Thursday, March 9, 2017

Outdoor Mom's Journal - March

During our outdoor time this week we went....on a walk with the dogs. It was about 30 degrees, but the wind was strong and bitterly cold.

We had to limit how much time we were walking so Danny (the smallest dog) wouldn't get chilled.

Each day, we walk multiple times around the fenced-in backyard when the dogs go outside to go to the bathroom. 

For me, it's been interesting because I normally don't walk the perimeter of the backyard, so I'm noticing new views and trees that I don't typically see in my day-to-day walking pattern.

As I look at the trees in the backyard, I remember how small they were when we moved here in 1995. Even better are the many transplanted trees we've added to the farm. With the exception of two evergreens in the picture above, all were ones we had transplanted when they were about 10'-12' tall. They've easily doubled in size.

The dogs explore every part of the backyard - often going to familiar "stops" along the way. We're working on some basic obedience with them - so when we call them the goal is to have them run to us (like Cooper, in the photo below).

The favorite stop along the way are the evergreens on  the east side of the backyard. There's a little forest covered with white-pine needles. White pines lose a significant amount of needles each fall and winter. The ground is covered with a soft bed of them.

With red-tailed hawks and eagles being relatively common to see, we need to make sure we are out with the little dogs.

Sophia saw an eagle a few days ago. It flew so low that she could hear the wings flapping; and could see its eyes and detail of its feathers. That's a bit too close for comfort with Danny and Scooby outside.

The most inspiring thing we experienced was...seeing the Big Dipper on a very clear morning when I went out to get the Sunday paper. Had I not gone out for the paper, I would have missed seeing this constellation as well as seeing all the other beautiful stars.


Also saw a large gathering of trumpeter swans migrating north towards the end of last month. Saw another group - about a dozen  at the most - on Monday on the St. Croix River.

Sophia thought seeing the eagle that close was amazing. It's not every day that something like that happens.
Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about) much does a trumpeter swan weigh and what is its wingspan?

According to All About Birds, a trumpeter swan is  about "six feet in length and [weighs] more than 25 pounds—almost twice as massive as a Tundra Swan. Getting airborne requires a lumbering takeoff along a 100-yard runway."

That's 300 feet...or about the width of our farm (which is about 375 feet). Put into that perspective, for me, is impressive. That's quite a long run before it can take off.

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting....nothing quite yet. It's still on the cold side for starting gardens. If the cold frame that my friend helped me build many years ago still  had its window top on it, I could actually start growing some vegetables which would be nice.

Fresh lettuce, radishes, green onions, herbs, and snow peas right now sound good right now.

I was surprised to see a new strawberry plant emerging in Sophia's garden on March 7th. That's very early for strawberries.

A new strawberry plant.

Olivia's strawberry garden has a combination of plants that have green and brown leaves. It seems like in her raised-bed/keyhole garden that the plants never really died. I know that's not possible because the temperatures this winter did get below -10 degrees. Plants don't survive in that type of weather. It will be interesting to see what comes up this spring in her garden.

I added nature journal pages about....a sun pillar and beaver that we saw last month.

Two nature journal pages I did in February.

This month, I'm doing an overview page after being inspired by Barb's layout. I've also started a list documenting special things that I've seen in nature. More about that towards the end of the month.

I am reading...The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild. Rather. The book, which is a compilation  of essays about various animals that the author has encountered, has received excellent reviews.

I've read a couple of essays so far and the author's writing style is engaging and informational. The stories captivate my attention and entice me to keep reading.

I am dreaming about…
spring flowers which should be coming up this month. I'm hoping that the crocus, hyacinths, tulips, and other spring flowers made it through the winter and will be returning this year.

A photo I would like to share...
there's a couple of photos from March 7th. There were strong winds - some over 50 mph - along with stronger gusts of wind. Needless to say, it made for challenging driving.

When I came home from taking Sophia to harp lessons and doing errands, I wanted to take a photo of the pond. The wind was creating waves that reminded me of the waves on Bass Lake (although these were much smaller since they were on a pond and not a lake).

At any rate, the sun was a brilliant white and was illuminating the clouds around it.

It was just stunning being in the pasture, surrounded by all the open space, and being able to see such beautiful cloud formations and a white sun.

Thank you to Barb the Outdoor Hour Challenge for the idea of doing an Outdoor Mom's Journal.

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