This month I have a very small number of photos compared to past months. I'm working about 50+ hours a week between three jobs now that the girls are both in college, so my free time is limited as is my time to take photos.
Honestly, this is kind of depressing for me because I love taking photos and documenting life. I guess when time is spent working, things change. Perhaps going forward this year I need to make a conscious effort to prioritize using my camera and creating images that I can be proud of and enjoy looking at.
The ones below are just quick shots. Nothing fancy. They do bring back good thoughts of having Sophia at home one weekend from college. We went to the Lions breakfast for Vinterfest.
This is one of the Lions. He's a vet who served in Vietnam. He has interesting stories to tell and is into nature and wildlife.
These two women also are Lions and have been so supportive of me. They are both in their 80s, but you would never guess it by how active they are. They do a tremendous amount of volunteering not only for the Lions, but for other organizations around town.
There were fires outside around the community center for everyone to enjoy.
There was a mini donut food truck, so Sophia treated me to mini donuts which was nice. The donuts were piping hot and the air was so cold. She's showing me the steam in the air from the donut...though my camera isn't picking it up.
I dropped her off with a friend in Stillwater and then headed back to Vinterfest. This time I went across the street to Gammelgarden Museum and saw the exhibit that the Scandia Heritage Alliance put on. There were antique sleds like this little one. I could imagine myself pulling the girls in something like this when they were smaller.
There was a big wooden toboggan. I remember having a wood sled growing up with metal runners. You had to be careful where you placed your hands on the sled.
These are snowshoes. I remember trying to use snowshoes when I was in fourth grade. It didn't go so well. Never tried again. Wonder if I would have better luck as an adult.
They let me get pretty close to the owl. It was so calm. I wish I could have touched it...it looked so soft.
This little owl is missing an eye. When it was born, it was missing an eye. It would have very little success in the wild - both in terms of catching prey as well as potentially being eaten by a larger predator - like a Great Horned Owl which we have around here.
The coloring on the owl is similar to a birch tree and it blends in beautifully with its surroundings.
At the end of the month, we got another ten inches of snow. We really don't need it. At this point, the front doors of the barn are inaccessible. What is not apparent in this photo is that there are sections in the backyard that have at least 2-3 feet of snow.
Near the fence line leading to the east pasture, the snow is as high as the top of the fence. Cooper can literally walk over the top of the fence. This is not good because if any wildlife - like deer, fox, or coyote - wanders into the pasture, they could just as likely walk over the fence and into our backyard. It would not fare well for any of the animals - dogs or wildlife. Hopefully, the temperature will warm up and melt all this snow.
Speaking of dogs going over the fence, this is Cooper who is pretty proud of himself that he got into the pasture and could run at full speed through the snow. He was having fun.
Interestingly, the snow reveals tracks that sometimes are easily recognizable. Other times, I have no idea what they are. For example, in the photo below, there's a big blob of tracks to the left of the photo. That's Cooper as he is running through the pasture. What I found strange was the rectangular shape made of small tracks. I have never seen anything like that before.
I posted the photo on Minnesota Naturalists (a Facebook group) and one person identified the tracks as those belonging to a deer mouse. Apparently, this type of mouse walks on top of the snow - rather than under it. I would think that would make it quite vulnerable to predators.
At any rate, I was surprised at how the mouse made abrupt turns and made a rectangle.
These are two trees in the far back part of our property. In front is some sort of pine tree. In the back is a Weeping Willow. We planted these trees (at the time - about 5-6 feet tall) - a good 20 feet apart from one another. We thought it was far enough. It isn't. These two trees are right next to one another and both could use more space.
There are two sets of tracks leading up to the pine tree. I wonder if both are used by the same animal or if there are multiple ones living under the tree.
When the girls were little, we would sit under those trees - sometimes just us and sometimes with the dogs. We had picnics under them...and we'd just enjoy the quiet and peacefulness of being in the country.
So many good memories of this place. I am incredibly grateful we found it and chose to call it home.
It's hard to get as much done when you are working 50 hours a week! Goodness!
Never have seen an owl with one eye. Their eyes are so huge that it is quite striking when one is missing. Glad it was saved. :)
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