Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Today it's Tulips

Today it's tulips. And a part of a song.  The unending, dangerously cold days and nights are starting to take their toll. I think that the phrase "bitterly cold" means that it's been so cold for so long that people are starting to become bitter. Schools were closed yesterday and again today because of the temperatures and wind chills. The good news was that last night our volleyball league played on. It was so nice to get out and exercise and spend time with humans. Well, humans other than my husband and son. Not that they are so bad, it was just really nice to get out!  
A song by Greg Brown keeps rattling around in my head...well, the first few lines do anyway.  The song is Rexroth's Daughter and it's making me think that I should just say farewell to this frozen tundra.  Yes I'm taking it out of context, but that's just how it goes sometimes.

coldest night of the winter
working up my farewell
in the middle of everything
under no particular spell
i am dreaming of the mountains
where the children learn the stars
clouds roll in from Nebraska
dark chords on a big guitar
my restlessness is long
i would stand here like an old jack pine
but I'm looking for rexroth's daughter
the friend of a friend of mine
~ Greg Brown

 I spent a few  minutes playing with my photo of the day...added a texture and some text...thinking of spring the whole time I putzed with it.  It might have worked except for the frigid draft of air that is permeating my house and freezing my fingers and toes.

Winter in Minnesota.  It might seem as though people are Minnesota nice, but the truth is they aren't smiling, that's really just a grimace frozen on their faces.  Spring can't arrive soon enough.  Thanks for stopping by...but be careful not to stay too long, because if you do, your car probably won't start!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Wave of Cold

Here's a big surprise...it's really stinking cold again!  It was -20 this morning.  It's getting old.  I think I'll just stay inside and take pictures of my cat.

Not really, but there are days when going outside isn't much fun.  On Friday it was a little warmer, but it snowed.  Here's a shot of the neighbors house from the front porch.  That's as far as I wanted to venture out.

Saturday was supposed to be somewhat warm, so we scheduled an appointment with the farrier to trim the horses hooves.  The forecast got worse as the week went on, but their feet needed fixin', so we kept the appointment.  Long underwear, flannel lined jeans, wool everywhere else, lots of layers.  It wasn't too bad out of the wind.  When we were done I drove to my brothers place up on the hill to see the sunset.

It was windy there!  Windy and really cold.  And he wasn't even home.  Shucks.  Did I mention that it was cold?  But I did get a few shots of the winter sky.

 Can't you almost feel how cold it was?

Maybe it's just because I don't think that my hands have thawed out yet.  It's warmer in Alaska than it is in Minnesota right now.  Maybe it's time to move.  The low tonight around -23 F...and windy.  The highs tomorrow are supposed to be around zero.  Winter is getting long.

 Here's a panorama of the cold winter sky.

So I'm staying inside with the cat.  I found her asleep on the kitchen table.  We are trying to keep her off of things, but she's relentless.  Should have named her "Trouble".

I did manage to get some tulips home without them freezing.  Not enough to tip toe through...

...but that would be pretty tough with thick wool socks anyway.  I hope that the weather is better in your neck of the woods!  Thanks for stopping by.  Please send some warm air next time.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Visitor on a Cold, Cold Day

Sunday gave us a wonderful break from the brutal cold days.  Unfortunately it's been getting colder every day since.  It was -18 F last night, not including a nasty wind chill.  This has been one of the longest winters yet.  It's enough to get a happy go lucky person down in the dumps...just think of what it's doing to the rest of us!  I've been looking for things inside the house to take photos of.  Here's an amaryllis. Ho hum.

Here's Greta.  I know.  It's getting old and boring and I am really losing interest in taking my photos of the day.

Today it was a struggle just to pick up the camera. I wasn't inspired by anything.  No new flowers in the house...they would freeze on the way home.  No motivation to go outside when it's still -15 F.  Here kitty kitty...got one of the cat, ho hum.  Got one of a plant...double ho hum.  Maybe it's time to just forget about trying to find something.  But then...I saw a flash of a wing in my backyard.  What was that?  Could it be something cool??  I think I know what it is!  Do you see that brown form behind the bush?

I had the camera to the window for a little while, wondering if it would ever take off...then it did!  A red tail hawk.

A big, beautiful hawk!  Could I get a good enough picture through my kitchen window?  Here's one. Sort of blah.  Ok...time to get bundled up and face the cold.

