Wednesday, February 20, 2013


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You may have noticed that I haven't had much to say in the past week. I've been struggling with writing blog posts for whatever reason. I've started three different post and just abandoned them.

The weather has not been very conducive to getting out of the house. Over the weekend we had a nasty, cold, biting wind and being outside for any time past five minutes was no fun. It's hard to walk the dogs right now since there is so much salt on our street that the crystals act like little ball bearings and I'm afraid I will fall if the dogs pull hard on their leashes. We've had a couple of tiny "snows" again that just coat everything. Yesterday we had a mix of snow and rain which turned in to a gentle rain for most of the day. Even the rain could not wash away what we still have left on the ground from our snowfall of twelve inches.

Winter starts to look downright ugly about this time. The snow that is left is dirty and hard. Days without grayness are hard to come by. I'm ready for spring!

With Rick in Florida on a business trip until Thursday I am left to my own devices. I do things like watch movies I've been wanting to see again. Like Out of Africa …  I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. That opening line alone can start me to sniffling. There are so many wonderful lines in this movie that I was almost tempted to sit with a pad of paper and write them down. The soundtrack by John Barry is so suited to the sweeping vistas of the African veldt. Just beautiful. It makes me cry too. So why do I watch? Because it's worth it.

Yesterday the wind was not blowing and the temperature was decent (high 30's) and knowing that rain was moving in later that afternoon I decided to go to Skylands for a walk. I don't know why but I decided to walk the two loops that are about 3 miles versus the one lower loop that I usually take, which is only a little over a mile. Silly me.

The sky was gray and stippled when I started out.


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But look! These bushes think spring is on the way! Maybe they know something we don't. I don't know what they are, do you? 

Added Later: I found out they are witch hazel bushes and always bloom in February amid the snow!

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About halfway through my walk I started to see little tiny snow pellets drifting down. Hmm, I thought myself, what's that all about? It was only noon and we weren't supposed to get any precipitation until later. 

As I walked along I heard the unmistakeable thunk, thunk, thunk of a large woodpecker working away. Pileated! Sure enough, there he was high in a tree. He had a huge hole!

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He didn't care that I was right underneath him at all. He could not decide whether to work on his really big hole or the two other ones on the other side of the tree that he had started. By this time the tiny little snow pellets had turned to big, fat, wet flakes. I hurriedly took a few photos of him before walking on.

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Soon the flakes were coming down in sideways sheets and I was not close to the car. I walked as fast as I could with my hood up and my camera zipped into my jacket, making it look like I had a big tummy. Why oh why did I choose to walk both loops? Thank goodness I had worn a jacket with a hood!

With  no harm done I was back at the car and on my way home from my wet walk. It was good to get out but I should have gone on a different day!


(top photo: Through the Window of the Gatehouse)

Note: After I got home and got a look at this pileated woodpecker he looks odd to me. His markings are off I think. His face is very white! Too white. Strange …


Nice shot of Pileated!

We were in the 40s yesterday and then rain.  A few sprinkles by late afternoon, but then last night it really poured!  Thought sure all the snow would be gone when I got up this morning, but not so.  A few places where the snow is all gone, but the big piles are still there - just not quite as big.  I cry watching Out of Africa too!!!

Thanks, hon!

C, yeah but do you cry even as the opening credits start to roll? wink

I love to look at your photo’s from the gardens and try to figure out where you are.  smile

So, Maggie, did you figure all the photos out?

“Out of Africa” is one of my favorite movies. I love the passage about the children playing a game with her name in it, and the African new moon lying on her back. One of the most beautiful passages in literature, I think. And yes, it makes me cry. (Maybe because I DID live in Africa, though not in Kenya—and not in so grand a style!)

The music is perfect. And that scene where they fly in Denis’ plane over Lake Turkana and the flamingoes part—unbelievable!

Ok, now I have to watch it again.

The pileated looks right to me. I think it’s a male, with those red patches on the cheeks. Maybe he’s a juvenile?

Steve, yes, yes, yes! So many beautiful lines. There is also another one about the shadow on the drive taking her shape. And when they are on safari and he is washing her hair-gasp-so subliminally sexy. I cry through that all scene of them in the plane because the music is so beautiful. With all those tears it’s a wonder I can even see to watch the movie!

Yes, I think the pileated is a male but he should have more black striping on the cheeks. (At least compared to my other pileated photos.) He just looks odd to me, or maybe it’s just me!

Lynne - I’m with you on all but the tree with the woodpecker…  Re:  Out of Africa… you’re making me want to rewatch it… I don’t remember thinking it was all that wonderful, but it was a long time ago.  Must put it on my netflix queue.

Maggie, it could be any tree, right? It’s across from the swampy area on the bottom loop it that helps any. wink Re: Out of Africa, you might not agree with my obsession for this movie but it’s the story (and really a love story), the will of Karen Blixen and what a strong person she must have been, the musical score, the scenery. I could go on and on ... just watch it again!

Love your Skylands photos, especially the opening one.

Maybe the woodpecker is old?????!! Thus the extra white on his head? HA.

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