It's been a year of ups and downs. I spent much of it recovering from a paralysis of half my face. It has been a time of healing, and progress has been slow, but there are signs that the healing process continues.
It was a year of loss of some very dear people in my life, but also a year of joy with new babies, and witnessing the little ones in our family growing up.
I still travel to my mother's place every weekend. She will turn 90 in about three weeks. Happy Birthday, Mom.
Whenever I can fit in time, I get out and enjoy nature. The warmer weather of spring brought the flowers, nesting birds, young fawns, and baby bunnies. It's a time of renewal and I don't think there is a better time of year.
Summer was a time for walking in the woodlands and along the shore. There was the normal assortment of Cottontail Rabbits, White Tailed Deer, Egrets, Herons, Swans, and a variety of songbirds.
When autumn arrived, there was some very strange weather. First a hurricane, followed by flooding rains, and then a rare snowstorm that left about a foot of snow on the ground here.
When Hurricane Irene made its way up here, we decided to pack up the cats and head west to New York. Because of the brook behind my house that rages out of control in the rain, and weather forecasters talking about "feet of rain", it seemed like the best thing to do. It was great to get away for a couple of days, but coming back home was a nightmare, with most roads underwater. A six to seven hour drive took eighteen hours to get home.
The first morning after returning home, I discovered a couple of raccoons had taken up residence in the "squirrel nesting" tree. They allowed me to get very close to them and I would stand there, or sometimes sit there, watching them for awhile. Sometimes they watched me, too, while at other times they were relaxed enough to just fall asleep, fully aware that I was still there. Great fun!
About a week later, there was some very heavy rain that took its toll on the rivers and streams. That storm caused some damage to certain areas around my brook. The neighbors had substantial damage to their little footbridge that crosses the brook.
A few weeks later, a very rare autumn snowstorm moved in. The leaves were just beginning to turn color in late October, and with the weight of the snow, there was heavy damage. All night I listened to the branches on my trees cracking. I cringed with every crack, knowing that my favorite tree was out there and being destroyed limb by limb. The next morning, my fears about the weeping cherry outside my window were realized. About 3/4 of the tree was lost in the storm, so I'm not sure if it will survive. Aside from its beauty, the weeping cherry has been a wonderful perch for the mama and daddy birds that would bring their babies to that tree to feed them, which gave me a "birds eye" view to observe them from my window. Spring and summer next year should reveal if the tree will make it.
The storm took out the electricity and it was out for days - no generator, no fireplace, no way to heat the house. It was so cold that one morning I awoke and it was 38°F/3°C outside, so I opened the windows to "warm" the house. The town opened the school for warm showers, offered charging stations for cell phones, computers, etc., and provided food and shelter to those in need. After eight days, the lights (AND HEAT!!!) finally came on in the middle of the night and I think I might have gotten up and danced... or maybe that was just a dream. ;-)
The snow melted within a week, and what was left of the autumn leaves, gave us an acceptable autumn. Many of the leaves were damaged in Connecticut - mostly wind and salt water damage from the storms, but this area of the state wasn't bad compared to the rest of the state.
I hope you all are well. Missing my blogging buddies, but life takes its turns. Some pictures from the past year. I hope you enjoy!
In the spring, I enjoyed fields of daffodils
There were many Wild Turkeys, as the population continues to grow here.
This bird was at a local park and sitting in a garden of daffodils
By the end of summer, this swan and I had become good friends. I would softly call to him from across the pond, he would wiggle his tail, start to swim, and decide it wasn't fast enough. He always came directly toward me and would settle into the water right in front of me. They would bring their babies right to shore. On the last day I saw them, before the parents took the babies out to the marshes, he came up onto to the land to greet me, as if to say "Goodbye". This is the third year we've watched the swans and their babies at this pond. Maybe he recognizes me. Who knows?
While sitting at Mom's bedside, I can look out the window and sometimes see deer frolicking in the grass. What a treat.
Swallowtail Butterflies were plentiful this summer, but even more so in the autumn
Some mornings, I would stop at this place and have breakfast by a pond. When lucky, this Egret would show up and catch its breakfast too.
Yellow Warbler. When I see them flying across the fresh water marsh where I like to walk, they look like little yellow bullets
This was the first time I spotted the rockies. I was looking out my kitchen window and couldn't believe my eyes. These two critters stayed upside down sleeping most of the day.
Like I said earlier, the weather has been strange. Lilacs in the autumn, as well as some apple blossoms and daffodils!
This is one of the baby squirrels I used to write about. There were four of them. One of the babies and the Mama were hit by cars, but three of them still come back to the squirrel tree. They had left for awhile because of the raccoons, but they are back. They still sit there and watch me. I love it!
After the snow pictures, it seems strange to see colored leaves, but yes, there was still autumn after the snow.
And that brings us up to winter again, but there isn't anything to show you. The leaves are off the trees, but the weather is fairly warm still, and it looks like it won't be a "White Christmas" here.
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever Holy holiday you might celebrate. Happy 2012!