Sunday, December 28, 2008

Deep snow 2008

So we don't forget just how deep this snow really was, the week before Christmas 2008, I thought I'd better include a few more photos for memories sake, and for those who would care to look at more snow without having to wade through it.

I've never seen things so buried under here before.

I don't know how many times we cleaned off the mailbox. We went four days without mail delivery, before they finally figured out how to get through. The hero of the post office came through on Sunday before Christmas though, and brought us some important packages. It is our first time ever to have Sunday delivery, but no week day delivery.

With snow shoveled off the driveway, Forest Zoo and Emily Rose set to work at fort building. Forest even rigged himself up a flag. He was ready to bomb anyone who came near. Do you see how big the icicles are in the window? We've never had any there before. We've had too many days of temperatures near zero.

Watch out you ladies and gents, Forest is armed. But don't worry too much. The snow is too dry to pack into balls, and breaks up before it reaches you. You are safe as long as he remains inside his fort, but watch out for mischief if he gets close.

Emily Rose set up quarters on the opposite side of the driveway, over the flower garden. She made three rooms in her fort, but I think she has no evil intentions. In fact, if the weather allowed, I believe you might be able to stop by for tea.

The little birds love this little Weeping Cherry tree. The snow made a bit of a snow fort for them too, as it made a fine cap on top of the tree. The birds could fly inside for shelter from the cold and the cats.

I can hardly believe how much snow there is on the Blue Spruce Tree. It is the same tree that was leaning over last January after our big wind storm. We pulled it back up straight with some ropes, gave it some water, and it seems to have survived just fine. We left the ropes there, just in case, though. Just look how deep the snow piled up on those branches. It has been really fun to see, and makes the inconvenience of the snow a little less bothersome.

Christmas Day Walk

We took the most scenic route for our walk on Christmas day. It was the easiest snow walking we had had for a while, conditions were at the best and the sun was bright making very nice light. We were able to see quite a few interesting things. Come along and linger with us as some of the sights along the way.

A mule deer was wandering through some trees a ways from the road.

The river was moving along nicely, snow piled up along it's banks, and tree branches of many colors along the shore.

Sunlight and shadows played together on the river bank.

A stately tree guarded a welcoming farmhouse that has sheltered farmers and their families for several generations.

By the house rested a white crowned haystack.

Cows gathered round their feed didn't seem to mind the cold.

We got back home just when the sun was getting low and turned the valley the tiniest bit of pink saying good-night to another lovely winter day.

White Christmas Memories

Christmas is over, but the memories are so nice that I thought I'd blog about them so we can hold onto them for years later. This was a Christmas to remember with so much snow on the ground. No one came to visit us over the treacherous roads, and we didn't go anywhere. It was a fun day of family closeness, doing things we enjoy together.

The kids saw a friend's yet undecorated Christmas tree. Her kids had been playing with stuffed animals, and had set a couple in the branches. My son thought filling a whole Christmas tree with stuffed animals was the best idea ever. And as I thought about it, I thought it was pretty good too. The decorations were all unbreakable, and could be played with to their hearts content. It made a lovely tree.

The kids had permission to open their camel packs as soon as they got up, but they didn't want to do it without Mama, so waited until I was up. After breakfast we opened the bigger gifts together. There was a new game in one of the packages, so later on we all gave it a try together, deciding Blockus is a great game.

When lunch time came, we weren't hungry yet, so we went out for a walk in the sunshine. I'll show you the photos in my next post.

The next day there was clouds, some snow, and an ever great accumulation of icicles decorating our eves, but for us this Christmas is one that we will treasure for years to come.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More About Barns

I discovered that Ann at "Holy Experience" has also written two thoughtful posts about Barns at Christmas. I thought you might like to read them too as she is a thoughtful word crafter with spiritual depth.

Christmas Barn in the Morning

Christmas Barn and New Year Hope

Friday, December 26, 2008

Of Barns, and Babies

Out of my walks I've been noticing beautiful barns in the snow.

Somehow they are so much more beautiful surrounded by snow then on other days.

Some barns are still in use, and some are just a symbol of the farming days of the past.

But all remind me of Jesus who gave up the comforts of heaven came to be God with us and be born in a barn. These barns look so clean and tidy right now, but we all know what is in a barn. Living conditions in a barn would be unpleasant, at best. So why did Jesus choose such a lowly place? Most kings are too proud to associate with the most humble people on earth, but not Jesus, the King of the Universe. He comes out of love, to all who will welcome Him. Only the owner of a barn gave Jesus a place to stay 2000 years ago. Only the heavenly knew of his arrival. Only shephards and distant foreigners were listening close enough to know to go search Him out in a smelly, dark barn.

Often my heart has been as filthy as a barn, stuffed with selfishness and sin, with all the resulting woundedness and brokeness. Jesus, would you really be born there? You ask to come in? Yes, I gladly welcome you in and give you full control. Bring your peace-be-still to the chaos that swarms therein. Clean, remove, cover and whiten all that is impure. I'll have no other gods before you. There is room in the barn in my heart for you.

