Saturday, March 16, 2013

Winter's Last Hurrah

Early March sunset on the farm
I could be wrong about the title of this post.  This is Wisconsin, after all, and weather is highly unpredictable.  Actually, this year we are experiencing what passes as a normal winter around here in my opinion.  I am happy to see the snow because, well, someone has to be happy about it.  Might as well be me.

What's left of our north line fence.  That cedar post and barbed wire is Old.

Last year we had the goofiest March I could ever remember, I think I heard the local weatherman mention we were in the upper 70's one year ago this week which of course, was a record temperature for March.   The temperatures have been bouncing around from the upper 30's to the low teens at night lately, and the last time I looked outside tonight, the snow was coming down at a good clip.  We'll probably have a few inches of accumulation by morning.

Good, I can go skiing some more.

Skiing the Back Eight and the farm itself has been a lot of fun this winter and I'm sorry to see it come to an end.  These pictures are a compilation of photos I took over the past two weeks.  I usually put supper in the oven or crock pot and go out skiing just before dark.  If I remember to hang the camera around my neck, random shots are the rule, not the exception. Please bear with me as I try to make narration of snow pictures in my little corner of the world interesting, ok? 
Low clouds looming, more snow in the forecast.
The quality of the snow for skiing has been amazing this winter.  A good base with a few inches of fluffy, dry snow makes for easy, pleasant going.  The fields are a soft white blanket that I almost hate to mar with tracks.
Solitude as night falls.

Oak tree
I've taken a lot of pictures of this old oak tree on our north line fence.  As I made my way around the farm, I couldn't resist taking yet another picture of it silhouetted against the darkening sky.  Cross-country skiing is a very quiet sport which is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.  I love the peace and solitude.  The cold, fresh air is very cleansing, too.  I do a lot of thinking and praying while I ski, and come back in the house physically tired but mentally refreshed.
One night I decided to head across the field and make a beeline for the big cottonwood on the corner of our northwest lot line.  This is the only time of year crossing a hayfield on the diagonal is allowed.  (But I still feel a little guilty, it's the farmer in me.)

Getting closer.
Darker than I thought, and blurrier too, but there's Joel standing next to the mammoth cottonwood tree.
The white stripe on the tree's trunk is from a lightning strike.  Luckily the tree survived.  (And it's a good reminder to me not to stand under big trees during a thunderstorm which would be an electrifying experience.)

Base of the tree is wider than a ski pole.

Though I do ski alone most of the time, Carl or Joel do join me occasionally.  They both can't go at the same time since we only have two pair of working skis and boots here, one for me and one for their size.  We really should look into buying another pair, this time of year they are usually always on sale.

Making tracks
  Speaking of tracks:
What kind of animal made these?
We were skiing up by my mother's one day and came across these weird tracks in the snow.  I don't really know what made them, maybe a vole or mouse?  The weird thing was there was no tracks leading to or from the bizarre design and which led us to believe there must be an underground tunnel somewhere.  There were some bird tracks, but it seemed highly unlikely a bird could have made such a pattern. 
I was very impressed with the design, maybe it was Aliens?
That's me standing there, and no, I didn't make the design with my ski pole.  I'm not that talented.
Thank goodness we don't have to shovel this.
 Joel has been kept very busy this winter clearing out Mom's driveway and ours.  The new snowblower has seen a lot of use.

Our garden is buried pretty well yet.  We've had a lot of rabbit traffic and I'm really glad we wrapped the apple trees with window screen and tree wrap to thwart them.  I forgot to wrap the 'Northern Glow' maple trees we just planted last fall, though, and I see we're going to pay a price.  The rabbits have the bark stripped almost all the way around many of the trunks.  Drat!  I hate that.  I should have realized the young trees would be tasty.   Carl and I went out and wrapped them up after the damage was done which is like locking the barn door after the cows are frolicking around the corn field. I hope at least one of the trunks pull through.

 Our little garden trailer and the Manley Wrecking Crane are still hibernating back by the windmill.
The dwarf conifers are nearly buried.

The Quarry Hill with all of it's massive rocks is under there, somewhere.
The dome is looking shorter, too.
Looks like the Aermotor is growing out of the cedar tree, doesn't it?

We've skied from one end of the farm to the other this winter, here we're heading into the sunset from the east.  

Some tracks made before ours.

Snow drifts are colorful, especially near sunset.

I always marvel at the shapes the drifts form, I couldn't recreate this sculpture if I tried.

The late winter sunsets have been beautiful this year, if only we could capture that majesty in stained glass.

We've had a few thaws here and there this winter, but for the most part, the snow has remained.  Usually by my birthday we have crocus blooming over the septic tank (I know, doesn't that sound poetic?) but this year there's no flowers yet.  (And the chickens have done a great job of digging holes in that area since it's the only slightly defrosted piece of mud for them to play in.)
I did a lot of skiing through the white pines in the Back Eight, too. 

Another random snowbank.  Bored yet?

