Spring Day In January

I know we may still have a blizzard to two this winter, but today was in the high fifties and I was outside with just a hooded sweatshirt.

img_6854

Here is one of several groups of crocuses that have emerged from the ground.  These are snow crocuses and have the smallest flowers.

img_6844

The mini daffodils are emerging along with weeds on the south side of the back fence.

img_6841

I checked on the praying mantis sac that I moved on to the fence behind the ornamental grass last fall.

img_6837

This kale looks like it will make it through the winter, though some of the stalks of kale look ready for the compost pile.

img_6842

Looking into the neighbor’s yard it looks like he has put out some lettuce, hoping to attract a female rabbit to make her home under his deck and give him some baby bunnies to watch.  Of course, this is the opposite of what I am hoping for as they tend to squeeze into our side of the fence where the food is more plentiful in the garden.  But I am glad my neighbor likes wildlife….

img_6817

The moss continues to spread through the rocks.

img_6815

I had to pause to look at these leave on a gaillardia plant.

img_6809

I have to admit that creeping Charlie is my worst garden enemy, and it seems to love this weather.  I can’t let it stress me out.

img_6859

Most of the year the rhubarb leaves are covering this stepping stone, but not today.  I did see a few real insects flying around this afternoon, but did not manager to get any photos.

img_6875

My rabbit loving neighbor feeds the birds as well, and the squirrel was taking advantage of the dropped seeds.

img_6781

Black-capped chickadee in the spice bush.

img_6865

Starlings on the utility line.

img_6776

I am throwing in a shot of a tufted titmouse I saw near the Little Red Schoolhouse on January 8th.

img_6788

I will end with a shot from Lake Katherine where three of us took a beautiful morning walk.

Frosty New Year’s Morning

Frosty New Year’s Morning

Happy New Year!  It was 20 degrees F. when we headed off for our walk this morning in the forest preserve.

img_6770

Our walk took us by Cranberry Slough, which we often cannot see from the trail because of the summer foliage.

img_6773

Walking a little further I zoomed in on what I think are two muskrat lodges, and we saw a few others that were not in this picture.  I also read about muskrat pushups, which are holes in the thin ice that the muskrats make, where they push up stems of pond plants.  The pushups provide places to safely eat and rest after an underwater swim. I am not sure if these are pushups or lodges.  Muskrats build with cattails, while beavers would build with sticks and trees.

img_6760

A view of Country Lane as we started our walk this morning around 8:15 am.  The snow has melted, though there are a few icy patches.

img_6767

There were some leaf-shaped holes in the icy puddle areas.  The leaf froze on the ice and then the ice probably thawed under the leaf first.

img_6765

Frosty moss on bridge overlooking frozen stream.

img_6758

Earlier this week the squirrel spend some time on our birdbath trying to get a drink through the ice…

img_6701

There was snow on the ground for most of December.  This shot was on 12/18.  The dwarf fothergilla bush looks good in the winter, showing off shape and shadows, as the snow glistens.

img_6706

A sunrise shot I took on the first day of winter.

Looking forward to witnessing the wonders of nature in 2017.