Checking out the neighborhood (8)

(Tall ironweed drying in a field.)

It’s day 8 of the great outdoor adventure.  Hard to believe it’s been a full week already.  Time flies, so they say, when you’re having fun.  I have a feeling it won’t go quite this fast in the depths of winter.

I decided to venture off the property and out into the neighborhood for today’s walk.  It’s another foggy morning here in the Bogs.  The air is chilly and damp with a hint of woodsmoke scenting it.  I don’t know if folks are using their fireplaces already or if it’s the leftover fragrance from a bonfire.  We have our bonfire pile set up and ready to go.  It’s just a matter of finding a good evening for it.

(Three crows.)

Wherever crows are, there is magic.  They are symbols of creation and spiritual strength.  They remind us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life.  They are messengers calling to us about the creation and magic that is alive within our world everyday and available to us.  ~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

I heard the three crows before I saw them.  Three is said to represent creativity, birth, and the mystical.  It was the kind of foggy, misty morning in which the word mystical might easily be applied.

(One of the neighborhood barns.)

It’s likely to stay cloudy today.  One of the local weatherpeople on television said we would have “veiled sunshine.”  I’m not sure we’ll even get that much although I did see a light in the clouds where the sun should be.  We’re getting some of the clouds from the remnants of Nicole that are causing all the heavy rains (in the form of a nor’easter) out east.

(Cornfield in the mist.)

It was fairly quiet out there this morning.  Only a few cars went by as I walked down the road.  I do wish we had wider berms (shoulders) as some drivers tend to want to swerve towards me rather than away.  I always wear bright, bright colors when I walk the neighborhood.  If someone should hit me with their car, they won’t have the excuse that they didn’t see me.

(Weeds in the corn.)

I didn’t see any of the farmers out and about.  The neighbor ladies who usually spend most of their days gardening and mowing their lawns weren’t out either.  Just a guy riding his bicycle, swerving back and forth on the road.  And the crows, of course, as well as a pair of doves were out there keeping me company.

(Variegated leaves.)

The colorful sunsets have returned.  Last night’s was so beautiful that I almost forgot to grab my camera.  M and I stood out on the balcony and watched for a while as the sky turned a variety of colors.

Pretty, isn’t it?


The old barn

(Greenery growing around the door of an old barn in New Baltimore.)

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature seems to be taking over the back of this old barn.  I wonder what it will look like in another 10 or 20 years…

Look Up: The Star Barn

For decades M and I have passed The Star Barn complex whenever we were on our way to or from visiting family in Pennsylvania.  I’ve been wanting to stop and take photos of it but we never seemed to have the time.  We made the time on our last trip back east.

Although The Star Barn complex is quite obvious from the highway (Interstate 283), it was not easy for us to find.  Lack of preparation had much to do with that.  It wasn’t until we were on the highway and almost at The Star Barn that we decided it would be a good day to stop, walk around, and take photos so we hadn’t bothered to look up directions or ask someone (such as M’s sister) who might know how to get there.  We asked along the way and eventually someone was able to give us good directions.

The complex dates from 1872 and consists of the large barn (The Star Barn, shown in the first photo), a pig barn, a chicken coop, a corn crib/carriage house, pond and stone fence.

According to The Star Barn website, the stars represented hope and good fortune for the farm and land.  The outbuildings (shown in the second and third photos) mimic the Gothic Revival style of the big barn.

There are plans to move the The Star Barn complex to a new location where it will not only be preserved but turned into an agricultural education and exhibition center.  It is currently located near a residential community (one of those newer housing developments that have sprung up in former farmlands everywhere).

There was one other person out there the day M and I stopped.  Another photographer of course.  It was a good day for taking pictures.

Visit The Star Barn website for more information on the history as well as plans for the future of The Star Barn.  The plans for moving, restoring, and using the complex are interesting.

Goodbye 2009

(Yesterday’s snow.)

Winter has officially arrived.  Nevermind things like the date or the solstice.  It’s the first good snow that indicates the official arrival of winter to me.  This is the kind of snow that sticks around for a while.  The kind where it continues to accumulate until the spring melt or (if we’re lucky) the January thaw (somewhat similar to Indian summer only colder).