Will it fly away before I get there?  He didn't.  He stayed put for a long time!  I wandered out to the edge of the yard...and he didn't move.  Maybe he was hoping I'd scare up a rabbit.  Maybe he was too cold to care.  I took this picture and the next one with my 70mm-200mm lens with a 2x converter attached.  The last time I used the converter the pictures weren't very clear.  I was considering selling it. This time around makes me want to keep it and use it even more!

Hello hawk.  I love hawks.  People that really, truly know me know why.  I won't go into it here, but I will say that I always feel like someone is watching over me when hawks are near.  And I always say, "hello hawk" when I see one.  And they always make me smile.

I was afraid that the 2x converter wouldn't give me clear enough shots again, so I took it off for a few.  What a difference a zoom makes!  Here are a couple without it.

Oh...I think he sees me..."hello hawk!"

The hawk seemed to have something odd going on with his left eye.

Here's a closer view.  Not sure what it is, it looked scaly, or maybe ruffled feathers, or I guess it could even be ice crystals.  The eye is still there, it just seems to be covered over with something.  It doesn't look quite as bad from the side view.  But man, the poor guy.  Colder than cold outside and his most important sense is hindered.  But he still caught a rabbit.  And he was looking for more.  Hopefully he'll be just fine and will visit again....my garden plants will appreciate a few less rabbits in the neighborhood.  And I loved seeing him!

But Mr. Hawk...sometimes my little cat escapes when I let out the dog.  Please don't eat her, she's mostly fluff anyway!  There is always something to look out for, even in the suburbs!  But I'm so happy Mr. Hawk stopped by today, maybe I will keep taking my daily photos after all.  A little inspiration, a little hope.  It goes a long way on a cold winter day.  I hope that you are staying warm and inspired where ever you are!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Warm Day

It was sunny and warm on Sunday...warm as in the upper 30's!  So we headed to the farm to visit and check in on things.  The horses were soaking in the glorious sun!

Czar...how does that sun feel?  YEEHAW he says!  I think he's half donkey...stubborn as he is!

Skylar was enjoying the warm sun too.  The boys are surviving the winter pretty well...but then again, they haven't seen the forecast for another cold front coming through.

A what?

From where?  Sorry big guy, it's another cold front.  You'll need to keep that fluffy coat for a few more months.  And it looks like you grew a beard.  What's up with that?  Are you a billy goat?  Oh, it's just your mane. Ha!

Hey little chickadee, it's going to be getting cold, better get some birdseed in you while you can!

The snow piles are high, but the sun was shining.  I couldn't resist a short ride.

I would have used this picture for my facebook profile, but Skylar was drooling a little too much for me. Who wants to look at that!

I thought that this one was funny....I see you!

But I picked this one.  Cropped in a square to cover up the horse poop.  Sometimes you have to crop the crap out of photos to make them work!  Sorry, couldn't resist!  Thanks for taking pictures of the fun Eric.  And especially for the leg up!!

And then it was time to put the big boy back in the pasture.  I think he enjoyed getting out for a little bit.  My legs are reminding me that I don't ride bareback very often.  And that I'm not as young as I used to be.  But that's ok, the sun was shining!  No coat, no gloves and a fluffy horse.  Winter isn't all bad.

But on the cold dark days, I'm very thankful for a warm house, lots of coffee, and flowers in bloom.

I hope you are enjoying a break from bad weather where ever you are!  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snowy Day

We were planning on heading to the farm today, but it snowed quite a bit last night so we decided to put off our trip until tomorrow.  It wasn't that we couldn't go, it just didn't make sense to risk the drive when we didn't have to.  But that meant we had an unexpected snow day!  Well, it felt like a snow day anyway.  I love days like this, they feel like a gift.  I wandered outside and took a few pictures.  I'll let them do the talking.

The view from my front step.

The little bird bath in my front garden, it's probably about 14" across, and maybe 24" tall.  The piles of snow are partly from the sidewalk and the driveway, but it's well over knee deep in the back yard.

A closer look.

I forgot to undecorate the tree tops on the front step...they are pretty with the snow though!

 Snow clinging to the river birch in the front yard.

Snow in the pines.

Just a little snowy sparkle.

Pretty pines.

Cone flower in the backyard garden.

I love that the snow piled on top of them too!

Pine boughs and sparkle.

Happy snow dog!

I had filled the feeder, but the cardinal wanted to eat the seeds on the ground.

He had some digging to do!

We have some digging out to do too.  I hope that you have a warm place to wait out the storm.  Happy Saturday!  Thanks for stopping by!