It is a rainy Independence Day.
So, my pictures today were limited to what I could see from the shelter of indoors.
From the living room window, I took several pictures this afternoon. Afterwards, when reviewing the pictures, I realized that the subjects were the colors of the American flag.
Yesterday, we had sun and rain. It was alternately rainy and sunny today, but we also had sun while it was raining.
The day started with rain and ended with rain. Thunder and lightning kept me indoors during the rainstorms, but I did get a chance to spend a little time weeding a flower bed during the sunny part of morning.
My dog, who likes to sunbathe, let me know it was time for us to go in when it clouded over. Within a few minutes, it started to pour again.
Empty hosta seed pods mark the spot where the plant will emerge in Spring.
Snow lends mystery a gate.
Unoccupied by birds, snow crept into the opening of this gourd shaped bird house.
Morning sun kissed the snow topped of the azalea bushes…
and highlighted the branches of trees with the trunks still in shadow giving the trees an odd appearance.
Then the sun set…
giving the snow a blush of pink.
Did you know there really is such a thing as pink snow and other colored snow?
The forecast was for rain today and maybe some snow this evening. It has been snowing all day. It was beatiful at first. Big snowflakes.
But it is a wet snow, the kind that weighs down and breaks bushes. There is at least an inch and a half of slush on the patio and front walk. And then there is the occasional thunder to remind me that it is not a typical snow storm.
I spent almost an hour beating (gently) slushy, wet snow off about 200 bushes in the yard, trying to save them being broken by the weight of the heavy snow. Unfortunately, some of bushes already had broken branches. Hopefully, a little pruning and spring growth will hide most of it.
It has been gusty at times, so large clumps of wet snow kept dropping on me and tree branches kept dropping around me. By the time I was ready to quit, what was not covered by my rain coat, was soaked including gloves (second pair), pants, sock and shoes. Clearing the bushes of heavy, wet snow was quite a workout, but I stayed warm from the vigorous activity inspite of being wet. Now, I am glad to be indoors for the remainder of the day, pursuing another interest: quilting. I can enjoy watching the snowfall from my sewing room while I finish a couple quilts knowing that I saved a few bushes from destruction.
Fog is an infrequent occurrence around here. When I see fog, I grab my camera and head outside to take pictures. Fog lends an air of mystery to a picture without my having to try.
It has a way of lightening and softening the background of a picture so that the subject in the forground becomes the focus without much competition from a busy background. This little dwarf Japanese maple tree is usually barely noticeable during the winter months without its green canopy of lacey leaves.
It was still a tricky picture to take because the slope of the yard goes one way and the trees lean one way or the other, with none in view being truly vertical. So, when trying to level the camera, my eyes were trying to tell me to align the horizontal with either the slope of the yard or the vertical with the taller trees.
This charming little bush, with its contorted branches, is a Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick and is classified as a shrub or tree. This one is only about three feet tall and still too small for anyone to seriously consider it a tree. Like many plants it has several common names- Corkscrew Hazel, Contorted Filbert, Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick and a botanical name- Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’.
I wondered who Harry Lauder was to have a shrub/tree named after him. From my internet search, I discovered that he is an interesting an person. He was a coal miner who sang while he worked and later became a professional singer and the first British artiste to sell a million records and he was often seen with a crooked walking stick. To listen to these early recordings of Harry Lauder, use the link Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project in the sidebar.
In all three of these pictures, the Hickory tree shows up either in the background or in this case as the subject. It has a dramatic lean of its trunk towards the house with most of its limbs counterbalancing by leaning the opposite direction. It has the shortest leafing season of all the trees in the yard by being the first to lose its leaves in autumn and the last to leaf out in spring. Some years we have a bumper crop of nuts from the tree and sometimes none.
Our first snow of winter came yesterday at the end of days of rain. Starting in the evening and ending before morning, it left a thin, but heavy coating of slushy snow.
This charming birdhouse is waiting for nesters. Only a couple weeks ago, bluebirds were checking it out. Hopefully, they will return to nest. The grape vine wreath was made from trimmings of an overgrown grapevine in our yard. The wreath found a resting spot here after the holidays were over and it was stripped of the wilted greens that adorned it.
Eastern Toehee birds are regular visitors in our yard since we put out bird seed in the winter months. They have a distinctive call that sounds just like their name.
To really appreciate a garden’s beauty, sometimes it is neccesary to change perspective. Here, my view of the lower path in the front yard is from the ground level.
Looking West is one of my favorite views from our yard as the trees frame the sky nicely. This is my view of sunsets, but on this day it was morning fog obscuring the sky and softening the background that caught my attention.
The Rhododendrons are preparing for Spring, just as I am trying to prepare the garden for Spring too.