The forecast is "Cold Enough to Make Satan Put on a Sweater," so Enviro-Girl took advantage of the last 20 degree day to strap on her cross-country skis and perform a routine maintenence check on the Back Forty while working up a little sweat.
The day was balmy, so she took her camera to capture a gratuitous shot of her driveway which recent snow has rendered less treacherous to drive across. She stayed on the snowmobile tracks made by her neighbor, The Farmer.
Enviro-Girl paid close attention to the tracks--she counted seven different types, including mouse, rabbit, and deer. One set of tracks through the west prairie stumped her--it looked like human prints, but she knows they weren't.
The woods were silent and lovely, evoking thoughts of Robert Frost. Birds chirped overhead and Enviro-Girl spotted a hawk and several songbirds, including bright cardinals.
A flash of blaze orange made her look sharp. Enviro-Girl began to whistle, then sing loudly as she approached who she suspected to be her neighbor sitting in a tree hunting. It unnerved her when the blaze orange form never moved. Was the hunter asleep? Getting shot in the chest while skiing ranked low on Enviro-Girl's to-do list for the weekend, so she belted out a louder tune. She drew closer and realized that the hunter was in fact a hunting jacket and cap tied to a tree to act as a decoy to deter trespassers (an occasional problem). Feeling foolish, Enviro-Girl breathed a sigh of relief and crossed the creek.
The public snowmobile trail lay ahead--Enviro-Girl's pulse quickened as she approached. The trails have been busy, she hears the roar of snowmobiles all night long and counted a dozen flying past her around the curve. She only had to hop on the public trail for a short distance, but she skis much slower than a snowmobile so she didn't want to be in the middle of the crossing while any came up on her. (Snowmobiles drive anywhere from 50-100 mph--they are loud and exciting and make Enviro-Girl nervous because she's never been on one.)
Hearing engines in the near distance she waited.
When the last rider came past, she kicked her tail into high gear and skiied across the creek again.
A lot of snow cover means the ground is pretty boring, but she found this surprise alongside the trail. The broken egg inside probably was from spring. Bird nests are so amazing in their construction. This one is lined with a red ribbon--quite snazzy against the twigs and grass.
Winter is also a good time to check on the trees she and Mr. D have planted. They all looked good. The sight of a healthy spruce topping the knee-deep snow drifts is encouraging.
Empty branches hold their own surprises--one of the best things about the woods in winter.