December 15 – sun in a dark time

Been nearly a week since I last wrote down to write– how fast the time flies! In fact, the combination of ample work and cruddy weather has mostly kept me inside for the past six days.  Lots of rain, some sleet, and an ever so tiny bit of snow.  Central Virginia sits right on that line between North and South, so when big winter storms pass through the area, and Pennsylvania, MD, and even northern Virginia get plastered with snow and ice, we seem to get lots of what we’ve taken to calling “Oobleck,” a cold messy something that’s not quite rain, snow, or ice, but a bit of each.

This morning was sunny and warm, our first really pleasant day in what seems like weeks, so of course I took a little walk.  My path at first took me through the Morningstar orchard, where this year’s firewood is sitting in piles, waiting to be split. Image

Looking back up across the orchard, look at that blue sky!Image

Although the temps have been a bit warmer, we’re still getting frost most every night, so I didn’t expect to find many oysters.  I did encounter a few, most of which had been destroyed by frost, but one small fruiting looked nice.Image

I don’t know if the turkey tail mushrooms are more colorful this time of year, or whether I notice them more because there’s so much less color and distraction.  These certainly seemed to be thriving.  I think they don’t mind the frost so much, and like all the moisture we’ve been having.Image

You know how good that first sunny day after a week (or more) of grey skies feels?  That’s how this morning felt.Image

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Passing through the field and past the graveyard, dropping down to “STP creek,” which was running less vigorously than I would imagine, given all the recent wet.  I think that these little creeks go up pretty fast when it rains, then drop back down pretty fast afterwards.  I thought the reflections in the water were pretty. Image

Oak roots, holding it all together.Image

Shelf mushrooms on a downed branch, angled just right to catch the sun.  They really were glowing like this.Image

Passing through a relatively unfamiliar bit of woods, I came across the graveyard of old Maypoles, discarded in a pile when they could no longer support peoples’ weight.  As with everything that gets dumped into the woods, the polypro ropes are slowly being reclaimed by nature.Image

This close to the solstice, the shadows are long even close to noon, and on a sunny day like today, the light on anything south-facing is always dramatic.Image

I especially liked the way this lone arcing sycamore was all lit up.Image

Twin Oaks’ premier sledding hill.  I was hoping we’d get to do some sledding (we’ve had snow in the forecast three times already this month), but we haven’t even come close.Image

Heading back down across the pond outlet, still enjoying being out on a sunny day.Image

The bamboo is still bent over from the weight of all that ice, but a few days like today should perk it up.  Big pine tree looked especially majestic today.Image

And for what seems like the first time this month, we’re getting some power out of this guy.Image

(for comparison’s sake, this is what it looked like a week ago)

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