Is it Gray, or is it just Winter?


We’ve been lucky with fairly mild weather so far.  But now it seems to be turning colder.  And wetter.  Cold and wet are like friends who egg each other on to be a bit more extreme.  One by itself is ok.  Both together — they go way further than they’d independently dare.  And with the sun not being as high in the sky . . . it’s as if the supervisor has turned their back so that Cold and Wet can be even bolder.  It makes for a bit of melancholy.  Or does it?  Some people enjoy the long evenings.  Time by the fire.  The  opportunity to do crafts, or read a good book.  Or watch movies and play games together.  It’s like permission to NOT farm. 


But the problem comes when farming HAS to be done.  Then it’s cold and wet and dark, and you still have to get out there and put wood in the fire and feed the cows (do they even feel the cold?  It doesn’t look like it.) and chickens.  Chickens definitely feel the cold.  They all snuggle on the porch by the front door – collecting the heat that slides through the crack that was supposed to be fixed three years ago.  I can tell they’re there, because a collection of “chicken dust” always blows through in a certain pattern when the heat from the house isn’t strong enough to push against the cold air from the outside.  And chickens don’t lay many eggs in the winter time.  I wouldn’t want to either. 


And when there are evening things to be done (as there invariably are – like school board, and the other school board, and Pathfinders), it just seems like it’s way too late to be going out in the wet and the cold and the dark. 


I wonder how people do it where it’s perpetually dark, like for months on end.  I can’t imagine it’s just dark.  I think that cousin Dark is the worst influence on Cold and Wet.  Send in the sunshine!!  I’m not cut out for this.


You can join me in seeing all sorts of skies here. You might even see some sunshine!



Icy Skies


Hello to all my skywatch friends . . . it’s been fun visiting your amazing sites and seeing your photos.  I have not been leaving comments, but I have been stopping by.  You continue to inspire me! 

I’m doing a bit of catch-up here – about a month ago it was COLD – spring was in the air, and then it just reversed itself and turned back to winter.


The trees look misty, but they weren’t really . . . it was ICE.  brrrrrrr.  Check this out (sorry for the blur)


The ice stuck around just about all day because temperatures didn’t get high enough to melt it. 


You can see hundreds of amazing skies by visiting the skywatch blog here.

Finally Flying – Skywatch


Happy Skywatch Friday.  And an especially happy New Years to all my skywatch friends.  This has been a fun thing for me this year – and I appreciate your kind visits and comments.

The weather finally cooperated on Sunday.  My brother checked the weather and deemed it acceptable for flying.  And really, it was perfect.  I won’t spill all the fun beans on one post, but here were the highlights.

There’s my pond . . . that little puddle near the tree line.  Pretty wild, huh?  And the barns look like Monopoly houses.  This was so much fun.


When we weren’t farming we used to spend LOTS of time here – at the lake.  The water is low because the lake is used to generate electricity in the winter time.  During the summer it fills up (provided there is not a drought) and it’s a wonderful play place.  The dock nearest the center of the picture is the family lake house.  We all share it – and can play on the water any time we want.  It’s about 45 minutes away from where we live (by windy roads).


This characterizes the area pretty well – lots of rolling hills/mountains.  Very little is cleared. 


I loved being in the plane – my brother is an amazing pilot who was very generous with his time and resources. 


Hope your skies are clear and your 2009 is beautiful.  You can see other skies from all over the world by visiting here.

Fly-free Sky


One of my brothers and his wife are visiting for Christmas.  It’s so much fun having them over.  One of the things we (especially my kids) have been anticipating is his taking us flying.  He is a flight instructor and he promised to fly us over the farm and the area.  We were going to go out on Tuesday, and he took his check-flight and everything, but the plane he had reserved was broken (they found out when they were still on the ground).  So we stayed safely down.  Wednesday was rainy and not great for flying.  SO, the plan to post a flying Skywatch was nixed.

SO, the backup picture is one my daughter took with her new Christmas camera.  Just this morning.  Over the farm.  And the cows.  And the not-lately-seen pond.  I know you’ve been missing it dreadfully.  The sky is perfectly clear today.  Would be a great flying day, but we’ll be stuffing ourselves and enjoying family and opening presents.  Hopefully the weather obliges us tomorrow so next week you can have a fly-sky-watch.

