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A Big Surprise

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One of the photos in my last blog was taken during a hike my daughter and I took on the aptly named Castle Rock Trail.

When my age and the altitude caught up with me, I sat down to rest, taking time to study and photograph these impressive edifices.

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Suddenly I caught a glimpse of movement, way at the top of the rock-face and realized people were climbing way up there.  Fascinated, and somewhat horrified, I zoomed to get a better look.

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I soon realized they were actually on their way down.  How they got up there in the first place is a mystery to me!

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Change of Pace

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I just can’t bring myself to post yet more snow pictures, so I dug back in my Archives to find some scenes from a trip my daughter and I took to Utah in April 2014.

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As a child I loved John Wayne westerns (still do)  and have always longed to ride a horse across the desert.   Our stay at Red Cliffs Lodge near Moab gave us the opportunity to do just that, and it was everything I had hoped for!

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Going through these photos I can almost feel the hot sun on my skin, which helps to lift my spirits on this cold, snowy day!


Ups and Downs

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As tired as I am of cold and snow, the Park was beautiful as the sun rose on a fresh snowfall last weekend.

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The outflow from the lake in the Park is about the only open water around now.  All of the lakes and ponds and even some of the streams and rivers are frozen over.

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One of my African Violets is blooming, adding a welcome bright spot to my dining room.

The days are slowly lengthening as the sun moves closer, and when temperatures rise above freezing for a day or two, it’s hard not to think about Spring, but I know it is just a tease.  We have a long way to go yet!

 


End of the Thaw

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From Christmas Day on, we were in the deep freeze.  Temperatures stayed near or below zero day and night.  One morning I had to delay Abbie’s walk until noon, because her feet got so cold, she simply couldn’t manage it. The bitter wind cut through my many layers of clothing and seemed to reach my very bones!

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Last weekend we finally got a break, and in typical Michigan fashion temperatures soared to Springlike levels.  Now we are on the other part of the roller coaster as temperatures plummet and we will soon be knee-deep in snow again.

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As always, when the weather is harsh, my feeder draws many birds.  I was excited to see a Red Breasted Nuthatch this year.  They don’t show up here very often, so I am very pleased to have this one as a regular visitor.


Digging Out

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Just as well I didn’t have any big plans for Christmas.  Snow moved in on Christmas Eve and continued through the night and most of Christmas Day.  The first photo was taken early in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, and the second one was taken on Christmas Day.

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As if to make up for the miserable weather, my Christmas Cactus decided to bloom right on time!  Last time it bloomed around Easter!

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Inclement  weather always brings lots of birds to my feeder, and I was able to get a couple of nice shots of this female Cardinal.

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Deep snow on the deck railing was a bit of a challenge for this Titmouse!

 

 


Catching Up

Late Fall and early winter don’t usually offer much to inspire me to bring out my camera.  Once the leaves are gone and before snow comes to brighten up the landscape everything looks tired and brown.

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I did manage to catch a beautiful sunrise at the Park one morning.  This is one of the rewards I get for dragging myself out of a warm house at the crack of dawn to walk Abbie!

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I must confess, I was able to capture this sunset from the relative comfort of my own deck. 🙂

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The first snowfall of the season left close to a foot on the ground, and soon covered my modest attempts at outside Christmas decorations.

Years ago, my husband and I enjoyed putting lights one of the Spruce trees on the front lawn, but all three of them are giants now, and I could not even imagine trying to reach the top of any of them, so I settle for stringing lights along the deck railing and filling some pots with evergreens and Poinsettias.


Storm Warning

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Storm warnings are up for my area.  If I had any doubts about the accuracy of the forecast, the traffic at my bird feeder would convince me!  The birds always seem to know if inclement weather is on the way, and there has been a constant stream of them coming to my feeder since first thing this morning.

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Not only are we expecting heavy snow, but it is bitterly cold, and this Goldfinch is puffing his feathers up against the frigid air.

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My choir practice has been cancelled for tonight, so I am hunkered down for the duration.  Other than feeding the horses and walking Abbie, I will not be venturing outside until tomorrow!


Toronto Aquarium

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Spent a pleasant weekend in Canada with my daughter and family, and on Saturday we took the Go Train into Toronto to the new Aquarium.

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I was unwilling to carry my bulky camera, so made do with my cell-phone, and was quite impressed with some of the shots.

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This was as close as I would ever care to be to a Great White Shark!

A short walk took us from the Aquarium to the Royal York Hotel for a delicious lunch.

A very pleasant way to spend a rather damp and foggy morning.

 


Bright Morning

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On Wednesday we were blessed with more sunshine, and I was able to get a few nice shots.

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There was a fairly heavy frost, only the second one we have had so far this season, but this was just a taste of what was to come.

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The horses were grazing under the Mulberry Tree, and Twiggy did not seem to mind the leaves falling on her back.  She is such a good-natured soul!

More sunshine today (Friday), but we are really getting a taste of Winter.  Temperature dropped into the teens overnight, and I had to set up the heated bucket for the horses’ water.  Will drop down into the low teens tonight, but is supposed to be above freezing for the weekend.

 


Finding Color

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I have lost count of the gloomy, wet and cloudy days we have experienced lately, but on Friday the sun paid us a brief visit, so I took the camera to the Park to find some color.

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Wind and rain had stripped many of the leaves from the trees before they could turn, but I did find a few bright spots.

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It was unseasonably warm again today, and we even had a brief thunder-storm, but colder temperatures are on the way and the next few nights will be below freezing.

I hung the bird feeder yesterday, and it is already doing a brisk trade.  I don’t put out seed in the summer as I find it draws squirrels, mice and the odd possum, which sends Abbie into a tizzy.  It always surprises me how quickly the birds discover it is back.  They must pass the word around to each other!