Monday, January 12, 2009

ski patrol

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.

20 comments:

  1. Ooooh. Your outside is full of winter wonder. Glad you shared!

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  2. So beautiful. But after having a couple unprecedented weeks of snow here - I think I might get tired of all that beauty after a while - maybe not, if the city didn't shut down. But I doubt I'll ever know for sure.

    And that nest, ahhh.

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  3. What a fun journey. That's the best ski trip I've ever had.

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  4. Thanks for the tour! The orange jacket looks a little spooky against the bare trees.

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  5. We saw snowshoe-ers crossing the golf course yesterday - and I actually wanted to be out there. It really looked fun.

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  6. *SIGH* I wanna play in snow....

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  7. Love the birds nest pictures. Isn't it funny how 20 degrees can seem balmy this time of year?

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  8. Hi! from one WI woman to another! Those pics look like they are from my back 40 ... well cept the hunter stuff ... not allowed on our 40.

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  9. I'm so envious. You live in a winter wonderland!

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  10. Seeing the nests is a fun part of winter!
    I snowmobiled when I was a kid; took snowmobile safety courses and the whole ball of wax. Now? It seems like such an expensive hobby. Fun memories, though.

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  11. I envy your ski. We hardly have any snow at all. (Heck, I'm moving to Wisconsin. Cheese and snow... ya can't beat it.)

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. At least I can live vicariously through you. ;)

    -MM

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  12. That is lovely.
    A walk in the wood (are those woods?) indeed.

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  13. What a wonderful afternoon! But Mr. M's fake hunter would have creeped. me. out.

    Glad to know that Farmer's tracks are helpful, not frustrating to skiiers!

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  14. Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

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  15. beautiful pics, but no thanks. I'll take our forcast of 40 degrees tomorrow morning.

    I chatted with my best friend in Appleton today. She said they were expecting -30 this weekend?
    She has a horse so she is forced to go to the barn and feed him every day. Her horse really prefers to be out in the cold, but they make him sleep in the barn at night.

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  16. That is such a great description of your trek through the woods. I'm not much into freezing cold, but the more I read, the more I was suddenly willing to brave the cold and be out there in the midst of it. Very neat!

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  17. While I know it is bitter cold, can't help but feel a pang of jealousy at the treasure you found along the way.

    Beauty everywhere if you take the time to look!

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Spill it, reader.