Archive for December 24th, 2010

I just got back from my last massage appointment until after the beginning of the year.   I have developed the tradition of resting the week between Christmas and New Year’s.   Generally, a lot of people are traveling, or doing stuff with their kids, and business is slow that week anyway.   This just makes it officially slow.  And I truly need the rest.   I managed to develop a case of what I am pleased to call “Bermuda Grass Elbow”, which is identical to “Tennis Elbow,” but I didn’t get it playing tennis.   Whatever you call it, it feels the same and I need a rest so it can heal.

Last night a storm system moved into the Ozarks and started dropping badly needed precipitation on us.   Too bad it was in the form of freezing rain.   Fortunately, the cold front moved in quickly and the rain changed to sleet, which can make the roads nasty but at least your trees aren’t breaking.  Then later on, after dawn, we had a little flurry of snow that coated all that ice and made things just a tad treacherous for walking.

The very thin layer of ice that encrusted everything was really very magical.  This was an icicle that formed on the west fence near where my clematis climbs during the summer.

I had to bring the bird feeders down and break the layer of ice off them before the little birds could eat.   They were pretty much waiting in line for me to figure out the problem this morning.   There wasn’t a lot to eat in the yard because of the ice.   Once I got the ice off the feeders, I scattered a little feed on the ground and it wasn’t long before the crowd showed up.

While they were waiting for me to get the ice off those feeders, the little birds availed themselves of the buffet out by the pond.   There is a patch of jerusalem artichokes out by the pond that just showed up one year.   At first, I didn’t know what that plant was, and it was very small.  Then it got happy.

That’s it on the right above, in full bloom.   I used to meticulously dead head it every year, until I discovered how much the finches like it as a food source in the cold parts of the winter.   Even when there has been freezing rain they can still get the seeds out of the flower heads.   This is a part of the gold finch flock busily feeding on the old jerusalem artichoke seed heads from this summer.

They were so busy they didn’t really notice me creeping up on them.   If I had a telephoto lens I could probably have gotten some real good pictures.

After they left the area because I got too close, I slowly crept around the screen of plants and discovered that a couple of the finches had decided that they had to have a drink.  So they descended  to the little pool that always stays open on my waterfall.   Apparently there is just enough friction in the electric motor that runs the pond pump that the water stays warm enough not to freeze in the little water fall as long as the pump stays running.

The birds really appreciate having open water.

That finch on the left sat there and dithered for a good two minutes, and then decided that he could not miss out on using the bathing facilities.    He hopped down into that shallow spot of the pool right in front of him, and proceeded to splash and throw water around for several minutes.

I managed to capture water splashing, which really doesn’t look like that much in that shot.  You can see a little junco up in the right corner of the shot, who was patiently waiting for the finch to stop splashing water around before it went down for a drink.

Back behind the pond, the bittersweet vine berries are looking very lovely in their dress of ice.

It looks like we might have a white Christmas after all.  But not too white.   That would make travel difficult, and there are a lot of people who want to have breakfast with their families, or go to church, or whatever, in the morning.


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