Winter blew in last night, real winter that clutches the throat and burns the face, single digit winter that can burst water pipes if one doesn't leave the faucets dripping, winter that can kill plants in the ground, winter like we haven't seen in years here in my part of the world. It will only last a few days, unlike some unfortunate parts of the country that must deal with frigid weather for prolonged periods of time. Temperature is expected to drop as low as 9 degrees tonight. The lowest temperature in my memory was 4 degrees, back when I was a child. This morning I saw some snow flakes, and I dug through the closet to find my heavy coat.
Cold air does something to the heavens. Clear days are sharp and icy blue. Cloudy days are cloaked in heavy gray, but is any sky more beautiful than a winter sunset of violet, sulfur, and copper red?
Cold weather has brought the hawks closer to the house, perhaps looking for food. I hate to tell them, but all our ground squirrels are safely tucked into their warm burrows, sleeping through the cold spell. We hear the hawks shrieking all day. This Red-shouldered Hawk sat on a branch while I took my photos, no doubt eyeing me, too:
Despite the snowflakes this morning, I have no snowy scenes to share. A few days ago when I walking in the garden, I did find a little iceberg in a birdbath. I also found a couple of winter collages of hickory nuts, leaves, and rotted wood, so typical of this time of year; but I like the earthy color and shape combinations:
Winter shadows transpose tree forms across the garden:
While I walked, I found a few seed heads from last year, still clinging to weary, old branches. This one holds promise of future toad lilies:
As dusk approached, I took some shots in the woodland garden, stripped to its winter bones:
As you see, my garden is never completely bare, because there are many evergreens. Here are some plants that provide color and interesting leaf form in the winter garden, as well as through other parts of the year:
What is your weather like? Whatever it is, may your home be happy; and may your garden prosper in this new year!