My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snow Day!

Well, our big winter storm moved out about a day early (sorry, Midwest friends, it appears to be headed for you now!), but it stayed long enough to significantly drop both snow and the temperatures (it was -3ºF with winds gusting to 25mph this morning!) The cold isn't pretty but the snow is, so I got several photos of the local scenery yesterday morning during a winter wonderland walkabout. (And at about 4:30 that afternoon, BW and I went to a nearby liquor store for a "winter brews" beer tasting. Our favorite of the two beers offered was New Belgium's appropriately named Snow Day, but it's just a coincidence that it's also the title of my post. *burp*) ;-)

If you saw the video on my last post, you'll recognize this scene of the footbridge into Kendrick Park, taken from our front porch at 4:30 yesterday morning...

And here's the same scene about four hours later, now with daylight. And ducks!

Poor darlings look so cold but they seem pretty content despite the frigid water, ice and snow in which they swim, stand and lie. They keep their heat-trapping down feathers nice and dry with all their preening, which spreads an oily film over the contour feathers that cover their down. As for how they keep their feet from freezing, I was mystified till I looked it up and learned about the rete mirabile (Latin for "miraculous web") in their feet and legs. So I guess I won't have to knit them fuzzy slippers for Christmas! :-)

On my way to Whitney Commons (the park on the other side of our cottage), I passed this snowy faerie gateway beckoning passersby into an enchanting secret snow-garden! (Actually, these are huge old lilac bushes surrounding a vacant lot, which is slated to become yet another small public park area)...

If you click on the Whitney Commons link above, you'll find a map (we enter from the west entrance on Jefferson St) and can see how pretty most of the following scenes look in summer. But I also found it beautiful on this very quiet, snowy morning...

The little log building with its back to us is the Mandel Cabin, Sheridan's earliest building, which originally served as both a private home and the town's first post office. Built in 1880, it was moved to Whitney Commons from its original location about two blocks away...

This is the scene looking back the way we came. I love the festive holiday touches, which were just put up shortly before the storm (nice timing!)...

The entrance to the Dorothy King Reflective Garden, my favorite spot in Whitney Commons (or in all of Sheridan!) With its central fountain, beautifully paved walking paths and meditative labyrinth, the Mandel cabin, and tons of roses, irises, other flowers (mostly native) and ornamental grasses, it's a wonderful place to read a book, eat lunch, or just be. At least when it's not covered in snow!...

You can keep an eye on this and several other spots in Whitney Commons via these live web cams. Chances are, you'll see me walking the dogs or riding by on my bike a couple times or more a day (depending on the weather!), so I'll try to remember to wave at the cameras just in case you're watching! :-)

I'm clearly smitten with the old-fashioned look of the wreaths on the lampposts (which also line Main Street)...

We're not the only ones enjoying a winter walkabout today! There go our duck friends, promenading down Smith Street (which runs behind our cottage)...

At the risk of making you sick of looking at it, here's another photo of Dragonfly Cottage, taken from the footbridge and this time surrounded by a lot more snow...

Haven't photographed it from this angle before ~ the sunporch off the living room, taken from the walking path that runs along its west side...

And an especially wintery look at it, this time taken from inside Kendrick Park on the other side of the creek...

While I was taking these creekside photos of the cottage, this little friend swam up and climbed onto a slab of ice at the bottom of the bank to say hi (and to perhaps reassuringly remind me of his rete mirabile foot warmers!) ;-)

Now that I've dragged you out into the cold with me, I promise to make it up to you by wrapping you up in more warm, snuggly quilts with Part 3 of the Quilt Show on Monday! :-) Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


  1. Yes, and I want hot chocolate as well.
    These photos are wonderful. You live in such a lovely spot and the cottage looks inviting. But I am not ready for that degree of winter yet. I get cross if I have to wear a woolly hat.

  2. See, I don't mind snow at all when it's looking at pictures of it! It's all so pretty, especially with your cottage. It looks like the heavy, wet kind of snow which gets so stick. Everything is so white! I'm always amazed at how much quieter it makes things, too.

    The ducks are so adorable and I love that picture of them taking a walk, all in a row. Cuteness!

