Morning winter walk

Bill and I went for a walk around the farm a little earlier than usual this morning because the wind is supposed to pick up later today. We could feel heat from the sun on our backs and it felt good.

As soon as we got out a bit into the front field, I turned around and snapped a picture of the snow on top of the mountains behind the house. We didn’t get more than a dusting in the valley. The higher altitudes got more snow because of the colder temps.
Snow on the mountains

The pine trees in the front field that just a few months ago were nearly hidden by the tall grass are now very visible.

Young pine trees

There are a lot of hunters in our area, but we still have plenty of deer as evidenced by all the fresh tracks.
Deer tracks

Most of the Eastern hemlocks in our woods are dead or dying. They are under attack from the woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect introduced into this country from East Asia that feeds on the sap of the hemlocks. The insect has infested hemlocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 10 years and in Shenandoah National Park since the late 1980s. In these areas as many as 80 percent of the hemlocks have died due to infestation.

Here’s a hemlock on our property (in the very center of the picture) that is just starting to show the effects of infestation. Trees generally die within four to 10 years after infestation.
Infested eastern hemlock

Wingstem covered the fields with their yellow blossoms from late summer well into the fall. Now the dried stalks, reaching six feet into the air, are all that remain.

Wingstem stalks
Time to head back where cutting and splitting firewood is on the agenda and, of course, football playoffs. Callie was not excited about going home because she hadn’t finished checking out all the field mouse and vole hiding places. As usual, she brought up the rear as we headed home.

Callie coming home

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
~ Henry David Thoreau

38 thoughts on “Morning winter walk

  1. Thanks, Jo Ann, for sharing your morning walk with us. It’s interesting to me to hear you mention that you can feel the warmth of the sun already. It’s going to be a few months yet, here before we’ll be able to say the same. You have a beautiful property. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

    • I’m sure we’ll get lots more cold weather, but it was great to feel the sun, if only for a short time. I look forward to your next post, Heather – I always learn so much!

  2. Your property looks awesome – all that space! I guess you are living your dream – not everyone gets to accomplish that so good for you – enjoy!

    • Sometimes when I get up in the morning and see the mountains out our bedroom window I do feel like I’m dreaming. Thanks for visiting!

  3. When I grow up I want a house/castle as beautiful as that!! The snow is beautiful…when it is up on the mountain!! Your nature shares are a genuine pleasure and so often educational at the same time! Callie looks so disapointed though. TU Again!

    • I told a friend who shared a picture of snow in Colorado that I love snow…in Colorado. haha. Callie loves it outside even when it’s cold – we have to drag her in.

  4. I do morning walks everyday with Kiana. She keeps her nose to the ground and I keep my eyes on the trees. It is a special time of day and starts us both out in ” our happy place.” Glad you et al share that experience.
    For a treat, we walk at night and I wear a head lamp. Nature’s mysteries really come alive in sound when darkness covers up the visual.

    • Bill gave me a BirdCam for Christmas. Once we get it programmed and up, we can take pictures or videos of the activity around the feeders. It has a flash so we can take pictures at night too and see all the little night creatures.

  5. Beautiful walk, Jo Ann. Thank you for sharing it with us. I really enjoyed it. 🙂
    I am sorry to hear about the hemlocks. We’ve recently started planting them on our property and now I wonder if that was a mistake. I’ll have to look into it.

    • See my comment to the previous post, Scott. Unfortunately, it’s too late for us, but the national parks are working to kill the insect. That’s why I suggested to Robin that she contact her forester.

  6. I’d contact your local forester. I know there are chemicals that you can spray on to kill the insect eggs but don’t know much beyond that. We just moved here a year or so ago and it’s too late for us to save ours as most are already dead. It’s serious because hemlocks provide shade for trout and other fish in local creeks that like cold water.

    • Thanks, Emma. I see you’re a beekeeper – our honey bees are out. I was working around the house and they kept coming around to see what I was doing. It’s maybe 50 degrees here.

      • Honeybees are nosy insects aren’t they? Most of the time I think their just curious what we are doing when looking in the hive because they don’t seem cross about it. We’ll also get the odd one or two come and visit at the apiary table and buzz around the tea. Sounds hot where you are, the bees may have been a bit thirsty and looking for some damp laundry or a leaky tap/drain to have a drink.

  7. Yes, it’s kind of a triple whammy after losing the American chestnut and elm trees due to blight, but I guess these things happen with nature. I’m glad that you liked the post. There is so much in nature to enjoy.

  8. I love crisp winter walks. We always get nice, cold winter days … with snow and it’s so refreshing to enjoy the fresh air and the surroundings. I’ve also been visiting friends in Virginia a lot, and there is some beautiful places there to go hiking, at least from what I’ve seen. I hope to see more of it one day!

    And how cute is your doggy! Our dog is a bit olg for long walks, but he still enjoys a walk around the block every morning. 🙂

    • Yes, there are many places to hike. We’re close to both the Jefferson and Washington National Forests. Looks can be deceiving when it comes to dogs, Callie looks like a lap dog, but she loves to explore the farm and even on those shorts legs, she covers a lot of ground.

  9. A college friend grew up in Lexington, and we hiked in the Washington and Jefferson National Forests a bit. It’s a lovely area of the country, but I’ve never visited there in winter. Thanks for sharing the view! (And I’m still hopeful on behalf of the hemlocks….)

  10. My husband and I fell in love with the town of Lexington the first time we visited. We came back many times to hike the National Forests before we finally moved there. We’re too busy around the farm to do much hiking, but still enjoy driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Thanks for visiting!

  11. You live in a beautiful part of the world! Thanks for stopping by my blog, The Hazel Tree. PS Callie is really cute, too!

    • It is beautiful and we are fortunate that we have lots of wildlife so plenty of material for my blog! Thanks for commenting.

  12. It’s always a pleasure reading about other folk’s “morning walks” – can often be a quiet time when the beauty of the surroundings can really be appreciated. Used to do this too on occasion. Especially loved the silence of a hill ridge above a glen here in my home Scotland when it sometimes seems as if it’s juts you and nature.
    Many thanks for dropping by and I’ll be sure to drop in to your lovely site quite often.

    • Glad you enjoyed reading it. I love those solitary walks where you can go at your own place and take the time to see and appreciate what’s there to be seen. Thank you for dropping by!

  13. What a nice walk! It’s so cold here. The last winter walk my husband and I went on here in Minnesota was on New Year’s Day and it was freezing cold!

    • We’ve had crazy ups and downs with our weather – 3 days in the single digits, then yesterday it got to 70 degrees. The birds and other wildlife have to be very adaptable!

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