I feel like not a lot of good can happen to these worms.  Ah, well.  Best of luck to them.