The last month has been particularly brutal. It may be age, but it has been difficult to get warm enough, and for the first time in memory, I've been thinking how much better the hot weather will feel. Everyone is different, and generally I prefer the cold. I like to think it preserves me.
This weekend brought a couple of lovely days in the 50's. Brilliant blue skies, and fresh air were just impossible to resist. We had mountains of work to do, and most of it got done (or will in time). The magazine will be shipped tomorrow. We weighed 19 batches of soap, and the fats were darned near frozen! We need to find a way to store the pallets in a warm place. It is amazing how hard frozen fat can be.... We pulled and started wrapping a couple of wholesale orders, and I even put some work into the word puzzle book while unwinding during the evenings.
BUT - if you know me, you know that the gift of a warm day in the middle of a nasty winter will not be squandered if there is any way to enjoy it. Into the woods I went. Too bad I didn't take a picture of my sneakers! Come on! Let's go :-)
There is still ice on the pond that leads to the path into the woods. It is starting to melt and there are places on the tip of the ice's surface that send out cracks where it is weak and getting ready to break apart. I wonder if that is because it is deeper there.The path winds along beside the creek. There is a wee bit of ice clinging to the edges of the creekbed, and almost nothing is green save for the chickweed and garlic mustard. Occasionally there are some emerald ovals of honeysuckle or a random rosehip. There are many, many deer in the area, so they've picked the briars clean. We will be planting more food this spring in the form of native shrubs. This log (and ONLY this log) was covered with these little puffball/galls or something. I assume they were a fungus of some sort. This was across the creek from me and there wasn't a good access nearby to cross without getting soaked. At this time of the year, the textures of the trees are really striking. There is a good bit of diversity in the woods, and at least 10 varieties are represented. Probably more, but I haven't really thought to count them in the summer. Hmmm... there's a project. It isn't as noticeable in the spring and summer when we are busier looking at the lush greenery. Now, in the starkness of winter, the beauty of the barks is clearer.I leaned up against a tree and looked up. The wind had all of the trees swaying and it was hypnotic. After a while, I realized that many of the trunks in the thinner trees were also swaying - and the ground is very soggy. That was a bit unnerving!This prehistoric looking, shield-shaped creature is a stinkbug. They are one of the most prevalent (ok - aside from the flies!) bugs around, and they just want IN my house. A live one plopped onto my stove the other night from heaven knows where. I've never seen one in this color stage before. They are typically the color of the dry leaves surrounding this one. Grayish brown. They really look un-real to me when they are older... like transformers or armored tanks with legs. At least this one looks like a bug.Upon my return, these chickens were somewhat indignant to be disturbed. They gave me a good talking to as I entered the shop to continue with the weighing of the fats. They like to dig shallow indentations right up against the foundation to stay warm, and the sun hits that side of the shop all day long.Later, the moon rose as I was finishing up dinner on the grill. This shot is deceptively dark. It was still very light out, and directly behind me on a level with the moon, was the sun. It was a beautiful end to a spectacular day.