Squirrelin' Round in the Snow

Down the road from our house the squirrels are busy finding tasty treats to nibble on in the neighbor's trees. They are as cute as can be in the snow and picture perfect.

Snow Birds

White Crown Sparrow in the Snow

Where do the little birds go when the snow comes? To our feeders of course. We have three feeders well stocked with black sunflower seeds for all the feathered friends who would care to dine.
Oregon Junco trying to stay warm

We have one feeder mounted right outside a window, near the front door. The little birds were scared of this one at first, and for good reason, because it is easier for the cats to get to, and further from sheltering bushes. But they can fly and the cats can't, so they soon learned it was a great place to get food. And we get to watch juncos, sparrows of several species, and finches enjoy a meal.
Our oldest feeder hangs out by our big maple trees, and is the favorite of the ground feeders. They crowd in there together and eat their fill, knocking down seed for those who don't care for sky view dining. They eat as quickly as they can until someone gives a warning, then all at once they take off flying.
As the cold lingers longer, more of the bigger birds, and shyer birds come in. I haven't caught them on photograph yet, but we have seen flickers, and morning doves now out eating with the little birds. A big hawk came and sat in the tree for a while, but thankfully he didn't stay long, or the little birds would have been in great danger. Some starlings came through, but I think there is still plenty to eat in apple orchards and valley vineyards, so they didn't remain to pester the little birds.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goofy Kids in the Snow

Most adults in the area are growing weary of snow and more snow, but not these two kids. They are outside every day having as much fun as possible. Right now, outside there is fort building happening. The snow is too powdery to pack into snowballs, but never mind, it is still all good fun.

An Afternoon's Adventure in the Snow

Yesterday afternoon some friends came over for lunch followed by a walk in the snow. It was cold, and almost dark when we arrived at one of our favorite walking spots. No one else was there, but we could see that someone had been there before us, and left footsteps for us to follow in the snow. It was hard work, but good exercise which warmed us as it grew darker.

The scenes were breathtaking which ever way we looked.

The morning had been clear and sparkling, but as evening approached so did the edge of the storm front which brought today's fresh layer of snow. We could see a bit of sunset color before clouds and darkness completely filled the sky.

Little plants held onto their snow collection carefully.

Snow collected on the Queen Ann's Lace like a regal hair style from the 1960's.

Snow stunted fence lines contrasted againt a winter blanket of white.

A lone man in red parka wades along his own path.

The pond was frozen and covered so that you could not tell that it was there, except for the Cattails which braved winter cold to point upward to the hilltop monument honoring pioneers who had once lived in this area and lived through winter cold without modern heaters or insulated walls. They were hardy and courageous, but unfortunately did not survive the natives displeasure of the white man's diseases.

Let It Snow

Thursday morning we woke up to snowflakes falling from the sky - big snowflakes. We started with about 5 inches of snow on the ground, left over from the weekend. By around 10 a.m. the 12 inch ruler stuck in the snow was registered around 10 inches. The snow was really dumping on us. It seemed like it wasn't very long at all until this was all we could see of the ruler.

Soon the ruler was completely covered. It was time for a new measure. I sent the kids out to find something something we could mark on to make a taller "ruler". They came up with this old piece of PVC pipe.

The snow kept falling until sometime in the afternoon and stopped at about 14 inches deep. And that is where it stayed until last night when it started falling again. Right now we have about 16 inches, and it doesn't look like it is going to stop anytime soon. The weather forecast says that we probably won't have any thawing taking place until next Sunday. I haven't lived here long enough to know if we've ever had snow this deep, or lasting this long. It is pretty impressive.

We were going to go to a retirement home and sing this afternoon, but that was canceled, so we don't have to go anywhere. We are going to stay cozy at home. And I am going to get to work on some Christmas presents. I've got something cute to make for my littlest niece.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Camel Packs

I thought I'd mention what we do instead of Christmas stocking in case I have some new readers lurking around in need of some good ideas this year.

You can read what I wrote about them last Christmas here and here.

Walk on a Winter Morn

This is the first morning it hasn't snowed since it started on Saturday. People up in the mountains have a couple feet of snow. We might have 5 inches. The kids have been playing and enjoying the snow enough for all of us. And I even found something good about the snow. I really love it's beauty. This morning it was about 1 degree just before the sun rose for a crisp and sparkling blue day. After morning worship I decided that I needed to get outside to enjoy the snow it the best light of the day. We bundled up in warm layers and set out to discover the delights of the season.

The cats had been out before us making tracks in the glittery whiteness. We followed the tracks through the garden, and then out to the road. Come enjoy with us some of what we saw along the way.

The Sumac tree is one of the most festive in the yard, each red clump of seeds dressed in a soft white coat.
Pine boughs nestled together in a snowy white quilt.

The neighbor's albino yard moose was the best looking I'd ever seen him. I can almost imagine him sticking his head in and searching for a mouthful of tastiness.
Grasses attired in winter white caplets seemed ready for a caroling throughout the neighborhood
Even though the temperatures bit at our scarf wrapped noses, everything seemed so fresh and alive. The air was so clean smelling and invigorating. We walked briskly from scene to scene and soon our blood was pumping warm. What a wonderful walk on a winter morn.