Although we’ve had a slight warm-up today (mid-30’s), the base of this snow is probably going to stick around for a while as new snow comes to us via cold fronts and the Lake Erie snow machine.  Hopefully we’ll be able to go cross-country skiing soon.

So.  Here we are at the end of another year.  They sure do fly by fast.  2009 has been a mixed year for me, with the birth of a new granddaughter (Madison Grace), the marriage of our youngest son and his lovely bride, and the death of my mother.  There has also been a mix of old and new in terms of travel and everyday life.  M and I went to New Orleans in April.  He had been to New Orleans a few times in the past but this was his first visit since Katrina and my first visit of all time.  We went to Colorado to visit with M the Younger and his wife, and to hike in the Rocky Mountains.  Colorado was another first for me.

(Maddy & Mom.)

2009 has been an interesting year, that’s for sure.  I’m kind of hoping 2010 will be a little more mellow.

With the new year quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking about plans and goals and resolutions.  Every year I think, “I’m not going to make resolutions this year.”  And every year I make them.  I may call them plans and goals but let’s face it, they’re resolutions.  There is something about the change of a calendar year that entices me to contemplate change.  I know that every moment is an opportunity to start over or to make changes, but a whole new year spread out before me almost demands resolutions of some sort, even one as simple as “I won’t make resolutions this year.”

Last year my plans and goals (resolutions) theme was “progress, not perfection.”  I kept track of some of my progress with stickers on the calendar and a quick flip through shows that I did well with some of my projects (such as exercise) about 80% of the time.  That’s pretty good progress to me.  I’ve lost some weight, my blood pressure is good, and aside from this end of the year cold and ear infection, I’ve stayed pretty healthy.

My theme for 2010 is Simplify.  I want to organize and declutter and make life a little less complicated.  I have specific projects, plans, and goals to help me with my main resolution, but won’t list them all here.  I’ve been taking stock over the past few months, getting prepared to simplify my life.  I’m ready for it.

Along with that, there are the usual health-related goals including a return to the mileage goal which for 2010 is 1200 miles.  Between the walking, the hiking, the running, and the elliptical, I should be able to accomplish that.  I’m going to go back to being mostly vegetarian, “mostly” being applied because I will still eat fish and seafood.

There are a few other items in between.  I’ll reset the 50 Books Project for the year.  Although it’s one of those goals I can’t seem to meet, it’s always worth striving for.  I read 28 books this year, less than previous years (39 in 2008).  It wasn’t a good year for reading and during those times when I had little energy to do anything else, I couldn’t concentrate enough to read.  I hope 2009 will be better.  There are so many books on my reading list that it would probably take a few lifetimes to read them all.

So, goodbye 2009.  You brought fun, adventure, life lessons, sadness, grief, joy, laughter, beginnings, endings, and fullness.  I am grateful for the all of the gifts, even those that were hard to accept, and especially thankful for the blessings of love, family, and friends who helped fill the year.

M and I usually attend First Night in Akron to usher out the old year and bring in the new, but we’ll be staying in tonight.  The cold and ear infection I acquired last week are stubbornly hanging on and I don’t feel up to walking around in the cold and snow.  I think a quiet New Year’s Eve will be a nice change of pace.  Perhaps it will also set the mood to mellow for 2010.

A walk

(This morning’s view of the pond.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

If you’re looking for today’s haunted post, go down one.  I’m posting twice today because I took a walk, it’s beautiful here in the Bogs, and I want to share some of the walk with you.

(Looking up the road I live on.)

(The neighbor’s old barn.)

(A nearby field.)

Last year I posted about the wooly bear over at Bountiful Healing.  You can find the post here if you’d like to read it and see what last year’s wooly bear looked like.  The gist of it (in case you don’t want to read it) is that the wooly bear is known as a weather prognosticator, the size of the middle band being the indicator of whether we’ll have a mild or severely cold winter.  The wider the band, the milder the winter.

I’ve seen two wooly bears in the past two days.  This wooly bear thinks it will be a cold winter:

This wooly bear seems to disagree:

Last year’s wooly bear was about as accurate as most weather forecasters.  That is, sometimes right, sometimes wrong.  We had some mild spots and we had some really cold spots, and it seemed like a typical Bogs winter to me.