Valentine Rose

Every Saturday morning Dan and I go to the Dunkin’ Donuts in Worth, IL, for coffee, tea and conversation.  This week the staff surprised us on Valentine’s Day with a beautiful red rose.  While we were sitting there I did not see them giving roses to anyone else.  Maybe it is because we are a couple that comes there each week.  When we went out to the car I hid it in my jacket to protect it from the blowing snow and wind chill of -4F.  Thank you Dunkin’ Donuts!

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Valentine’s Day Rose

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Rose next to Ojiisan and Obaasan, the apple picking grandparents that came to me from my mother.

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Outside some moss started to brighten up as the snow melted.  I think the specks of wood are from the maple tree being sawed down and spewing saw dust everywhere.

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In the backyard I could see squirrel foot prints coming down from the crabapple tree trunk and hopping over to the oak tree.  The morning shadows are from the yew bushes.

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Up in the crabapple tree the robin tasted a few crabapples and then flew away.  It was fun to see a robin in the yard again.

I wish you could smell the wonderful fragrance of the rose today!

Little Red Schoolhouse Trail in Winter

The weather warmed up to almost 40 degrees so Dan, Stephanie and I went out to the Little Red Schoolhouse in the forest preserve.  Stephanie had not visited in over 10 years, so she looked at the turtles, fish and snakes in various tanks and displays, as well as the taxidermied squirrels, geese, etc.  Then we headed out for a snowy walk.

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We stopped at the little shelter where you can get close to the lake and looked out one of the windows.  Of course the lake is frozen now, though when it thaws there are a lot of carp swimming around just below this window, hoping we will drop in some food.

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It was almost 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so a good day for a walk.  When we stood still we could hear the birds chattering, but I did not manage to get any pictures of the woodpecker and nuthatch that I saw.  On a hill in the distance are a lot of beehives covered with snow.

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The paths were a bit of a slog, but we were not in a hurry and did not walk the whole trail.  The boots helped.  Today when we walked at Lake Katherine the path was completely icy, so we had to walk off the path in the deeper snow to keep from slipping.

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All three of us had cameras and we had a great time taking pictures of whatever interested us.

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Dan was shocked to see what looked like a mosquito!  I looked it up on Google and I think it is a winter crane fly.  It does not have the blood sucking habit of mosquitoes, I don’t think.  I think they emerge when the temperature gets around 40 degrees.

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This week I got another really interesting book from the library.  Escape from Camp 14 is about North Korea – another cold place.  It makes me so thankful for plentiful food and a warm jacket and boots, among other things.

Sunny Snow Day

19 inches of snow in this storm has meant a lot of shoveling for us.  Thankfully our neighbor used his snow blower three times in about 30 hours, which helped a ton.

Still the beauty of the clean snow on a sunny day is cheery, and I might have even gotten a little color on my face from the glare of the sun, just from shoveling this afternoon.

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As the sun came up today the snow was on all the tree branches, especially noticeable on the mulberry back by the gate.  The yew shrubs were brushed off once yesterday, when we only had about 5 inches, but now they are half buried.  Some of the viburnum branches are bent to the ground and I wonder if they will break.

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Snow on mulberry branches and fence.

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The neighbor’s evergreens were heavily laden with snow.

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At this point most of the snow had fallen from the chinquapin oak branches.  The sky was so fantastically blue.  The shadows were such a strong contrast on the white snow.  The bird bath held its head above the snow.

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A little earlier in the day the sun was just starting to come into the yard.  I noticed a sparrow sticking its head in the bird house.  The birds were trying to find new places to huddle on this cold morning, since the viburnums were now completely under the snow.

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The snow on this little tiny imitation bird house caught my eye.  A sparrow decided to pause on the snow on top of the fence.

I worked from home today, though my son’s work was cancelled so he was home.  Everyone should be back to work and school tomorrow, and maybe they will come and pick up our garbage.  Another 1 – 3 inches of snow are expected in the afternoon.  But by Saturday it looks like things might warm up!

Blizzard – February Rolls In

I am guessing that we have had around a foot of snow since last night.  As of a few minutes ago we are officially in “blizzard” status, rather than just a snow storm.  That means that the winds have picked up and will be blowing the snow around.

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It’s Sunday, so a good day to enjoy the weather from inside and then sally forth to shovel now and then.

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The snow on the branches highlights the trees’ architecture.

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Zooming back out from the last picture, our neighbor is helping us out with the snow blower for the second time today.  In the meantime, my son and I cleaned off the cars and shoveled for an hour this morning.  The snow is so wet that it is good to take it in stages and not let it get too high before tackling it.

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I have been trying to shake off the evergreens to keep the branches from breaking, but the snow piles right on again.  This is the arborvitae by the front door.

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One of the best ways to estimate the snowfall is to look at the bird bath.  This picture was taken a few hours ago.  I feel like we have the shoveling under control, so now time to just enjoy the snow day!

Today’s entertainment:

Watching an episode of “Nature” about penguins at the post office in Antarctica.  And finding out more about the atrocities that happened in Sri Lanka in the book below.

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How can I complain when comparing my situation to the struggles of so many others in the world?