You can see other Christmas Sky pictures from around the world by visiting here.  Maybe you can join too – so we can see YOUR sky!

Family Skywatch


Have you noticed how family gets involved in skywatch?  We’re driving along, or eating a meal, and one of the kids says "Hey – look at that!  It would be great for Skywatch, mom!"  And they run get a camera.  And hand it to Prince Farming.  Isn’t that funny?  And cute?  Actually I like it.  It’s like they’re taking interest in what I’m doing, like I take interest in what they’re doing.  And they hand the camera to Farming because my hands shake.  Like leaves.  So he gets steadier shots.  You all liked his pond shot a few weeks ago, so here’s a moon shot he took too.  (You know about me and moons . . . the photographing of them, I mean!!)

Actually what the kids were WANTING you to see is that there was ice/snow on the trees.  So that grayish hue isn’t fog – it’s ice.  Not as spectacular as in real life, but we can pretend that the moon was the real focus, and that makes it okay.


I’ve promised to be brief in my posts (to you AND to myself).  But I can’t resist this one (since I didn’t post yesterday).  Part of the season’s busy-ness is due to school programs and the like.  Here is a shot of the piano recital.  Both kids played in it, but the camera only worked during our favorite child’s performance (that’s what I tell my son, anyway).

Poor boy – he’ll need therapy as badly as his mom does before he grows up . . .


Happy Skywatch Friday!  You can see more skies from all over the world by visiting Skywatch Friday. 

iPhone Flood – Skywatch


On Wednesday I went for a walk (for exercise and wellness) with some of my relatives – they walk a lot, and sometimes I join them.  It had rained really hard all night.  REALLY hard.  I mean, a LOT of rain came down.  Ad being in a mountain/valley area, the water patterns make for interesting living.  You’d think that after the rain the water would be mostly gone.  But that’s just when the water starts appearing with a vengeance.  All the run-off fills every conceivable dip in the ground – the path of least resistance.  I took some iPhone shots again to share.  This is becoming a habit, maybe.  As long as the pictures turn out okay, I’m fine with it.  Don’t ask me to zoom in or anything though.  It’s less functional than the original PHD camera (Push Here Dummy).


Here’s a picture of the corn field.  Obviously the corn is long gone – but here it looks more like a rice paddy might look.


Here’s another one -

That flow of water at the top of the picture is normally there – but it’s not looking so normal in this shot.  "Normally" you can’t see water from this perspective.  The stream is WAY high.  With much more rain it will be covering one of the bridges to get onto our road.


This is the road to my parent’s-in-law’s house.  The stream flowed over the lane for a long time – but a year ago they put a culvert in.  But this rain is stretching the culvert’s capacity just a bit.  Here they were finding their way over the stream without getting wet.  Sorry it’s so blurry . . . the iPhone is only as good as its operator.


When I was leaving from the walk I saw these images that I thought you’d enjoy:

This barn was originally on my parent’s-in-law property – before they moved or built.  That means it’s more than 40 years old – and Prince Farming says it looked old then too – so maybe it’s close to 100 years old.  How can you tell?  Anyway – it looked quaint with the misty fog.  Just down from the barn is the entrance to their place – this is with me exiting their farm:

Obviously they’ve been farming for way longer than we have.  Their fences are all solid.  And, well – THERE.  They HAVE fences.  The exterior fences around our place are still waiting to be put up – and they probably will not look like this at all.  Hmmmm. 

Coming to our farm, here’s what our vegetable patch looked like:

Yep – the space to the left of the barbed wire fence across to where the grass begins is where Prince Farming planted tomatoes and potatoes. (The summer before last)   It’s a bit overgrown and neglected – and maybe that’s a good thing, considering what happens when the rain comes down!

And here’s the same field you saw in my haying pictures:

This picture is looking up towards the pond -it’s right near the top left of this shot.  Looing down from my kitchen window right now there are multiple pond-looking spots.  All equally muddy.  The rain just keeps coming.  And tonight is supposed to be Prince Farming’s office Christmas party.  And I’m supposed to wear something other than cover-alls and a hat.  Ugh.  Can’t we just stay near a fire with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate?  I guess today this farm chik isn’t all the reluctant, huh?


