Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Blog's Namesake

We are visiting my parents this weekend at their homestead -- Winterberry Farm -- in western Massachusetts. Yesterday another 10 inches of nice powder fell at our place in southeastern New Hampshire. Plenty of snow here too, although they got a bit less than we did in this last storm. Still, the fields and woods are deep in snow.

Kodi was ready for a walk when we arrived so we set off out back on our snowshoes. The rain from Tuesday's storm left a crust of ice sandwiched between the snow that fell before and the fresh powder that came after. The small to medium-sized animals are able to stay on top of the ice crust, while we broke through on our snowshoes. We crossed paths with several tracks, including Eastern cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels, woodland mice, and coyote, or maybe fox. I think the wild canids are in heat now; we saw blood mixed with urine where two sets of tracks merged in the field.

The hardwood forests here are stark in winter, beautiful in their simplicity. We returned to the house through the woods, passing several spicebush - my blog's namesake! It is these very spicebush that inspired me to title my blog as such.

A snowshoe hike through the "back forty" at Winterberry Farm

Spicebush among the hardwoods and woodland mice tracks

Spicebush buds in winter

Today was sunny and calm, with temperatures in the low-20s. A perfect winter day. The really cold temperatures predicted for this weekend have not yet materialized. Tomorrow night promises to be much, much colder.

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