    Here's hoping that storm is heading north of here..... :o I'm not ready for snow yet! Then again, I never am. :)

  3. This is enchanting, and I sight we never see. Thank you so much.

  4. You captured some lovely winter scenes!

  5. those little snowy waddlers. Ducks are so cute and funny.

    I've always wondered about their poor little feet! Seems like their feathers keep them pretty warm otherwise, but those little feet. So glad to know about them...thanks for the link!

    Snow is lovely. I like it for short periods of's magical just after it's fallen. The faery gateway is certainly beckoning...

  6. I am commenting again, because goose that I am I forgot to tick for follow up comments. It is even more magical on my second visit. Thank you.

  7. I just had to stop by your blog too! What a fun entry, even though it shows cold, bitter cold snow;) I am so not ready for snow and to love it. Image of it falling is really pretty and what a lovely place to live. Take care~

  8. These scenes look so much more desirable than the inferno we had this past summer...thanks.

  9. hannah ~ Okay, one hot chocolate, coming up! I'm glad you enjoyed these wintery photos, and you should be VERY glad you're getting to experience these scenes vicariously, because it's minus 20ºF out there right now!! That temperature would probably easily be in the "makes Hannah cross" category. ;-) (It's supposed to warm up "rapidly" into the +20s by later this morning... we'll see!)

    Molly ~ You're right on, it was a heavy wet snow that clung to everything and made it all so pretty! Then the temps really dropped and it turned into the kind of snow with diamonds in it. Extra pretty! And I really love the sound-muffling quality of a blanket of snow.

    I've never lived around ducks before, so it's been really fun to watch their antics! They are so cute. I love it when they dive to eat some aquatic plant snack in the creek with their cute little butts sticking up out of the water. I got some great duck photos a few days ago, so they'll be in a future post. I am happily amazed at how many photo ops I'm getting living here - it's impossible to keep up with my own blog! :-) I saw something out of the corner of my eye the night the snow arrived (but before it started snowing), and saw what I thought was a huge dog walking down the walking path in front of our cottage. Then I saw antlers! It was the big buck who lives around here with his little family! Walking right past our windows! I was thrilled - never dreamed I'd get to enjoy that experience living a block from downtown!

    I haven't checked the national weather yet to see if you got your wish, but I hope the storm skirts you too.

    Ellie C ~ You are most welcome! Have you ever gotten to experience snow anywhere? As I said in my reply to you on the previous post, I hope seeing our snow photos helps make you feel nice and cool during your too-hot summer months (I know your outdoor photos will make me feel nice and warm!) :-)

    Jeannelle ~ Thank you! I froze my photo-taking button-pressing finger off, but it was worth it. :-)

  10. Rose ~ They sure are! And the girls are very talkative (I learned they're the ones that are doing all the quacking!) I still haven't quite gotten used to the sight of them flying past our windows! Love it!

    I'd wondered the same thing about all the songbirds on our feeders, with their bare little feet. But I really wondered it about the ducks, since their feet are so much bigger and flatter and look so soft! I just shudder seeing their pretty orange feet splayed out on the ice like in that last photo on this post! Brrrr! I knew they had to have something going on to keep their tootsies warm, but had never heard of rete mirabile till I found that link. You're welcome, btw! :-)

    Snow in short bursts (and not after St. Patrick's Day) would be pretty ideal. It does seem we get warmish sunny weather not long after our snowstorms that melt most of it. I can tell it's a lot colder down here in this low spot in town than it was up on "Inversion Mountain," though! Plus we're shaded more here, by the juniper trees on our west side. Add the effects of the creek right there and I doubt I'll be doing nearly as much basking in January on the porch as I did on our deck! ;-)

    I love that little vacant lot surrounded by all those lilacs. I hope they don't cut those lilacs down when they turn it into another part of the park system (though rumor has it that's what they're planning!)

