The days have been cold, the nights colder. -2 F was the lowest, at night. 7 F the highest, during the day. And yes, those temperatures keep us indoors, for the most part.
These pictures were taken on days when it wasn’t so cold. The top one is from Linn Run State Park in PA. I am guessing the high was 21 that day… it was also snowing. And it was also FUN! We kept warm with layers of smart wool, hats, gloves, lambs wool lined boots… we were prepared.
The lower image is from New Germany State Park after XC skiing. It’s a beautiful park, 40 minutes from our home. Lucky lucky us.
I love seeing reflections in icicles. Icicles, really… well, they may not be large ones, but by definition they are frozen drips of water, so yes… icicles. The last image is of the outer edge of the icicle, I was surprised to see the actual layers of the frozen water.
Thanksgiving Day… yep, we went to DC on Thanksgiving Day. It was a beautiful day and not crowded at all! We parked on the street right next to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and started our day. These are a few pictures of the Washington Monument.
It’s hard to believe that Texas was once covered by water. The Glen Rose formation was deposited during the periodic retreat and advancement of a large shallow sea, which may be considered the ancient gulf of Mexico. The deposits represent low subtidal to supratidal environments and typically exhibits alternating beds of hard limestone and softer marl (limy clays and shales). (source: the internet)
As my husband I were enjoying a day at the lake (Lake Travis, Austin) we discovered many fossils. The fossil in this image is approximately 110 million years old. Hard to believe I can hold something in my hand that is that old! Amazing.
Here are a few Lake Travis facts taken from the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) website:
Lake area: 19,297 acres
Elevation when full: 681 feet above mean sea level (msl)
Historic high: 710.44 feet above msl on Dec. 25, 1991
Historic low: 614.18 feet above msl on Aug. 14, 1951
Target operating range: at or below 681 feet above msl
Today: 639 above msl
100-year flood level: 722 feet above msl
Mansfield Dam Spillway: 714 feet above msl
Public Boat Ramps: 11 are located on Lake Travis, only one boat ramp remains open today and will close ate 632 msl.
Today has been an exciting day around my house. As I drank my morning coffee on the patio, I noticed the baby cardinal standing on the edge of its nest. I could see the baby cardinal without binoculars! It has grown, after all it is nine days old now. I managed to get a few pictures early in the morning. I am glad I did, because around 10am, he decided to fly out of the nest. Baby didn’t go far, just into the rose bushes near the lemon tree his/her nest has been in. Baby fluttered around for a few hours in the rose-bush while Mom and Dad feed him/her. Mom and Dad have been by its side all day. As I type baby is on the roof, sitting under an oak tree, while Mom and Dad are chirping away in the tree above.
The pictures are from today, nine days old. Two of baby, one of baby and Dad, and two of squirrels, they are siblings. I have never seen squirrels lie this way, it’s a bit strange and humorous.
Recently we took a trip, to Louisiana. First stop, Lafayette. Shortly after we arrived we went out to dinner, to a local restaurant that does not rush anyone! It was so nice to eat and drink and eat and drink and… well, you get the picture. We had a nice beginning to our visit with our friends. Next day, off to New Orleans. The pictures below are from New Orleans, all from a local cemetery. I still feel a bit strange posting pictures from a cemetery, but there was something so peaceful about that day. Not just the cemetery, but we drove around the 9th Ward (where the levee broke during hurricane Katrina) and saw some very, well- depressing sites. BUT (it’s nice to have a but here :), every person we saw, whether walking down the street, sitting on their porch, working on a house or passing us in a car waved at us! Some even said hello.
We also went to a Mardi Gras Ball… more on that later ( quite the educational weekend).
The title was meant to be humorous. The bee is flying away in the picture, I guess he didn’t feel like being photographed. Silly little bee.
In actuality, it’s a very serious title. Did you know bees are disappearing? Since 2006 bee colonies have been on the decline, and not just by a small amount. Yes, we want honey to sweeten our hot tea, but there is so much more. We NEED bees. The way bees pollinate is very complex, so complex in fact that it has not been duplicated by scientist- not for lack of trying. Follow the link for a bit more info.
As for the picture, I actually like it. At first I was not sure about posting it, but I like how the bee is disappearing, moving on to the next blossom.
So many tomatoes! What to do with them all?
This roasted tomato recipe called for one pound of tomatoes, I used two. I also used two more pounds to make as a topping for risotto. Now I only have six pounds left, not to mention the ripe tomatoes on my plants waiting to come inside. Believe me, this is not a complaint- really! There is such satisfaction picking fresh food from your own garden, especially as we learn more about pesticide usage on produce. Before production- yep, the seeds, during production- as produce grows (did you know the use of 30+ ( http://newhope360.com/blog/some-unapproved-pesticides-your-cilantro-30-plus-usda-testing) different pesticides are used on parsley and cilantro), and after production-chemicals pumped into a trucks cargo area during transport to help ripen the produce, or how about organic grapes from other countries- by law they are sprayed with a pesticide upon entering the US- where’s that label?- it’s really all pretty amazing.
Oh my, if I am not already ranting – I’m about to!
Back to my original thoughts; tomatoes. A person would only assume I love tomatoes, I grow them by the bushel (I am guessing), I cook them or use them in salads everyday-well, I can say I like ketchup. Does that count? The tomato consumption around here is done by my husband and my mother when she comes for a visit.
Looks like it’s time to start making ketchup!
Lately there has been a lot of seaweed on the stretch of beach we gravitate toward. Luckily it was low tide and we could relax near the water. The bottom picture shows a line of red, the seaweed washed up by high tide. On the more populated beaches the city/county rakes the seaweed away, but I will take the seaweed and quiet over the other.
My plan: Photograph a Yellow Oriole.
I began my search around 8am for this bright little yellow bird. I did see birds, but the Yellow Oriole was no where in sight. As I search for the bird, I noticed I was surrounded by sage bushes, all of which had dropped their purple flowers a week prior to my arrival, how sad that I missed it I thought. Mixed in with the sage I began to see a vibrant magenta color, so I walked into the fields and found small yellow flowers, even smaller purple flowers, sweet soft white flowers and this prickly pear cactus. Although the blossoms were gone, the prickly pears fruit, cactus figs, remained.
I started this journey with narrowly opened eyes, but as I wandered my eyes opened. We go through life seeing what we want to see, each of us interpret our surroundings differently, whether those surroundings are full of people or nature. I am thankful for my ‘open eyes’.
“Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that.” Erich Heller