The only noise to be heard is from an occasional snowmobile. 
The trail is on the adjoining farm land to ours.  Sometimes we ski on the trails, too. 
We did have a partial thaw this past week with rain which brought snowmobiling to an end for the time being.  I like to see them out and about enjoying the trails, though I've never driven one myself.  Even with the new snow that is falling tonight, I doubt the trails will reopen, but I could be wrong. The creeks all started running, but have now been covered with fresh snow again. 

After I ski at night, I usually go and get Pudding and Teddy and take them out for their evening walkies.  All the deep snow we've had spells trouble for walking my short-legged little dogs, so we take to the road most nights.

There's Teddy, wondering what's taking me so long to catch up. 
The dogs have to walk on a leash on the road, even though it is a fairly quiet side road.  They much prefer being able to romp and I do, too, but Safety First.  In the photo above we are about 3/4 of a mile from home which is on the other side of my mom's house pictured.

Our road, heading west.  The dogs are behind me.
As we walk along, I took a few pictures of more trees, this is the woods across the road from our house.

White pines on neighboring farm land.
Black walnut in Mom's yard planted in 1915 when my father was two years old.

More random trees along the road.
There's both dogs.  We're nearing the home stretch now.
"Hurry up, would you?"
Getting closer, and we're all cold.
There, we've made it back and it's just about dark.

About 2500 seeds to plant.
 Yes, I'm going to be sad to see winter go.  I did order my seeds and haven't even given planting any of them a thought yet.  It will be quite some time before we can get to the shed where we store the greenhouse.  But that's ok, spring will come soon enough.  I haven't got spring fever yet;  I'm having too much fun working on stained glass and don't want to quit.  Fresh snow gives me a good excuse to try to make one more lamp, right?  

(Here's a sneak peek at the Daffodil, waiting to be soldered.)  
Ok, maybe I do have a little spring fever.  Does this one scream SPRING or not?
Carl is going to be soldering this shade soon, and I'm hard at work on the next one, the 18" Wisteria, but we'll have to hurry since it's almost 2000 pieces.  Will we finish the big Wisteria before the snow melts?  Probably not.

Winter, I will miss you.  You were so much fun while you lasted.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Good morning dear Karen ~ This is a fabulous post. Thank you for allowing us to ski along with you. It is wonderful seeing your farm and surrounding areas covered in white and it does look oh so serene. I can see why you love it so much and being out in it.

Your daff stained glass piece is looking beautiful! I look forward to seeing the wisteria too.

Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

Junebug said...

Wow, is about all I can say. Your winter ski tour was wonderful, thanks for taking me along.Soon the excitement of Spring and planting will start! I love how you enjoy each season!!

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Karen!!! Breathtakingly stunning photos!!!

It is 23 degrees here with 1-3 inches of snow predicted so I don't think Winter is done with us here yet....


El Gaucho said...

It looks like a lovely time touring around the grounds on the skis, and I always enjoy your photos. I don't think winter is done with us by any means, we got another 3-4 inches yesterday and a Sunday/Monday event that sounds like a doozie is on the way.

I'm a bit jealous of your cross country skiing. This was the first year in a few that we've had enough snow to break out the skis, and I'm stuck inside with a bum knee. We're ready for you Spring!!!

Heather said...

I don't mind that it's not spring yet either... such lovely shots, and so many! Your stained glass is stunning, I love it! Cheers~

Alison said...

Great post, Karen! I really enjoyed it, not a bit bored, in fact, scrolling through excitedly wondering what the next wonderful, sunset-lit shot will be. The snow drifts are lovely, and you're right, what nature makes is pretty much unrepeatable by human hands.

I was interested to see all the seeds you've ordered from Park. I find them to be very stingy with their contents, for the price.

You should enter this in Les's Winter Walk-Off, from the blog A Tidewater Gardener.

Carol said...

Your world is beautiful. I can't image dealing with that much snow. The lamp is beautiful also. I haven't had the chance to get in my glass studio for over a year now, and i'm not too happy about that. Have a great day! Carol

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi Karen, I enjoyed these beautiful pictures of winter on the farm. It is so pretty there with all the snow and the beautiful trees and skies. I'm glad you like and enjoy winter but I'm going to be so glad to see spring weather come here. We don't have much snow right now but there's a storm on the way mid-week to make it all white again. Boo! Oh well, it's also spring on Wednesday and the robins can't be too far behind can't they? Those mysterious tracks in the snow are very interesting indeed. I love the daffodil lamp you're working on. Such gorgeous colours. Have a wonderful week! Pamela

Missy said...

From someone who never sees snow, I thoroughly enjoyed all of your photos. It's so beautiful and does look like fun as well.

Shirley said...

Karen, it's fun to see your skiing adventures and how you enjoy winter. How lovely to have stained glass flowers to enjoy all winter long!

Shyrlene said...

Nice 'walk about'! It feels like we were right there with you, just without the cross country skis! Loved the snow 'sculptures' - just gorgeous.

Your tree wrap, to protect your trees, etc has potential for my "bunny problem". I'll have to investigate that a bit further!