A Walk About the Neighborhood

1611231_coldweather

[ Cold temperatures! ]

December 31 – This blog will be short, at least much shorter than usual! It has been so cold around here that we haven’t been out walking for a couple weeks! Can you imagine that? Well, I’ll tell you. I did not appreciate the change, not at all. For people who are used to being outside for a good part of the day, it was really hard to keep working or studying every day INDOORS, all day! Of course, there was a good bit of shopping to do and going across the way to join nearly 25 others who had come to enjoy a huge and scrumptious Christmas dinner. Those activities are always enjoyable even though I did eat more than I should have. (I was already full, but couldn’t resist the pecan pie that just begged for me to cut myself a piece. Yummm!)

161231_burningbarrel

[ Burning barrel this summer ]

So, when we heard that we’d have a bright day or two this week with temps in the fifties, I knew I would be walking. Poor Dale has a hard time these days when the wind is pretty strong and the air cold. Strange. When he is burning the papers, and is near the barrel, the heat that is thrown off makes him quite comfortable, but if he is just outside in the cold, he has a hard time breathing.

When we talked about walking, I suggested that we start out around eleven o’clock because the weather was warming up. Dale wanted to start later. So as it turned out, about 12:30pm we were on our way walking up the little hill to a friend’s house to deliver a gift. On our way home Dale mentioned that he was having trouble with breathing because of the cold, so I continue on by myself while he sat at the computer composing a poem about New Years to be read at a gathering on New Year’s Eve. He is a real poet and comes up with the exact words needed for every idea he wants to put across.

161231_osageorange

[ Osage oranges ]

As I crossed over the creek, I decided to walk over the pond wall to see if the squirrels had left any of the osage oranges we had picked up earlier in the fall and tossed beyond the area I mowed. We must have thrown at least one hundred of those big yellow / green balls, but now I couldn’t see even one! No whole ones, nor even one bit of evidence that the squirrels had ripped apart the fruit and chewed off what they enjoyed eating. That was quite a mystery to me because earlier in the morning, on my solo walk I had found another 50 or so in the midst of big piles of orange pieces that had been left behind when the seeds were eaten! Off to the side of the trail I found one, huge, orange, squishy and soft, with purple and yellowish color.

161231_snowbamboo

[ Snowy bamboo ]

Going back along the path, I found lots of fallen branches that had broken off during the very strong winds. Those I picked up were added to the two piles already in the area, waiting to be burned in a huge bonfire. It didn’t take long to walk back around the trail to the bamboo where it is obvious that the canes really froze when the ice and snow kept us inside. On the other side of the trail we will have a big job to do when we decide to burn the huge woodpile that has been getting bigger and bigger as the pruned branches from the trees were dumped there. Dale also put some big cardboard boxes atop the branches; those boxes which were ruined when one of the pipes in our basement froze because of the ten-below temperature.

As I walked on towards the house, I found that the pine trees are still losing their needles and the ground was full of them. Soft they were, but those needles are prickly when you handle them with your hands instead of a rake! – CHRIS

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