Thursday, December 31, 2009

Images from Some Bright December Days

Just for fun, here are some pictures taken on a few different outings over the holiday period. The first is special because it is of sunset on the Winter Soltice.

The next was a quick shot of a jet contrail as we waited our turn at the car wash on Christmas Eve. We often see contrail along the coastline but not as often across the east-west sky. Besides, it also shows how clear the day was.

The several photos that follow are of this season's version of snow geese. Last Sunday morning I was amazed at the shadows being cast through the house as V and V of honking geese flew overhead. In the early afternoon, we ventured out to Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge where we came upon hundreds of birds. What was different this year was that they were on the opposite side of the road than where they were last year. This is also early in the season so that will surely change.

Below is a view of the other side of the road. It is usually much clearer than it was on this day.

The next two photos were taken on Monday. The area is a field a very short distance from where we live. These farm areas are preferred feeding areas for the geese much to the chagrin of the farmers.

And, now, to the elusive heron. The pond has been very overrun with algae this year and we have seen little of the heron(s). The heavy rains, snow and cold weather have cleared the coves and this guy has returned. No matter what, it is a game trying to get a picture. These are of the heron in a tree as he flew the road just as I was pulling up to see if he were to be seen. At least on this outing I got an image however unclear. I will keep trying.

More outings to come in 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmastime 2009

Putting the Christmas decorations up, mailing the cards and wrapping the presents are among my top priorities of the year. Last year our goal was joyously interrupted by the birth on our grandson on December 12. I think it was mid-February before I completely accomplished my tasks. The decorations were up on time but all else was delayed. This year has been more of a challenge after my health scare of late November and early December and Bill's health issues this year. I vowed that I would not complain about them but they played havoc with my Christmas traditions.

With Erica's help we got our tree the week before Christmas but took several days decorating it. The tree is a Frazier Fir. We have gotten these since we lived in Spokane. Before that it was almost always a Grand Fir or a Noble Fir. The Frazier is a good fir for this climate and is a pretty tree. This year's model is thinner than usual and had a couple of holes that actually added to the beauty. We did not get all of our ornaments on the tree. We did get ornaments from every era of our acquisition of them. The tree turned out quite lovely.

During the days just before Christmas we managed to get most of the rest of our decorations out and up even if not in the originally assigned place. The stockings were hung but the mantel (another story) was not completed with its usual flair. The snowman/woman collections was set out and among the selected areas, it was the most complete. The collection of Santas was put in place and other corners of the house were adorned with lights and/or greenery.

A lack of energy prevented of our more grand d├ęcor but the biggest culprit during the week was the huge storm from the previous weekend. It came and left ice and packed snow everywhere. We were out of deicer and so Bill put kitty litter on the sidewalk to make sure I would not fall. A great temporary decision or so it seemed. Clumping kitty litter causes an incredible tracking mess. Christmas Eve day came and we were mopping for the fourth time three days. Finally, most of the tracks are gone. The downpour of Christmas night helped a whole lot too.

Our decorations usually come down on New Years but this year they will stay up through Epiphany. Most of the presents were wrapped an sent. There are still some stragglers and the cards will go out later this week. The good news is that we had a lovely, quiet Christmas and that we were here to enjoy it.

Our best holiday wishes to all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beyond the Panes

A few days before Thanksgiving I was looking at some pictures I had taken earlier in the fall. This one was there and I wondered how I had passed over it in other viewings. It's a little off kilter and not particularly pretty but for some reason I like this picture. It is the window that is part of the George Washington pew of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. We were visiting there with our dear friends Terry and Ray from Oregon. The day was very warm and most of my other photos are of our being on the grounds outside the main building.

So, why am I so drawn to the window? Initially, I wondered about the history it saw from both sides. Then there is something about its humbleness. I try to imagine it being a little darker outside and candlelight reflecting through the panes. I am glad I found this picture. I like reflecting on it.

Thanksgiving weekend and the days that followed were traumatic one for me and my family and friends. I am doing well now and am hoping that the good Christmas elves will visit and help me get the decorations out and up and whatever.

When that is done, I going to start looking for other windows.