During our outdoor time this month we went...to see the migrating swans and geese in Monticello. There are literally thousands of waterfowl at an open area in the Mississippi River.
The sound is almost deafening with so many birds in one area. There is someone who feeds them each day in the morning; and Olivia and I were able to see the tail-end of the feeding which was fun.
At home, I went outside when I heard rustling near the fence under the pine trees on the east side of the backyard. I'm glad I did: it was a pheasant who was having trouble getting up and over the fence. There is so much snow and not enough clearance, so it is more challenging for them to get up in the air and clear the fence.
Check out the wing marks on the snow. I think they are so pretty!
The most inspiring thing we experienced was...watching from inside a snowstorm and then going outside to see the impact that wind and snow had on trees and bushes.
It kind of reminds me of a tornado or summer storm when leaves and twigs are scattered all around. The only difference is that in the winter, we see pine needles, twigs, and seed pods that fall off the trees.
I also enjoyed watching and photographing the birds on February 20th at the feeder by the bedroom window. There were lots of cardinals.
The black-capped chickadees loved eating the peanuts.
The cardinals kept coming to the feeder and eating the sunflower seeds.
Cooper loved watching the birds.
The birds would crack open the seeds and the snow would often go flying from their beaks.
On the 25th, it was fun to watch a group of pheasants that have been hanging around our driveway. I put out cracked corn for them and they scratch just like chickens. The female (on the left) was doing a lot of scratching and finding corn. Then the male (on the right) came up to see what was there. You can tell she's annoyed that he's wanting to eat what she uncovered.
The male then started kicking up snow and looking for corn.
The pheasants spent time in the driveway and walked along the pathways I shoveled for them in the front yard. I can tell the pathways make it so much easier for them to get around safely and find food.
On the 25th, I saw a white-crowned sparrow. I was surprised to see it at this time of the year.
On the 26th, there were some robins in the apple tree eating the crabapples. I can't imagine that they taste good, but the robins were choosing to eat them versus coming to the feeder and eat seeds.
Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)...why some dogs do well in the winter weather and snow, and other dogs struggle. Cooper is one of our dogs who loves the winter. He'll stick his head into the snow and look for activity near the grass. He reminds me of a fox looking for a rabbit or mouse.
In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting...nothing. It's hard to think of planting when the farm looks like this:
And icicles are coming off the roof:
And icicles are coming off the roof:
They are really bad this year and we are going to have to hire someone to melt them so we don't get damage inside our home.
That being said, I am thinking that this year I will need to plant more flowers and get the backyard sodded since it is all torn up. Since we are planning on having Sophia's graduation party here, there will be a lot of work to do to make it look presentable.
I added nature journal pages about...what I observe each day, the types of birds that I am seeing, and goals that I want to accomplish. I'm adding color to each of the pages which makes them look better than just the single-color illustrations that are in the nature journal now.
I am reading...The Budget. It's an Amish-Mennonite newspaper and has reports from various communities throughout the country and world. It's interesting to read about how winter affects people, and how the weather this winter is significantly different than past years.
I am dreaming about…days when we aren't struggling to get through the snow. This year we have had a huge amount of snow and we literally are having difficulty finding a place to put it each time there is a new snowfall.
The pathways are narrow which makes it hard for the dogs to be able to run and explore when they go outside. The wind often is so strong that it blows the snow into the pathways, making for another outdoor time of shoveling to create paths.
This is the view from the barn to the house. Next year I really need to make sure that the snowblower is working. It would make creating this path so much easier. The shoveling is a real back-breaker on some days - especially when the wind blows and packs down the snow.
A photo I would like to share...this male pheasant was finding some unusual spots to perch one day. He picked the electric wire - something I had never seen a pheasant do! He also was hanging out in the apple tree. His coloring helped him blend into the branches on the tree.