When Autumn Meets Winter

This morning, not long after I got out of bed, EJ asked, “Have you looked outside yet?” I know that that always means that we’ve gotten snow.

After EJ left for work, I fed all the cats–both inside and outside ones–and then I put on my boots to go outside to care for the poultry. This is the first time I’ve worn my boots since I put them away last Spring. I put them on with trepidation because of spiders. It seems to me that a spider might consider an unused boot to be a perfect home. With this in mind, I had gotten the boots out of storage a few days ago and sprayed them with spider-killing spray. Still, I imagined a black widow or wolf spider–or maybe even a mouse–lurking in my boot ready to bite me, so I shook the boots vigorously before I put them on. I sighed with relief when I didn’t feel any stinging bites or squirming bodies.

I didn’t cut through our attached garage as usual on my way to the coop because the cats are shut up there until Josette adjusts to her new home. Instead, I went through the front door and walked around the house. It was snowing hard and the ground was white. I took a few photos. I love taking pictures when it’s snowing at night because the flash makes interesting snow patterns. I also think the Christmas-lights make the coop look especially cozy in the dark.

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I put the garden hose away last week so now I have to lug buckets of water for the ducks and chickens. I have to choose between my bare hands getting cold or my mittens getting wet as I fill the buckets. Oh, well, it’s all in a day’s work. As I finished caring for the poultry and walked back around the house to the door, I kept hearing stirrings in the forest, like footsteps. I logically reasoned that the sound was snow-covered leaves falling off the trees and hitting the ground, but I imagined a bear creeping up on me in the dark. Imagination won over logic, and I quickened my pace into the house.

In the autumn I never feel as if I’m ready for winter to arrive. There’s too much to do to prepare for it, and the thought of getting out the winter hat, coat, and boots, and cold, and the expectation of snowblowing the driveway, and winter driving doesn’t exactly fill me with delight.

And then it snows.

The snow transforms our forest into a magical place. And I think, “Oh! I love you beautiful snow! I LOVE you!”

I needed to mail our propane payment so as soon as the sun rose, I put the envelope in my inner coat pocket, grabbed my camera, and wandered out into the beautiful Enchanted Forest. It was especially beautiful because the trees are still dressed in their vibrant autumn colors. The mixture of winter snow and autumn leaves was breathtaking. I loved watching the snowflakes and autumn leaves falling together. The weather changed from moment to moment. Sometimes the clouds were dark gray, sometimes dramatic, and a couple of times there were even patches of blue sky. Sometimes the snow fell in small flakes, sometimes in large ones, sometimes it rained, and sometimes nothing fell from the sky except leaves. There were times when the sun shone and the snow and leaves fell all at the same time.  As the day progressed, the temperatures rose a bit and the snow fell off the trees but the ground remained covered in snow and it was still just as beautiful.  I took many photos, but finally had to stop to recharge my camera’s low battery.

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When I meandered down the driveway to put our propane payment in the mailbox, I was surprised by a flock of turkeys when I rounded the last curve at the bottom of our driveway. I imagine that they were just as surprised as I was. They went across the road–quickly, but not in a panic. I laughed when I saw the trail of their tracks in the snow:

Turkey Tracks in the snow

While I was out enjoying the beauty of the day and snapping photos like a tourist, JJ was groaning over the “terrible weather.” I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

About noon I went out to check on the garage cats. They all came running up to me for lovings, as they always do. I was amazed at how quickly the three cats have accepted each other. They acted like old friends with no hissing whatsoever.

After checking on the garage cats, I went around to check on the ducks and chickens to make sure they were ok. They were all in their coop, although the ducks came out with me when I left the coop.

The ducks
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