Last night I was awakened by a sound that once I realized what it was, made me smile as I lay in the dark. I strained to hear it over the little babe's breathing next to my head. After several minutes, I wanted to see if I could hear it better so I entered the main house. Immediately the sound was drowned out by the drone of the refrigerator. I walked through the laundry room to the cat room, which is closest to the corner of the yard where I thought the noise was coming from. It was about 1 am, the sky facing town was a pale mauve color, and the world was - to use the quaint description - a winter wonderland. The temps had dropped enough so that heavy wet snow had fallen, sticking to everything in sight - fence tops, individual strands of chicken wire, pushing down the bushes and tree branches. I wished I could step outside, but I was afraid that opening the door would cause the sound to stop, plus the dogs would wake up. So I returned to bed, to the quiet room, and just listened. I wondered where exactly it was coming from, since we had to take down two peach trees and a pine this past year, leaving only a holly on that side of the house. Maybe it was farther away than it sounded or maybe I had the direction all wrong. It continued for about half an hour, the same rhythmic pattern repeated over and over with slight variations. I counted the beats on my fingers so that I would remember the rhythm; most times it was 8 beats, sometimes 6. And then it stopped. And I lay in bed wondering if it was alone, if it was listening to the rustle of mice in our shed, if it lived in the wide stretch of woods down the road, and why it had ventured amongst the houses.
I've been doing some reading lately about nature, silence, and sounds. During the day, the sounds of the suburbs are constant around here. But at night, at least last night, I heard only one passing car, my little babe's breathing, and the owl. It was a good night.
Click hear to hear the sound: Great Horned Owl
Snow. More than a couple of inches. I don't know how much exactly because I don't listen to the weather reports and I don't really care. It is more than enough for skiing and it required me to dig a path through the yard for the Corgis. The best snowfall of the season (some would say the worst) and it will be the last for the year. I'm glad I'm not old enough to be a snow curmudgeon yet.
I am not a fan of random picture posts. I feel like there in no point in sharing a post if I can't put together something coherent. But I do have an excuse. The little babe (who is not that little any more - 4 1/2 years), now only naps about twice a week. And so that means I have absolutely no time to sit in front of a computer. As it should be. I'm not truly complaining about it, but in a way I am, which I don't like. I get 15 minutes while I eat breakfast to check email and then maybe a 10 minute check in the afternoon. Other than that, whenever I sit down to do any "work" the little babe seems to amp up the "Mom, pay attention to me" factor. I then feel guilty and slam the computer shut. For really, I don't have actual work to do on the computer. So it seems I am down to a once a week post on Tuesdays. Here are random shots of what I was doing this week other than sitting in front of a screen.
Interactive play that involves costumes of all sorts. (And pet hair of all sorts too.)
Trying to capture the most handsome Romanian dog lying calmly on the deck while the snow falls down upon him. He hates having his picture taken.
Giving it one last shot (so I thought!) to ski with the little babe. The temp was just around freezing and the snow was too sticky, so I had to give up and carry them out. This did not affect the little babe's enjoyment (or position on the sled).
Whacking up the last longneck squash. It lasted almost until Spring - there was one quarter sized spot that I needed to cut out.
Enjoying the luxury of a snowy mid-morning in the woods, not seeing another soul.
I am not at work somewhere in the "outside world" because I chose to spend my days with the little babe. I have a greater appreciation for nature because of her. I learn something new every day while I learn about the world with her. So if I only have time to share one post this week, I'll use this to say that I am truly thankful to have a little babe who demands my attention and forces me to live life instead of documenting it.
What are you thankful for today?
A new adventure place, only 10 minutes from home. Blocked from a semi-busy road by a row of trees, yet feeling like we were in our own forest world. Two plots of fir trees and the surprising discovery of a grove of American Chestnut trees, managed by the state for some reason. Two small "ponds", simply depressions filled with a couple inches of water that was frozen over, enough for the little babe to go "fishing". Active animal burrows, the beautiful remains of a large bird, a tiny bird's nest, tracks in the remaining patches of snow, and milkweed seeds to throw to the wind. The little babe had wanted a playground; I chose this place. We both declared it was a good day.
