Ok, so a few weeks ago I was dreaming about lupines in the summer... now it is the New Year of 2010! So...Happy New Year!
I spent a few days in the woods taking in the quiet surrounds and the snow covered landscape. On New Year's morning, I woke up to this lovely sight...
This is apparently a Barred Owl! Stands about 40 to 50 cm tall and wing spans stretch out to about 110 to 120 cm in length. It is a marvel for me to understand how such a large bird can land on a 3/8th inch diameter re-bar and perch there for a few minutes. When I first took his picture I was not sure what type of owl it was. When I got home I was able to identify him and as I read on, I discovered he has probably been living in the area for a number of years and he is the equivalent to having a neighborhood cat living in the yard!
Anyway, the next picture is showing what Nature does best...an arrangement of hills in the distance and placement of trees....followed by a nice winding road.
Believe it or not, these roads are much easier to drive on than a snow covered road in the city mixed with road salt! The sand mixes in with the snow and combines with cold air to make the tires actually grip to the snow... and it is pollution free!
This last picture is an American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
A baby Beech...or sapling coming up from a maturing forest in the background. These trees develop a smooth bark with a very long and straight trunk. They have an interesting form and in winter they hold their leaves as you see in the picture. The larger trees can add a nice look to a bare winter backdrop of trees.