Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wind Song

Ahh, the winter of our discontent, as they say. The sky is cloudy and the air is biting. At the same time, the wind is singing a deep, throaty song as it rushes through the Chemung Valley. I don't know if it is coming off the bridges, or the frozen water, or if, maybe, it is playing the osprey pole like a reed.
The top of this part of the river is frozen, at least near the shore. The HuggaMutt is perfectly safe. Later on, she will break through in a little creek where we usually cross on the rocks. The rocks are inaccessible to me. She makes it, although she wets a paw in the process.
A surprise! Almost all of the thicket has been cleared, probably last week, before the cold snap. Is it for visibility, or simply to prevent overgrowth?
No matter. Ellie's loving it, and she's hunting like a true ground dog. Some little critter is challenging her, and she won't come to the call. I head back, blowing her whistle. Once she hears it, she cocks her head at me, barely visible. I whistle once more, and she comes running on her tiny legs, looking like the eensy powerhouse that she is.
Just before it clouds completely, the sun comes out for one last hurrah. And it's a beauty.

Little Pond

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter Flora in Mid January 2008

Remember: You can click on any photo for a much more detailed view. Especially you botanists; I'd like to know what some of the unidentified plants are.Ellie and I do not let the cold stop us. The wind chill is -3 F (approx. -20C). Of course a little dog is low to the ground, avoiding the worst of the gusts, especially down by the levees. We also cover her in clothes, enough to make her overheat in the house and car.
This view was mostly swamp last week. Right now Ellie and I can walk right down the middle of the flooded area.
Make no mistake, though; the Chemung River is not silent. The floes are forming dams, but the water still runs freely.
All the leaves are gone, now. Mid January is the time to watch for seed pods and fruit.
Never learned what these are called. I love them any time of the year!
Now these I hate. Cockleburs, I think. Right now, even as I compose, my flannel lined pants, and all Ellie's polar fleece, are in the wash, trying to divest themselves of these little buggers.
This is another year-round pleasure. They will hang on the trees right through the various seasons, waiting for a really strong storm to carry them.