A Little Solstice

IMG_4563We have come inside. By winter solstice, hibernation should be on the agenda. But, until recently, our weather has been so mild that we have continued with outside play. This week, with short days, a little rain, a little bluster, some frost, and a lot of gray, we finally took up wintertime pursuits.

A little Jack Frost artwork on our wooden steps. It looked almost like a woodcut.

A little Jack Frost artwork on our wooden steps. It looked almost like a woodcut.

Looks a bit like the frost fronds.

Looks a bit like the frost fronds.

George is building a beautiful bookcase, I’m making a quilt, marking up the FEDCO seed catalog, and indulging in a frenzy of beekeeping research (what kind of hive, what kind of bees, how many hives, when to order …. I’m in heaven).

We have a lot of apples wedged in tree branches. Some little critter snacked on this one.

Our property is an artwork of apples wedged in tree branches. Some little critter snacked on this one.

We had a sunny day right before Solstice and I set out to take some fungi and moss photos.

A puffball of some sort?  With a spiderweb filament across it's doorway?

A puffball of some sort? With a spiderweb filament across it’s doorway?

I grew up in New England’s woods and seemed to learn plant names by osmosis. But mushrooms, lichen, and mosses remained just that–mushrooms, lichen, and mosses–I never got any farther down the identification route.

I'm pretty sure this is a turkey tail fungus.  Lovely against the stump patterns.

I’m pretty sure this is a turkey tail fungus. Nice against the stump patterns.

Inspired by several fellow bloggers and determined to further my education, I found some lovely examples. IMG_4425But I’m still working on figuring out what they are.  IMG_4449Unfortunately most of the online sites focus on edible fungi, so I’m still in the dark on most of these.  IMG_4507IMG_4401I have been doing descriptive searches, such as “golden fungus surrounding branch” to no avail.  IMG_4321Granted, I haven’t spent much time on this (too busy researching bees), but if I wait to identify them, I’ll never get this posted.  IMG_4519I really need to get a book.IMG_4432

Things aren’t any better on the moss identification front.  But I love their miniature landscapes.IMG_4464

IMG_4466IMG_4336IMG_4389After months without a fox sighting, this week George spotted this fellow sunning across the street.IMG_4532At first I thought he might be sick or dead, he was so still.  But no, he just took advantage of a nice protected area to catch a little sun on a windy, raw day.  Smart boy.IMG_4542

Aside from the one bright day, IMG_4416we have had low clouds or have been socked in with fog.

Solstice afternoon.

Solstice afternoon.

Gloomy outside, but oh-so-very cozy within.  I appreciate the four distinct seasons here and the pendulum swing of winter solstice.

Water crystals in our roadside ditch.

Water crystals in our roadside ditch.

Zoe loves the winter. Happy holidays.IMG_4672