Friday, December 31, 2010

fields of glass

I appear to be growing glass out here.

Perhaps I didn't need to show you so many of these pictures, but I couldn't choose.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

birds and ice

Even the bird feeder and the railing below it were coated in ice. (It was quite a job getting the ice-coated lid off the feeder to refill it.)

The birds managed. (Juncos in particular always manage.)

Here, the footprints appear to be in snow, but it's actually sleet covered in freezing rain. (Do you say frozen rain after it happens?)

Footprints preserved in ice.

Monday, December 27, 2010

ice and sun

Going back from the Christmas snow to the previous mixed precipitation. The ice continued not to melt, and I continued to take pictures from inside whenever I could.

Luminous, that's the word I want.

The motion here is not me and the camera, but the wind.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

white Christmas

Snow on Christmas day is rare here in central Kentucky. I am so glad it happened in a year I wasn't planning to go anywhere until Tuesday, possibly not even as far as the mailbox.

I hoped the tree would act as a blind, but it did not. The birds were still nervous of the camera:

The cardinal above is the only shot out of many tries that has a still bird, instead of blurry motion, or a bird just out of frame when the shutter clicked.

Isn't it charming how the snow stopped neatly at the edge of the porch?

No footprints, especially not mine!

Friday, December 24, 2010


This is one-seventh of the not-too-perishable food our clients brought us. (We eat all the perishable stuff, and the divvy up the rest the last day of work before Christmas.) Every year I am stunned by the amount. I'm not sure why they think we'll work better on a sugar overload.

(The dark thing in the upper right is a tin of popcorn.)

I've given some of it away to my neighbors, because I can't possibly eat it all before it gets stale, even though I'm not one to restrict desserts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

weather report

This week has been too cold and slippery for me to take my camera outside to shoot the ice-coated everything, beautiful though it is.

I stayed home from work on Thursday. We were closed because of the ice: freezing rain on top of sleet on top of several inches of snow. The weather forecast Wednesday night said travel would range from "extremely hazardous to impossible." I had my usual reaction to the possibility of downed power lines. When I got home from work I put a pot of soup on to cook, vacuumed the entire house, made two dozen whole wheat rolls, and ran four loads of laundry. A sign that I was really taking it seriously: I remembered to trim and fill the two kerosene lamps.

I didn't need them. I spent Thursday sitting beside the fire, reading blogs and news, and looking out the window at the freezing rain coating everything in sight, being grateful that I am well prepared to do without electricity for days at a time, and even more grateful that this time I didn't have to.
Towards dusk, I went out to bring in more wood, and decided I should remove the tarp I had put over the Jeep's windshield, since the precipitation (mixed) seemed to be over. That's when I learned that enough freezing rain can freeze the tarp right onto the car. I managed to pry and pull it loose, but at the cost of a tear. Then I tried to scrape the ice off the windshield, and discovered it was too thick for that. Sigh. Without the tarp it would have been thicker.

Friday morning, wondering if I would be able to get out the driveway, I sat in the car for ten minutes with the defrost running full blast before the ice melted enough to come off. Then I started slowly forwards, and was pleased to not be slithering. I usually go up and down the drive between fifteen and twenty miles an hour. This time I was doing about five. When I got to the top of the hill down to the road, I stopped completely, and then started down very slowly with the brake on. I had zero traction. I sledded down to the road; if the road surface hadn't been clear of ice, I'd have kept going right through my neighbor's fence. From there on it was easy driving; the highway department had done a splendid job.

I spent the day at work wondering whether I would get back up the beginning of the driveway. I usually stop at the foot of the drive and go across the road to the mailbox, but this time I wanted momentum. I made it up the steep part, and I was so thrilled I forgot to stop on the level bit and walk back to get the mail. I had to walk all the way from the house, so I got some exercise.

Saturday getting to work and back was the same as Friday. Sunday there was supposed to be a thaw, but out here it didn't get within one degree of freezing. It was warmer in the urban areas, I heard. There was a lot of sun, though, so I tried some shots through the windows.

This was dawn:

It will be a long time before the hammock hook sees any use:

Now my driveway has begun to melt and we're supposed to get more snow. Winter is here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

making presents

We exchange presents at work by drawing names. The person I drew listed their favorite color as pink. We're not supposed to spend very much, so I was going to make her a potholder. I went in search of pink scraps. As I searched through the fabric in the basement I kept finding things I'd forgotten I had and going "Oh, my, I must make something with this!"

