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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Country Views, April Two Thousand and Fourteen

Can you tell that the pond above is almost completely frozen over? It looks largely clear of ice but isn't, as you see in the shot to the left here. By afternoon, though, the ice will be gone and water rippling in sun and breeze, and then the question is how far the temperature will drop tonight. The last two nights the pond had refrozen, but maybe we're about to turn the corner in this 24-hour period. I hope so, because I can hardly wait for the peeper chorus to burst into full-throated song right here on this spot. 

Even this morning, however, there was life at the pond. My duck and gull photos are overexposed, as was much of what I tried to photograph this morning. Finally, almost to Northport, I stopped and figured out the problem. I'd been using the Av setting, Aperture Priority, in the woods on an overcast Monday morning and had changed the F-stop to bring in more light. Little did I know that changing the aperture on the Av setting would carry over to the Auto and Scene settings as well. Lesson learned, so all's well that ends well. And actually, one snow-edged road winding through frost-kissed fields seems to reveal its essence more fully with the overexposure. Or am I kidding myself?

(Snow was not really blue)

Closer to home in the past couple of days, here were some of the sights to be seen: 

Wild leeks!

Beechnut hulls (squirrels ate the nuts long ago)

Flicker singing at top of popple tree

I have lots of new photos of building projects around town but will save those for another day. David and I have been reading up a storm these days and nights, making the most of our indoor time before outdoor projects lay their claims on us. We've been reading Norman Lewis to each other and Harry Bruce and will soon embark on a little light-hearted Bill Bryson I've set aside. All these books we've been enjoying are nonfiction tales of faraway lands, compensation for the fact that it's been a year and a half since we've traveled any farther away from home than Kingsley, Michigan. -- But we live in a beautiful place. We survived the winter. And spring it is icumen in!

My other recent reading (the silent, to-myself stuff) has covered fiction (short and long), poetry, and more nonfiction. Some of it will find its way into reviews soon, both here and in the Northern Express, but I won't neglect the progress of the season, either. It's too exciting!

Woodpecker heaven amid last (?) of winter's snow


Gerry said...

I can imagine that my neighbor Tommy will reminisce about The Winter of '14 fifty years from now. The children won't believe a word he says about it.

When I saw your wild leeks my sluggish brain said Wait, wait - didn't we see . . . I'll bet we did. Saw and didn't register. Now where was I doing that particular piece of woolgathering?

It really has been a winter and a half.

Karen Casebeer said...

Great images, Pamela. Last night was so depressing as the skies rained heavy snow, but this morning all the new snow was gone. Your signs of springs are hopeful, though. I'm having to tell myself that over and over. Karen

P. J. Grath said...

Hi, Gerry and Karen. Are you shivering? It was a cold dog walk this morning! On the other hand, Minneapolis is supposed to get 12 inches of snow today! Heavy, wet snow, the kind we got in April of 2011 that doesn't last long, but still--.

You have to get right out into the woods and look hard to see the leeks, but they are showing some green now, not just the tiny reddish spears of earlier in the week that were MUCH harder to spot. (And to think I used to look for leeks while speeding down the road in a car!)

I'm sure all of us will be telling tales of this season for years to come, maybe for the rest of our lives. I've been thinking that someone should make up a poster of amazing photographic evidence of what we have endured and title it, "What's It Like Up Here in the Winter?" People ask that question every year, and if we had the poster we'd all be prepared to point to the answer. What do you think, Karen?

Dawn said...

I've always loved blue sky and white snow. Even this late in the year you have to appreciate sun on snow. But now that we've appreciated it we'd like to move on. Hope your spring arrives soon!

Karen Casebeer said...

Sounds like a good challenge, Pamela, and, possibly, a new blog post. But as I ponder "What's It Like Up Here in the Winter?" I don't want to use this winter as the new norm. While I like a real winter, this one was over the top for me. Karen

P. J. Grath said...

Blue sky is good, even on brown grass. Someone told me this morning in the bookstore that we may be in for colder winters in the upper Midwest, as temperatures warm in other parts of the world. Has to do with wind currents and weather patterns. Hmmm. What do plan for coming winters....

Gerry said...

Have I mentioned my theory that the Polar Ice Cap is melting at the edges and sliding down the ball of Earth toward us? I probably have. I grow garrulous. Swat me across the nose.

I think we should do a whole exhibition: The Winter of 2013-2014. We could put it up in July or August when it's really hot and we crave cooling images. It could be a collaborative . . . I think I'm on a roll here. Or a sliding glacier, one.

P. J. Grath said...

I am NOT going to do any research on this, online or otherwise, because I DON'T WANT TO KNOW, but yes, Gerry, Alaska's warm winter has something to do with our cold one. Ugh! I want to think about SPRING!

Dawn said...

I like the idea of a collaborative photo exhibit of the winter of 2013/14!