Friday, February 22, 2008

Snowy Scenery

We had a light snow last night and Derek and I went out to take some pictures of the beautiful trees. Why they cancelled school today is beyond my comprehension.

"When I was a kid there had to be three feet of snow on the ground before they'd cancel school."

We tried to get some nuthatch photos but even the Red-Breasted nuthatches wouldn't let us get very close. The boreal birds are out in numbers today, fattening for their trip up north. Even the White-Crowned sparrows were feeding right at the feeders instead of waiting for seeds to hit the ground. Their boldness hints at an underlying urgency to eat in preparation for a long flight. The cold north wind kept us from wanting to stand by the hopper feeder and be patient, so we moved on to the windbreak. I wanted to get the picture for my new header above. While I was on the hill I got some photos of the house and pond.

That alien-looking thing is the fiberglass Wood Duck nest. I am watching it to see if papa Screech Owl claims it as his own. The box we built for the owls is about 100 feet away from it in the windbreak. It's going to be really interesting to see which birds claim which boxes.

We've been having such odd weather this winter. It seems to follow a cycle of freeze, snow, thaw. The thaw periods are nice except for the awful muddy Ohio clay that makes up the soil in our glacier-created area.

Before the snow hit last night I was able to get outside for an hour or so and spread some of the wonderful pine mulch we made with the huge chipper last weekend. I've now got my landscaping beds the larger size I've been wanting them to be. All that's left to do is cut those two tall, skinny pines out of the windbreak and turn their trunks into edging around the house. I pried the awful treated lumber from the frozen ground yesterday to make room for the all-natural and environmentally-friendly pine logs.

I don't consider myself a tree hugger but I do respect the trees for what they are. Without them we would face the harshest winter winds and the hottest summer sun. As with all things in nature, trees perform several vital tasks and when we cultivate trees for our own needs they do a remarkable job for us!

Here's a shot of the smallest Blue Spruce on the twelve acres. It is the same age as the "three brothers" (see first photo) and illustrates what happens to a tree when it is hit by a lawn mower over and over again. I would estimate its height at 15 feet. The tree's growth was severely stunted and it's lucky to have survived.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos. Your snow stopped my husband's trip to the Northeast. He will have to reschedule. Looks like you made the best of it though. What a peaceful scene!


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