    Ellie C ~ It's lovely that you returned, and that you mentioned why you're commenting again, because I thought Blogger had dispensed with that follow-up comments feature! Glad to know it's still available, and that these photos were even more magical the second time around! :-)

    Mary ~ Thanks for exploring my blog further! I'm glad you enjoyed this post, despite your current unreadiness for snow. :-) I think this is a lovely place to live too, right between Sheridan's two prettiest parks. We just moved here to this cottage we're renting in September, after selling our much bigger house on 10 acres on the side of a mountain about 15 miles away (where we'd lived for 19 years), so it's all a pretty fun novelty to me. More to photograph and blog about here than I'd thought there would be just a couple of blocks from Main Street!

    veganelder ~ I can imagine! You had an AWFUL summer, and I hope you'll experience a lovely fall and winter to make up for it. I'll bet the residents of Reno would like to trade what they're going through for our snowstorm any day, too.

    (By the way, be sure to read my reply comment to Molly, you'll love hearing about the visiting buck!)

  11. I know we are neighbours and all....but do you mind keeping the snow on your side of the border?
    Jane x

  12. Jane ~ Ahem. This storm came from the NORTH, which ~ if my astute grasp of geography serves ~ is where YOU are, neighbor! ;-)~

  13. Me again.
    I usually avoid looking at cat pictures, but yours, reading with such horrified attention, had me in stitches. As if she's just come across the offending paragraph in DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover {back in the twenties that is] and can't believe her beautiful eyes.
    Any Bryson reader is my friend for life, but the Pratchett worries me a little :-).

    Oh, and another thing:
    If ducks' feet don't stick, what about duck tape then?

  14. Wow, I really enjoying your wintery shots. Pure white, lovely, soft and delicate!

    That's a kind of view that I can't see here, tropical region.

  15. TW! The area near your cottage is very cool. Somehow, it's not what I expected. You're lucky to have such great surroundings. Enjoy your "wonderful" weather ;-)....still jealous!! xoxo

  16. hannah ~ Welcome back! :-) You usually avoid looking at cat pictures? LOL! Well, I'm glad you risked a peek at my aghast feline reader. ;-) (I'd just replaced an image of a stack of books, which had grown boring to me, with this one). I can't tell if she's scandalized or petrified by what she's just read, but I love your scenario!

    Funnily enough, it was our long-time English friends who put us onto Bill Bryson when they sent us "Notes from a Small Island" for Christmas in 1996, a few months after our first visit to England. We were instant fans, and have devoured several of his books since. I'm really enjoying "At Home" (though my vegan sensibilities have me reading most of the food parts with the same expression as our cat friend!), which is more interesting than funny. But it's Bryson, so he works his sardonic humor into it now and then!)

    But what is this, are you dissing your brilliant countryman Terry Pratchett? "Good Omens" is one of my favorite books, his collaboration with Neil Gaiman (whose "Neverwhere" I also love) is wonderful. So I guess if Pratchett wrote an illustrated DiscWorld book about cats, you wouldn't be queueing up to buy it, then? LOL

    Haha about "duck" tape! ;-)~

    lina ~ Thank you! I'm glad you've been enjoying our snowy landscape and love your poetically accurate description of it! I enjoy scenery photos from parts of the world that look very different than what I'm used to seeing, too. I remember the first (and so far only) time I was in a tropical environment (Costa Rica), I gawked for days at everything. Even after 3 weeks, I never did quite get over the novelty of papayas and bananas growing in the backyard, or trees full of monkeys and parrots!

    Spud ~ It really is a pretty ideal spot, especially for being right in the heart of town. I used to stop by Whitney Commons a lot during my weekly marathon trips to town - great spot to walk the dogs or meet Robyn for lunch on nice days. I hadn't explored Kendrick Park all that much, so it's been a lot of fun living right between them and discovering all the places the walking paths will take us! And the girls get just as excited about their in-town leash walks as they ever did about their country hikes! (But this spring, we'll be taking them off-roading once again out on the ranch where Mocha stays, the place that had all the beautiful sunflowers in August/September!)

    We're gradually getting inspections done and gathering estimates on what needs to be done to this place, and what we'd just like to do, and then we'll see if we can work out a deal to buy it for a price we can afford. We hope so, I think this would be a pretty fun place to camp out till BW retires in 4 years (and possibly beyond, but we'll see!) :-)

    You'll get snow soon, Spudly! Ours will be melting starting today - temps are supposed to warm up into the mid-30's and upper 40's all week, with mostly sunny skies. (Not looking forward to a muddy yard and having to wipe all those paws several times a day!)

