Ol’ Man Winter’s Last Gasp?

We had five or six inches of snowfall from yesterday’s storm (sigh). All in all, we haven’t had a bad winter, but I’m tired of the cold and snow and wish spring would get on with it. Here’s some pictures from my walk today. Beautiful, yes, but I’m hoping Ol’ Man Winter is packing his bags and heading out of town!

View through the valley of the Short Hills

View through the valley of the Short Hills

Autumn in the wetland by the brook

female cardinal

A female Northern Cardinal and Dark-eyed Juncos

Seadheads from last year's ironweed

Seadheads from last year’s ironweed

The beehives

The beehives

Path down to the back field

Path down to the back field

Are you as ready for spring as I am?

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nature is powerful therapy

Does nature have an effect on people’s health and feeling of well-being? Common sense would seem to say that it does, but there are recent studies that back up that supposition. An article in Scientific American (“Nature that Nurtures,” March 2012) cited studies showing that hospital patients with windows looking out on leafy trees healed, on average, faster and needed less pain medication than patients whose window looked out on a brick wall. Other studies documented that just three to five minutes spent looking at a view dominated by trees, flowers, or water can begin to reduce anger, anxiety, and pain.

Now I don’t know about you, but I figured this out some time ago! I used to go on long trail rides on my horse whenever I felt the need to unwind. Feeling the movement of the horse and taking in the surroundings was a sure-cure for the blues or mental fatigue. These days, I no longer own a horse, but I get the same therapeutic benefits by going for a walk. Whatever thoughts are swirling around in my brain take a back seat to the power of nature to amaze and fascinate. The photos I chose for this post weren’t taken recently, but I picked them to show tranquil scenery that makes me feel good even when I’m just looking at the pictures!

The road to our farm with the Short Hills in the background


South Buffalo Creek


Some of my best times with nature are those spent alone. With no distractions, I can breathe in the smell of wet leaves and damp earth, feel the soft ground give where the voles have made a labyrinth of tunnels underneath, and hear the faraway cry of the lone raven calling from the mountain top. As I walk, my thoughts and everyday cares drift to the joys and mysteries of nature around me.

No matter what’s going on in my life, getting outside can brighten my mood and give me a new perspective on the world. When was the last time you gave nature a chance to work its magic?

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses
put in order. – John Burroughs

welcome to my world!

I woke up this morning to the sun rising over the Short Hills Mountains. With no other sounds to drown them out, I could hear the individual calls of chickadees, titmice, sparrows, bluebirds, and a host of other birds emerging from their roosts.

Finding the lure of their singing irresistible, I put on a jacket and went out onto the porch to take in the morning. My presence was soon noted by a red-bellied woodpecker who greeted me with a rolling churr, churr, as if to say, “Fine day, isn’t it?” In the background, I could hear South Buffalo Creek, hurrying to join the Maury River. Standing there, it came to me that this really is just another day in paradise.

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. — Aristotle