Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Turn of the Year

Now, as the end beckons, it is the greyest time of the year.
But there is still a stark beauty in the forms of trees, hills and fields that we can see from the house.
The Red Tailed Hawk is busy... swooping over the big field every day and we can easily see the flash of its white and red as it flies.
Sometimes it seems as if the greens of spring will never return, but we know the earth lies dormant, simply waiting.
Nicholas


Friday, 12 December 2014

Ice and Snow...

The other morning, before the big snow dump came, we walked in the field behind the house and were met with some spectacular ice crystals tucked away in small depressions amongst the grasses...



Today, though, the field is foot deep in snow, which makes walking difficult.
We hope to try out snow shoes sometime.
Mourning doves sit huddled in the cherry tree at the back of the house, puffed up against the cold and our resident crows sit perched at the tip of the tree, scanning the horizon like sentries.
Nicholas

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas Season

The snow has all melted now, but two days ago Judy pointed out a light dusting of pink light on the snow beneath the Crab Apple tree just as the sun rose. It made a beautiful sight for a moment or two...


Now, our Christmas tree is decked out and looks fantastic...


It seems amazing that a year has passed so quickly, but here we are poised on the threshold of 2015 already.
Nicholas

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Thanksgiving and Snow

We've had about six inches of snow the last few days, but yesterday evening, a glorious golden light spread about it all, highlighting the bird seat that was overloaded with snow, rather than seed.


And the garden chairs...


Misty of course loves it all and begs to be let out into the white.
We so grateful at this time for all of our family and friends here in the US and those in the UK...
Another Arctic blast is promised next week.
Nicholas

Monday, 10 November 2014

Glorious Light

Fall colors are almost gone... but some beautiful golden leaves have hung on at the far side of the meadow.


And, then, this morning we were treated to a spectacular pink dawn with this gorgeous light across the hills lasting for ten minutes...


 Meanwhile, two crows perched on an old cherry tree, just waiting...






 Misty our fabulous Golden loves the garden to bits... literally digging every time she can, but sometimes she just sits as if butter wouldn't melt...

Nicholas


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The passage of time

I spotted this beautiful seed head in the field behind our house this afternoon.


It was a remarkable sight, tucked away amongst the fading and browning Golden Rod.
A few seconds later, two white tailed deer bobbed away, their white tails flashing against the field of brown.
Yesterday evening, we had a spectacular sunset and the warmest of southern breezes. We were able to sit out on the patio and watch the sun go down in its majestic way.



Glorious!
Nicholas

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Spectacular Fall

The reds this fall have been amazing. 
We walked by Dryden Lake on Sunday in glorious sunshine without a cloud in the sky. A cormorant stood motionless on a log for the best part of half an hour as we walked by.


And then we came across a collection of sugar maples, glowing like jewels.




Today, though it has rained all morning, and, I suspect, the colors will have gone soon.
Our garden is taking shape, with two fourteen foot river birches having been planted out front... as has a Red Bud Maple tree and a stand of Nine Bark trees and shrubs.
Hot warm air from the Gulf is everywhere.
Nicholas

Friday, 19 September 2014

First Frost

Well the first frost arrived last night, and, this morning, the field of golden rod was sparkling in the early light.
Later, Judy and I watched the Northern Harrier dip and dive over the field, obviously finding prey...
This photos was from a great distance, but captures its spirit!



The Rudbeckia continues to amaze us! It has bloomed non stop since June...
Meanwhile, baby finches are flitting around; sometimes perching on the crab-apple tree:


NIcholas

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Morning Light....

Today the full moon, setting in the West was a sight to behold.... and then, half an hour later when the sun rose, the field behind our house became lit up like a sea of gold.



Meanwhile, work gather pace at plots 3 and 4, where a new townhouse is being built. Earth has been dug, concrete poured, markers set and soon, timbers will be rising from the ground.
Our new river birch trees are settling in, albeit having shed a few leaves.

As I write, three turkey buzzards are soaring over Applewood lane...
fabulous!
Nicholas

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Early Autumn Colors...

The Jim Shug trail in Dryden is magnificent at this time of year, especially in the early morning. Going on for miles, it used to be a rail track, but is now a perfect path.
Early signs of autumn abound... especially with the sumac and vines turning bright red.
Our garden is stunning, with rudbeckia, russian sage and lavender lasting for weeks.



Purple loosestrife is abundant around and about the house and the fields across the way. Considered a pest by experts it adds a glorious splash of purple in all sorts of places.
Yesterday walking the field, Judy and I spotted a swarm of hundreds of dragonflies, darting around above the goldenrod. Overhead three or four fly catchers were busy, trying to eat their fill.
Nicholas


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The beginnings of Autumn...

The tree swallows have gone already! One day there were a clutch of the young things flying about the garden and the next they were gone... lets hope they make it back next year.
Meanwhile, our local itinerants continue their lives: the woodchuck stood like this for fully five minutes before bumbling away...

And the chipmunks battle it out to see who is first onto the food bench: often throwing each other off in their efforts to do so!


We think we may have suffered the last mouse inside the house: fully fifteen have been trapped and caught so far, but lets hope its the last, now that the hole in the fire housing has been sealed.