This is what came upstairs with me:

Here's side one:

And side two:

The finished product:

Now I have to find time to make myself one, as well as several dozen other things. I do love fabric.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

another sign

In a public restroom. I was so amused by it I had to take a picture with the terrible phone camera.

I kept imagining these worried ladies trying to turn the faucets off, over and over, as every time they touched them the faucets came on again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

decorations take over

After decorating for the House Tour last December I was not inclined to do much more than a tree this year. But things got out of hand.

Ornaments begged to be used.

Greenery insisted it would not dry out too fast. And united with ornaments in going artsy.

It's certainly less than I did last year, but a lot more than I usually do.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

pushy tree

I cut my Christmas tree last Monday, and when I got it into the house and set up, I discovered it was rather bigger than I'd thought. I was standing above it on the pond bank when I made the final choice and cut it. I prefer a tree short enough that I don't have to get up on a ladder to decorate it. I got back down alive to tell the tale, however, and I planned ahead: I put only non-breakable decorations on the highest part, and when I take it down I'm going to just pull the lights out of that part from ground level, take the tree out of its bucket, and take the last ornaments off with the tree lying down.

Here it is in the dark with the fire blazing:

I'm impressed with my camera's image stabilizing and my own breath control. One-tenth of a second, there.

The problem with a bigger-than-you-think tree is that it's...bigger.

It pushed the blue chair out of its way. The blue chair is one of my favorites.

I have found a place to move the blue chair to, where it gets plenty of daylight to read (or crochet) by, but there is nothing near to put a coffee cup on.

Next year I will choose the tree more carefully.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

yellow (or not, depending on your screen)

I burn quite a lot of Osage orange. My wood man saves it for me (or palms it off on me, whichever) because I have stoves, and it's dangerous to burn in a fireplace even with a screen, because it pops like crazy, throwing sparks everywhere. It's a reasonably good heat-producing wood, not as good as oak and ash, but better than fruit woods, and there's a lot of it around here, because early settlers planted it as a hedge. It makes good fence posts, because once it has cured it's hard as a rock and rot resistant, but that means that as firewood, you can't split it except when it's green, so it's not a favorite firewood even with people who have stoves.

It's called Osage orange not because the wood is orange, though it often is, but because the fruits, which stay green, are large and round and have a rumply-bumply skin rather like a navel orange. The color of the wood varies from light to dark, but I've never seen this bright yellow before. I was amazed.

And once again blogger desaturates color. I'm looking at the screen, sitting beside a small pile of it, and that's not it! What you see above is to the real color as banana-yellow is to lemon-yellow. Oh, well, at least the textures and composition are pretty.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I drive by this dam every day I go to work, or even in that direction. There's been no water coming over it since early July at the latest. The same day I went to look at the creek at home, I took my camera to the dam.

Finally some trickles of water.

There was a lot of intense blueness around that day.

It seemed as though everything surrounding the water was leaning towards it.

Then, after it rained heavily (I'd love to know how heavily; my rain gauge blew over) the day before Thanksgiving and snowed Thanksgiving morning, I went back to see how all that water had helped. 

That's more like it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

more rain

After we got an inch of rain, I went down to the creek to have a look.

There is more water than there had been, after this extremely dry summer and fall. However--

I could still stand dry shod in the middle of the creek.

Here, I raised my camera ninety degrees from my shoes.

So there is more water; just not enough to fill the whole creek bed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

scratching tree

A long time ago I mentioned the fallen tree I drive past on the way to work that is the best cow scratching-post ever. I finally took a picture.

The arch is just the right height for scratching backs. Unfortunately no one was using it at the time.
The owner came over to see what I was doing, and I talked to her for more than half an hour about local history and wildlife, and her cattle: Murray Greys, a breed I'd never heard of.

These young bulls had come up to check me out, and to complain loudly that I hadn't brought anything to eat. I think I'm in love.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

another sign

I've loved these signs for a long time, so I finally took a picture. She's obviously a dairy cow, but not a very good one, or her udder would be bigger, and her chest deeper. Her horns are elegantly curved, though.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I went for a drive to take pictures of things I've seen when I didn't have time to stop, and also didn't have the camera with me. I didn't get as much photographed as I intended, because people talked to me a lot.

I've never been inside this little store/restaurant, but I had noticed this sign the last time I drove past.

They were closed that late in the afternoon, but one of the owners came out and spoke to me, and told me they put the sign up because one man would come on a horse, and leave it right in front of the door, causing a manure problem.

I was delighted with the color of these chrysanthemums against the white paint. They look as though they have benefited from the manure.