You can find more views of sky and places from around the world here at Skywatch Friday.

iPhone Cloudwatch


It was farm day again yesterday.  I know – it was Wednesday, and farm day is supposed to be on Thursday.  BUT Prince Farming got done at the office early, and my plans postponed, and the weather forecast predicted rain for today, so we decided to farm.  Out of necessity, I assure you.  See, the cows (the post of which you’re STILL waiting for) keep escaping from their lovely TWO fields.  They have two huge and glorious fields in which they  have free roam.  But NO – they want to go into ANOTHER field.  So they keep escaping.  It is too cold, wet, busy, and inconvenient to chase cows this month.  They need another field.  We seem to accomplish the fencing of fields in spurts – I suppose as needed.  This time the barn field fence needed to be completed.  It was mostly done, but . . . I won’t go into those details here.  It’s a skywatch post afterall.  I didn’t bring my regular camera with me.  I did have my iPhone, and couldn’t resist these shots.

I know planes fly over us frequently, but I’ve never seen the traffic in such a grid pattern before.  It was really cool.  I couldn’t capture the smallest contrails – they added a unique dimension.  But that’s okay.  Here’s a different view:

It seems like no matter what direction I looked, there were contrails.  It was amazing.  BTW – the gate in the foreground – right at the bottom left half of the picture is one we just hung – temporarily – till we can buy new gates.  This gate is too short – it is supposed to be able to open across this lane and touch the fence on the right – and the gate from that field opens and touches this fence – creating a passage through which the cows can pass from one field to the other.  Pretty nifty, huh?  I would not have thought of that – which is why I’m just the apprentice in this set up.

The day before yesterday (that would make it Tuesday, I suppose) the sky was amazing.  Again – no camera.  This is another iPhone shot – which just blows me away.  It was snowing on and off – nothing of note stuck, but the clouds and sky seemed very restless.

You can’t see as much of the orange as was present, but still – the differences in color in this small window were truly inspiring.  It reminded me of the verse: 

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork"   

                                                                                    -Psalm 19 : 1

You can see more amazing evidence of God’s handiwork by visiting the Skywatch site here, where hundreds of people share pictures of their skies every week.

Cloudy and Blue – Skywatch


It is with pleasure that I report that our mist has dissipated.  It is with displeasure that I report that FREEZING TEMPERATURES have replaced that mist.  Adding to the positive tally, however, is the fact that the skies are watch-worthy again – not that mist was horrible – it was a nice variation – but I love watching clouds.  So here is my weekly report:

Forgive me bloggers, for I have failed you.  The first snow on the rooves of our barns went un-photographed.  A double whammy, I realize. . . . for this was the new barn’s FIRST SNOW.  For the record, I am an unfit nostalgic all the way around.  I knew that I’d be miserable with follow-up.  So the old barn has no "first snow" pictures either.  In real life this is how my photographing goes as well.  You know all those 2nd and 3rd siblings who complain of diminishing pictures?  My children can never hold that over my head.  There is an equal dirth of photographs for BOTH of my children.  So there.

This was taken one morning after the family left for school/work.  You can’t tell as well in the photo, but there are layers of textures – the front clouds are fluffy and cotton-candyish.  The back clouds are more . . . ummmm. . . . textured (I have obviously not been taking notes in Dewdrops class).

But then check these out – almost made me forget the texture (sorry Dewd).


This was on the opposite side.  Can you tell how frosty the mornings have been!?  BRRRRRrrrrrrrrrr.  I almost started feeling sorry for the cows!  Not sorry enough to bring them in to the garage with the chickens, but still – it is pretty downright nippy out there.  Hey – didn’t someone call this a "mackerel sky"?  See – I do sort of pay attention (actually – it’s more about retention than it is paying attention. . . honest!)


Happy Skywatching!  There are all sorts of skies for your viewing pleasure at Skyley . . . where you might even catch a few warmer skies.


Critters of Gredemeer III- Skywatch



I keep watching for something STUNNING to appear in my sky.  And this week, the most stunning thing is that there wasn’t anything stunning.  It’s been very gray and fall almost winter-like.  Sometimes drizzly, sometimes misty, but always gray.  So here are some pictures taken just this morning (Thursday) to prove my point.  I realize now that it’s beautiful in its own way.