  17. Oh no!!! You mean I sent the snow to you?
    Hanging head in utter shame,Jane x

  18. Jane ~ It's okay, I forgive you! :-) Besides, it's not your fault that Canada's #1 export to the US is cold fronts! lol

  19. You are so lucky to have found such a lovely place to live. I love ducks too but didn't know about their feet, I think David could do with some of that membrane - he's always complaining about his circulation when its cold. I on the other hand am definitely a cold weather type of person and can't wait for winter to be out and about with the camera.

    I read Notes from a Small Island years ago - it actually made me cry with laughing. The bit about the dog and the stick in particular...

    I just read how Hannah avoids looking at cat pictures - I am speechless!!!

  20. Barbara ~ We are, and I'm curious to see how things shake out and if we'll still be living here (as owners) come spring. This place has a lot going for it, and some things going against it, so we're gathering inspections, estimates and information right now, along with keeping our eyes open for anything else that comes on the market that might work for us. We're really lucky to get to rent this place for several months before making a decision. They let you test drive cars before buying them, why not houses? :-)

    Like you, I enjoy winter (and I'm looking forward to your winter pictures!) and don't mind the cold weather at all, but like David my feet are almost always cold! I think you and BW should get David and me a pair of these for Christmas. LOL!

    I love that part from Notes from a Small Island too, as well as the whole bit where he's in the gathering room of the boarding house, watching TV with the residents. I need to read that book again, it's been quite a while! (So many books, so little time, as usual!)

    I wondered if you'd see that in Hannah's comment! I'll bet if she could see your "Drama in the Garden" series especially, she'd make your blog an exception to her cat-photo-avoidance rule! (Seriously, Hannah, check it out!) :-)

  21. You make it hard to pick a favorite photo when you include so many!! But I'm NOT complaining!!

    My vote for most artistic is the photo of the entrance into the Dorothy King Garden. I love how welcoming it is and how the snow is pristine and covers everything.

    My favorite of the subject photos is the second photo on the post with the ducks. I tried to click on the rete mirabile link but it took too long and wouldn't open. I'll take your word for it that they'll be OK because frankly I have no faith in you knitting them fuzzy slippers. Buying them maybe...

    Lunch is over. I think I'll have to come back to this one when I have more time. I didn't have time for a twice over!

  22. Jo ~ I love that you're devising categories in which to put and vote on photos! :-) That's fun! Had I known your categories ahead of time, I'd have guessed the wreath photo would have been your "artistic" favorite. But the Dorothy King Garden entrance one is a great pick too. Usually those gates are open, but for some reason during that storm, they had them closed and locked for a few days (maybe those cobblestone paths were just too slick). Made for a great photo op, but I was needing to get in there and read the Mandel cabin sign for info for this post! I thought about squeezing through the gate bars, but then remembered everything is filmed on those webcams and thought better of it. ;-)

    Are you dissing my knitting skills?! Of which I have none? ;-) I guess with my limited skill set I'd have to photograph some slippers, print the photos, then cut them out and tape them to their feet. LOL

  23. It looks like Christmas in your area with all the snow. Your dragonfly cottage is absolutely charming -- I imagine you are very content there. Thought I would stop by during my hiatus to see what you were up to. Your posts are such uppers. -- barbara

  24. Barbara ~ Nice to see you again! I hope your hiatus is proving productive.

    It's really looking like Christmas again today, with snow and blowing snow. Very cozy! We're really loving the location of Dragonfly Cottage, and are taking full advantage of it. But I still don't feel quite settled and organized (having all these back-to-back holidays on the heels of moving in hasn't helped!) But I'll get there eventually. We still haven't decided whether to buy this place, are waiting for some estimates on things that need to be done. We've looked at a couple of other places in the meantime, but haven't found a place that would work (and this location is spoiling us!)

    I'm happy to hear that my posts are uppers for you! Thanks for popping in!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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