Nicholas

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Thunderstorms and Rain...

The baby tree swallows have emerged at last from their nesting box... and somehow, the sculpture is an irresistible vantage point!



Thunderstorms have arrived today once again on the back of hot and humid air from the South.... great spats of rain coming down and occasional claps of thunder.
Its fabulous though to see such natural phenomena...
At the front of the house, the driveway has now been finalised and its a welcome addition to the property.


Later this year, we hope to add some big mature river birches... so lets hope we can find them!
Nicholas

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Baby Woodchucks

The other day I spotted three baby woodchucks in the garden next door... delightful little creatures just emerged from the ground.
Spring has well and truly taken hold now, with glorious greens everywhere.
Our iris plants are looking astounding... and the peonies have dozens of buds.
The tree swallows are raising small chicks... but I've seen no sight of them yet.




Nicholas

Friday, 9 May 2014

Spring comes....

The tree swallows have arrived! We have about ten or more of these beautiful birds swooping and flying about our garden: but they have found the nesting boxes we had placed on the fence and have made them their homes.




It has been a long time coming this spring... only today have the buds really begun to open and, last night, we had our first thunderstorm of the season. Brilliant white flashes of light across the hills and rain, pouring down.

But the wait is well worth it... 
Nicholas

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Full Moon and a rainbow...

Last night I was able to photograph the full moon in all its glory and again this morning. Surrounded by a sheen of cloud it was a beautiful sight.


Last week a gorgeous rainbow grew above the skies to the South...


We have had huge swings of temperatures in the last ten days or so, ranging from a balmy 78 to a freezing 21 degrees.... snow covered the field behind us yesterday, but now it is melted. 
The first of the many bulbs Judy planted last year are showing!

Nicholas


Along with the bulbs and the warmer, longer, daylight hours, has come the return of the redwing blackbirds. With the great expanse of open field behind our home, a natural nesting site, dozens return each spring...their song fills the early morning and early evening air with excitement and chatter. 

Other birds, having found all of our feeders, are also joining us this spring...there are a robins, cardinals, a number of thrushes, juncoes, sparrows, goldfinches...

I am busily planning how to attract more hummingbirds, butterflies and songbirds with beds of wildflowers. While I will create a few structured beds...it is exciting to imagine great expanses of a clover lawn, interspersed with beds of brilliantly coloured native wildflowers stretching seamlessly to the stream, the field and the hills beyond.

This new landscape, this horizon we have gazed upon for nearly a year, is holding our hearts, our minds, our spirits with reverence and filling our lives with awe.

Judy

Monday, 7 April 2014

Meltwaters have gathered pace in the rivers and streams around here. Yesterday I walked with Misty around Beebe Lake in Ithaca, and the waterfall at the outlet was magnificent.



video

There are cautious signs of spring everywhere. Male red winged blackbirds sit on branches or other vantage points and sing with their wings outstretched to attract a mate; robins flirt and fly around each other; soft tips of spring bulbs push through the softening ground.

Nicholas

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The beginning of Spring....

At last, we've seen a few bulbs poking their way up through the soil!... Its been a long winter and we had feared for them.
A few weeks ago the full moon set in the West in a gorgeous sky...



The red-winged blackbirds are back! We have a flock of about 30 or so just behind the house and they are beginning to set out their territories for the spring, calling and flashing their red wings from the branches of the trees along the creek.
Misty, our new puppy, is growing fast. A few weeks ago she fell through the ice into the creek and, since then, we've decided to only let her out on a leash!

Yesterday, I watched the Northern Harrier being attacked by two large ravens as it flew above the field. It is an awesome bird and seemed oblivious to the ravens as they swooped and flew around it.

We think the bluebirds have started to nest in the box at the end of the fence, but are not quite sure at the moment... it will be fun to see.
Nicholas

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Coming Spring Equinox

Last night's sunset was spectacular, an array of soft folding clouds and reddening hues.



I watched the changing light for a while as the dusk came on. 
Outside, the rabbits came bounding up to the patio for food and the last of the mourning doves flew away.
Spring Equinox is only two weeks away!
Meanwhile, our gorgeous puppy is now living with us... 
11 weeks old and adorable.


Nicholas

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Deep Freeze

This winter has been very cold so far... but spectacular ice and frozen water abounds!
The colours and shapes are astonishing...with Taughannock falls trail in particular being a journey of gorgeous surprises...





Nicholas

In the midst of winter's cold there is a rarified beauty, a stillness, a hush, inviting me to journey inward towards less active thought and deeper reflection. 

I find a frozen waterfall is utterly symbolic, the immense force of movement, stayed by external forces of plunging temperatures. 


Life is like this at times...outside influences give pause to forward movement and, once powerfully flowing energy becomes seemingly stagnant, as though never to move again. But...it does, the sun warms that which is frozen, within and without and flow returns. 

Being back in the northeast of the United States has reminded me of the great gift of the seasons...fully experiencing the new growth of spring, the heat of summertime, the passionate display of leaves, and then the pristine white and icy blue of winter. All serve to remind me that change is the only constant and that I best serve my spirit in remembering that truth.

Judy