Archive for January, 2016

Fascination With Ice

These pictures were taken in 2008 and were put in a blog when I started blogging in 2012.  Obviously, I didn’t post it. Since our winter has been relatively mild, I thought now would be a good time to post it.

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It was a strong snow and ice storm! The weather remained frigid and nothing melted.

I wish I had an explanation of how the ice formed on this coneflower seedhead.

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It was surprising that the rosemary could support the weight of the ice.

Notice in all the pictures at how the ice inverted all the reflections. The red in the left is an upside down reflection of our barn.

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I’m not sure what this plant was. It has the snow in the upper part of the reflections and the sky below.

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Thin stems reflections turned into wavy lines in the ice.

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I still don’t have an explanation for the lumpy shapes lining these stems.

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The whole backyard became a crystal showcase.

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I can’t remember what this was either. It was about waist high and looked similar to corn. I didn’t see how some of the plants could remain standing with all the weight of the ice.

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Red maple branches turned the reflections every which way. The duller red in the top is our barn in an upside position.

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I didn’t want to leave the lichens out,

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or the aster remnants either.

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I’m not sure what tree this was on

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or this one either.

The ice storm was one of those magical times that stays with you for years.

Fox Update

I haven’t smelled the scent foxes use as an deterrent for Buffy and/or me. We went out before supper, walked around, even close to the barn, and no strong fox scent.

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These three pictures were taken last year. I’m hoping they return next month. They breed late January into early February. Gestation lasts 51 days.

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So, my fingers are crossed that they return before the young are born in late March or early April.

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There’s an old strip pit behind our house and it goes east for two miles or so. The road makes two right angle turns before it straightens out. There’s a house on the corner. Late last summer I would see the young foxes out playing when I was on my way to Ingram Hill.

So, I figure they have a den back there too … and maybe that’s where they are now. The den that they rear the young in is usually deeper than the temporary retreats.

So, I plan to keep my fingers crossed and keep a watch out for them. I will know they’re back if I see them or if I smell the strong scent they use as a deterrent to intruders.

A Small Snow Cave

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A small snow cave partially covers ed blister lichen (Physcia stellaris)  growing on a limb in our dawn redwood tree. It’s also called a star rosette lichen. It’s a foliose lichen — a leafy looking lichen (say that three times fast). They reproduce by spores, which is the black in each disc.

Well, Well, Well … Foxes

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 I was about ready to eat lunch, and my husband said, “fox.” To his bow room I went, camera in hand! This was on January 5.

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The visit was short.

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It jumped off the “platform” and trotted to the thicket in the back corner of our yard. There’s an opening under our neighbor’s fence that they use when they come and go.

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Then this afternoon (January 13), with the temperature rising and the snow mostly melted, I headed out for a loop walk of our backyard. I had planned to look for fox prints by the barn. And I actually found one. I snapped four pictures and suddenly there was a strong  nasty smell. A fox was under there, and it wanted me to leave. I did.

(The track is a tad hard to see because of the direction of the light. It’s roughly in the center of the picture.

The next day, Buffy and I were walking a loop around the back back of our yard. Buffy showed a lot of interest along the side of the barn. She went around there two or three times. The fox had about half of the backyard smelling!

As of today, January 23, I haven’t seen the foxes or seen any tracks in the snow. The male’s probably going out in a different direction. I know they’re still under there because they “scent” the backyard every time we’re out there.

 

 

 

Therese, This One’s for You

Buffy and Therese sat on top of the bluff, surrounded on three sides by a horseshoe-shaped lake.

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 The “road” in is an old railroad bed, with a steep hill on the north and a wetland with a creek running through it on the south.

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This was the first view when we reached the pond.

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A redbud tree bloomed at the base of the bluff, and the water lilies were starting to fill in areas of the lake.

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This shows where we started the climb up to the top. The slope seemed steeper than it looks when we climbed it.

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We often saw a pair of turkey vultures perched on the rocks to the right of the redbud tree.

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Obviously, we didn’t get near the edge of the bluff.

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A horseshoe-shaped outcropping paralleled the bluff.

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The whole area was beautiful during every season, especially in the spring when the wildflowers bloomed.

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It wasn’t a place to take young kids.

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Therese, I hope you enjoyed your hike.

Kathy

A Water Spirit?

I was looking back through some old pictures of water running in a creek,

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and came to a picture of a creature staring back at me … an undine staring back at me. The water spirits are called undines.

It looks like it has a message for someone.

What a Difference Three Days Make

Strong winds, hours of heavy snow and dropping temperatures created dramatic results

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that could be enjoyed from the picture window by my computer. (Jan 10)

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The large hackberry tree added an interesting background for some pictures.

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Ice on the window created a variety of designs

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for dramatic pictures.

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All that remains now are the icicles hanging from the gutter.

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 And then a sunny day today (January 14) the temperature rises to 57 degrees.

Buffy and I walked a loop of the backyard. She investigated along the side of the barn until the the fox let her know she wasn’t wanted there. With the wind, she actually smelled up about half of the back-back of our yard.

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I walked right up to a crawdad mound. The hole was open, and I could see water down in there.

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The dandelion flower stood out! All other colors were winter-dull.

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Dandelion flowerheads are actually made of many yellow ray flowers. They have five tiny petals, and both male and female parts.