Going Out Anyway

This was our weekend: grey and featureless.

But with Saturday above freezing (barely) and today in the 20s, it was practically warm out. So even though it was kind of ugly, we went out anyway. We took Petey on a 3-mile off leash hike on Saturday, and I’m happy to report that it was almost entirely pain-free for me. At the very end I stepped over a snow bank and had a twinge, but I’m still counting it as a success. I’m sure it’s the tape; I’ve been doing my exercises diligently, but I don’t expect miracles overnight ;)

forked river

The hike yesterday wasn’t very picturesque, and good thing since I brought neither my camera nor my phone. Even so, the fresh air and movement was so good for my soul. Getting out again really takes that negative edge off things.

Rapid River bridge

More good news: the road crews sanded/salted our road the other day, but we’ve had enough fresh snow to dilute it, so Petey and I enjoyed a good walk this morning. It’s my favorite way to start the day, and as long as his feet don’t hurt, it’s Petey’s favorite too.

And since the temperature was still so temperate this afternoon (18F), Tony and I drove over the hill down to the river – to Seven Bridges Natural Area we go’ed. Okay, I’ll stop singing now ;) Despite the flat lighting, I took my camera and tripod and made some new images while Tony and Petey meandered. I’m feeling revitalized and ready for the week, which is good, because ready-or-not-here-it-comes!
bridge over Rapid River

Since people so often comment on how majestic Petey looks, I figure I’ll share this dorky photo that I posted on FB on Friday. This little nerd prays at the altar of the fireplace god until he’s so hot that he pants. Does he get up because he is hot? He does not. Mostly, he just pants with his goofy smiley face on.

I hope your week is so good that it makes you smile like this guy:

Appreciating Snow…and Rain

This time of year is difficult for me. I’m an outdoors girl – I think we all know that by now – and it is tough to get in enough nature time. I’m not a morning person, but that matters less and less, since the sun isn’t a morning person right now either. Or an evening person. With a sunrise around 8:00 a.m. and sunset around 5:00 p.m. there just isn’t much day in the day.

So the other day, when the sun peaked out for a bit during the morning hours, I went traipsing about.
snowy path

I stopped just over the hill at the Seven Bridges Natural Area, where I was the first person to walk the snowy trails. There were some old footprints that had been covered in several inches of fresh snow, but that day it was just me and talkative river.
snowy bridge

Nature seems so desolate in November, void of color, but full of detritus. A girl can become downright depressed. In some ways, then, we’ve been blessed by the early heavy snows.
Snowy Rapid River blog
Snowy Bridge Smooth Water-blog

Winter will likely again feel too long this year, but the snow adds a cheerful touch for which I’m thankful.
snowy country barn

It decorates the remains of fall’s bounty, turning mundane sights into special, short-lived vignettes.
santa hats-3
Snowy Red Berries-blog

Yes, I am thankful for the snow, but I am also grateful for the past two days of rain that have melted most of it. It’s dreary as dreary out, but November is awfully early to be contemplating where to stack the snow from the driveway.
red at night


Between storms yesterday afternoon, we took Petey on a couple of small adventures to nearby natural sites. We stopped first at the Seven Bridges Natural Area. It’s been over a month since I visited, and I am always surprised at the differences. Mounds of goldenrod, asters, and ragweed – of course – surround the entrance. My last visit (which I somehow missed blogging about), the area was heaped in marsh marigolds. And whereas the pasture out back was verdant and dew-coated, yesterday it was crackly and brown. Different, but still lovely.

After meandering in the meadows and splashing in the river, we hopped down the road a few miles to Rugg Pond. It’s one of my favorite places around here in the fall. Friendly trumpeter swans always float gracefully nearby (there, but not pictured), and the hardwoods surrounding the water blush all shades of beautiful. If you look closely in the photos below, you can see the tips of the oaks doing just that.

We hiked along the pond’s edge and back into the woods under skies that couldn’t decide whether they’d rather be bright and cheery or dark and stormy. Petey sniffed everything at least twice, and especially enjoyed places where other mammals had obviously been at work.

I especially enjoyed the nascent fall fungi. Or maybe they’re still late summer fungi. Can you spot the edible (fruity, chewy) chanterelles? Can you identify my favored composition for mushroom photos? ;)

Do the maroon oak leaves and red/orange/yellow fungus signal fall’s arrival, or just the end of summer? Regardless, there’s no denying fall is on its way. We will not discuss what comes after that.
Fall Transitions

Making Excuses

This time of year always gets me. I am such an outdoors-loving spirit, and getting out takes special efforts after standard time kicks in. Speaking of which, can someone explain to me why we “save” daylight in the summer when there’s plenty of it, but don’t in the winter when we’re already lacking? (Okay, I’m really just looking for commiseration here, not a real explanation which I can easily Google.)

Thus, when the hourly forecast indicated a break in the rain this afternoon, I took advantage of the opportunity. Mind you, I wasn’t excited to go out – it’s brown and grey with just a splash of evergreen, and it was still misty and cold – but I figure the best way to beat the doldrums is to jump in.

What it feels like walking out of Daylight Saving Time ;)
November boardwalk

The roads are too squishy for a walk (Remember that I’m surrounded by packed sand roads?), so I grabbed my camera and decided to push myself to be creative. In this low-color day, I set my sights on a place that’s pretty regardless of sun or season: the Rapid River at the Seven Bridges Natural Area.

Tony and I walked around in the light drizzle, appreciative of the reprieve from the house (that I love, but I get cabin-fever easily) and for the serenity compliments of the rippling river.

Rapid River falls

With the muted colors and lighting, I looked for shapes. I liked the curve in the river as it approaches one of the many bridges. And since the scenery was already lacking saturation, I decided to play around with black and white.

Which version is your favorite? Really, I’d like to know if you’ll tell me in the comments!
Rapid River

desaturated Rapid River

Rapid River - BW

Eventually, as the water started soaking through my jeans in patches, we called it an afternoon and headed back home. It wasn’t a high-adventure trip, but it was a good excuse to get outside.

Just Another Lesson Learned

Last night we rang in the new year in what is becoming a traditional way of celebrating, but in a way that was decidedly not revelrous. Jim and Jess joined us for some healthy southwest quinoa chili, we chatted about everything and nothing until it was time for their wee one to hit the hay, and then we watched The Exorcist…after which I promptly went to bed. Take it easy on me, okay? I’m still recovering from the flu. Continue reading