You don’t have to point out that this isn’t a picture of the sky – but if the trees look like this, can you imagine what the sky looks like?  Just open up a blank word document, create the entire page to a very light gray, and you’ll have the right image.  There is no variation – no tone-on-tone.  Just plain whitish-gray.


After taking the picture above, the farm dogs came up the lane, so I retook the shot – with them in it.

The grayish dog is an Australian Cattle dog, also known as a Blue-Heeler.  We adopted him as a biggish puppy from a family in town because he needed to live in the country and run.  The other dog adopted us – she is incredibly friendly, but her friendliness manifests in a low growl, which we translate as "welcome, I’m so glad to see you" but people who don’t know her translate as "I’m not going to get out of my car without sharing my sack lunch with this dog."  She has lived on our farm ever since we bought it – we feed her, get her rabies shots updated and all.  So that must make her ours, right!?  The dogs run all over and play like they’ve never been apart.  (I actually think this paragraph makes this post part of my "Critters of Gredemeer" series, don’t you?  DONE)


Both of the above pictures were taken out of our front door.  The back looks a bit brighter today because the hills aren’t so close by.  But it’s still super misty.


And so I don’t leave out you pond watchers, here’s your shot of the week:

The clouds have been thick and present all week.  And we’ve gotten some much-needed rain.  Unfortunately with the rain comes some pretty chilly temperatures.  I’m very grateful for our outdoor wood furnace, and for Prince Farming and our son who keep it well stocked.  It allows me to sit inside with short sleeves and bare feet.  Just the way I like it.


You can see more skies – sunny, cloudy, or clear by visiting skyley.  Hundreds of people are watching the skies on your behalf.



Fall Skywatch


It’s hard to believe this is my 12th Skywatch post!  In some ways I feel like I’ve been watching the sky for way longer than a few months.  In other ways I still feel like such a newbie/amateur.  But skywatching is in my blood now.  Not a day goes by without some sky observation – whether out loud, or just an internal conversation (you know – with the voices).

I was heading out the door on Sunday and Prince Farming said "if you want a cool sky picture, you should take it now" (or something along those lines).  My arms were full of stuff – so I handed him the camera, and this is what he got.  I always enjoy how the mist hangs around here in the mornings – but these layers were particularly interesting and appealing and mysterious.


Last weekend we were driving into an amazing sunset.  By the time we could pull over for a shot it was too late to see the fantastic display, but I got this picture.  I love silhouette shots (probably because with this kind of light and my kind of camera – and my kind of skill – that’s all I can get).  This isn’t stellar – just a sort of "happy spot" for me – so thanks for obliging me.


This one didn’t turn out too badly – still silhouette-ish though.


The light in the late afternoons has been stunning – really highlighting the awesome colors.  I keep threatening to go for a "walk-about" to get some different fall shots.  But here is a familiar view – the light makes the place look less like a farm and more like a park.  Or it would, if I knew how to take this shot differently.  How blessed are we!?


That pile of something near the tree is where Prince Farming is digging out a tree stump.  Aren’t you glad that tree isn’t there anymore?  You wouldn’t see much of the pond if it were.  The stump was a bit hazardous to the equipment.  Prince Farming had borrowed a little excavator (you remember – for the barn plumbing job) and tried to dig around the stump enough to get it out.  No luck.  He’ll have to wait his turn with the dozer to get it out the rest of the way.  And the cows have moved to the far field – those black specks in front of the far tree-line is part of the herd.  They seem to be loving life.   Last week I saw them run – just for the sake of it.  Don’t know if it was to warm up a bit, or because something spooked them.  I looked for dogs, but saw none.  They just sort of took off.  Too funny.  The herd is going to double some time this month – our farmer friend "Uncle Robert" has been holding on to a small herd for us.  When it’s convenient he’ll load them up and bring them over.  I hope their introduction to our farm is less blog-worthy than the current herd.  You were spared the details because they came during my pre-blogging life.  But they inspired me to start blogging because of all the adventures (and mis-adventures) they created.


You can see more amazing sky pictures from all around the world by visiting here.


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