Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

I’m writing this post from my phone, so my pick is one of my recent photos from daily life. We’re moving into winter here in Ohio, and bushes that were recently full of red and gold leaves now have ice on their berried branches.

I was playing around with framing and focus here and this was my favorite of the ones I took.

You can find more picks at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

Ahhh winters in Ohio.  We live at the very bottom of the Lake Erie snow belt, so while it could be worse, we get a lot of snow.  And when it’s not snowing, it’s cold.  Every winter I dream of being a Florida snowbird in my retirement someday.

But as much as I hate driving in the snow, I am fascinated by its beauty.  Flakes gently floating in the air.  White fluff piling up on black branches.

My toddler loves to go outside and leave his tracks in the fresh-fallen snow.  It’s also fun to see who else has been in our yard!  Here a squirrel friend was sitting; we also frequently see deer prints.


Of course, who would want to live somewhere where it’s always winter and never Christmas?  I love the whole Christmas season; it brings light to the darkness.

You can find more winter at the original Lens-Artist challenge.



Fan Art Friday: Let it Snow!


I hesitate to actually call this fan art, because it’s an original drawing and not actually fan art.  But all my sketches have gone under this series heading, so I guess this one can too. 😉

In any case, I hope you all are getting into the spirit of the season!



Snowy Morning

I hate winter, but I love shoveling snow.  Everyone else in our neighborhood has a snow blower, and I may yet break down and buy one, but this morning B and I enjoyed shoveling all 2000 sq ft or so of our gravel driveway.  (Well, I enjoyed it, I guess I can’t speak for my husband.)

We were pretty much snowed in yesterday, as the county had declared a snow emergency and the plows could not keep up.  Our city is currently conserving salt (which doesn’t work all that well anyway in these very cold temps we’ve been having).

I found a very nice set of deer tracks going across our front yard.  White-tailed deer are extremely common here and eat all my plants.  Unfortunately, coyotes are starting to follow them into more populated areas (haven’t seen any here yet).

I also saw a number of songbirds, including a woodpecker–snow shoveling is a great time for birding because it gives you an excuse to pause and take a break!

Seasonal Reads: The Dark is Rising

Do you ever find yourself coming back to a certain story at a certain time of year?  I often re-read books during a specific month or season that I feel is inextricably tied to the book.  Here’s what I’m reading right now to get in the spirit of the season.

 The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper)

It may have been The Grey King that won the Newbery, but my favorite book in Susan Cooper’s classic fantasy series is the one the series takes its name from: The Dark is Rising.  It was the first book I read in the series, and I have re-read it many a December.  When I was studying in Spain, I even found a version in the local public library (I think it was called Los Seis Signos de La Luz) to help me practice my reading skills in between the García Márquez.

The story begins on this date, Midwinter’s Eve, the day before Will Stanton’s 11th birthday.  He wakes on Midwinter Day to a different existence, because he has come into his power as an Old One, and his quest for the six Signs of the Light has begun.

Rather than the traditional Christmas cheer, this book gives the season a more ominous feel.  All Will wants for his birthday is snow, and snow he gets.  So much snow that the village is stranded, the phones out, and even fireplaces are getting doused by snow coming down the chimney.  Over the twelve days of Christmas, the Dark is rising in power, using the cold and snow to stop him from completing his quest.  The book culminates with the ride of Herne the Hunter on the eve of Twelfth Night. (If you have read the Dresden Files, you know Herne as the Erlking–pretty scary guy.)

But parts of the book do convey that Christmas warmth.  Will is one of nine children, and while I’m sure this sucks at times, at Christmas it seems idyllic.  On Christmas Eve they have a Yule log and decorate the Christmas tree, then they all go caroling and come home to cocoa and mince pies.  The caroling is another reason I love this book: it actually has the words to the second, third, and fourth verses of “Good King Wenceslas” (yes! there are more verses–five total in fact).

If you haven’t read the series, this is a great place to start, and it’s a perfect book to curl up with under blanket with some hot chocolate and watch the snow come down outside.