Friday night was a full moon and the little babe decided that it was a nice night for a ski. So despite having already pulled her around the woods for 2 hours earlier in the day, I donned head lamp and suited up again, this time with her father along to join us. The temp was just below freezing and the sky was cloudy. We started off heading west, but as we turned north we saw the rising full moon glowing yellow above and behind a stack of clouds on our right. It was visible for about 15 minutes and then the clouds hid it from view. After declaring that the moon was glorious, the little babe laid face down on the sled and later told me that she fell asleep. I'm not quite sure if I believe that, though it was a no-nap day and the slush-slush of the skis and sled on snow might have lulled her to sleep for a couple of minutes.
Pictures from our adventure earlier in the day. They're not the best because I was stuck in my ski bindings and blinded by the glare of the sun.
February: The Snow Moon.
"Snow falls all day into the night snuggling the world in downy white. Old Man Moon hides his face behind a curtain of winter's lace."
From When The Moon Is Full: A Lunar Year by Penny Pollock and illustrated by Mary Azarian. A beautiful book in words and pictures.
For the past several weeks, there have been mice (otherwise known as my husband) leaving notes around our house. They have been giving us clues about an upcoming trip, which was a surprise for both the little babe and myself. I was content not to know, but when the notes started mentioning things like sleeping bags, snow, and having to haul our gear in by sled, I got a bit anxious curious. I also happened to spy an email subject line on my husband's computer and so had a good hunch, but I couldn't put it all together. What it turned out to be was a fantastic quick trip to Vermont and Maine and yes, we did sleep in sleeping bags, trudge through snow, and haul our gear by sled (and head lamp) into our tiny house Airbnb. We also did this.
(Other participant's baskets above.)
We attended a pack basket making workshop at Lazy Mill Living Arts in Stannard, Vermont. We had a great time with awesome people in a beautiful snowy setting AND we came home with two handmade baskets. My husband's basket has a much nicer shape than mine, but mine will hold a lot - maybe even the little babe!
After the workshop ended on Sunday, we headed through the White Mountains to western Maine and spent the night in the Crooked River Tiny House. We arrived after dark and not sure how far we had to haul our gear through the snow. Luckily it was not that far and the little house warmed up quickly, so much that we even slept with a window open during the single digit Maine night. The next morning we explored the property along the river, spotted turkey and mouse tracks (yes, mouse, not moose), and walked back on the frozen river.
We then headed over to our favorite beach to see what it is like in February.
The funny part is that we went North looking for a "real winter" and we did find it, but then two days after returning home, we woke up to a surprising winter wonderland - 5 inches of heavy snow. I had a fantastic trip, but it feels good to be home and back in our woods, especially on skis!
Today I am thankful for...
~space to wander, wonder, and explore. Even though it was just a bit more than a dusting of snow, the little babe declared that it was enough for the sled. So she got herself situated, dragging stick in hand, and I hooked up the beast of burden to the sled. No, not the Corgi, the Momma. It was a rough pull and bumpy ride over the rocky parts, but the pulling wasn't bad on the smooth leafy trail. Through the woods, to the field, and loop back around. With my walking stick in hand and little babe chattering to herself in the sled behind me, I enjoyed the meditative exercise. Stick down, step, step, stick down, step, step, slush, slush, slush. I love these woods and hope the little babe is learning to love them too.
What are you thankful for today?
Oh, silly us. Since the temps have been well above freezing for the past two weeks, we thought that we'd head out to the lake for a foggy morning paddle. We loaded the life jackets and paddles into the back of the car and drove through dense fog up and over the mountain. As we approached the lake in almost 50 degree temps, it looked like we were out of luck. I asked if maybe we could break through, ice breaker style. Responding to my question from atop several inches of ice, my husband said the answer was a definite no.
The lake was still definitely frozen. So instead of paddling, we walked along the shore and headed into the woods. When we first arrived, we could see two pairs of Snow Geese sitting on the ice. Several minutes later, the entire lake was hidden by fog. Water droplets clung to everything and it was beautiful.
Along the path in the woods, we discovered that turkey tail mushrooms are flourishing in the wet and warm weather. Their scientific names, Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor, mean "of several colors" and indeed, we found some very colorful specimens.
We didn't get to paddle, but it still was a great morning. I'm hoping that the snow sled that remains in the back of the car will see more use before the life jackets and paddles.
Copyright 2013 - 2015 Katie Krahn Goble.