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Ice Dogs

Rutland State Park, Rutland, MA

A popular destination for swimming, boating and fishing in the summer, Rutland State Park transforms into a frosty site for ice fishing and skating each winter.

Revolutionary Timekeepers

The Willard House and Clock Museum, North Grafton, MA

The Willard House and Clock Museum in North Grafton, MA.

From the information board at the site:
The family of clockmakers who lived and worked in this house helped revolutionize timekeeping in America. The Willard family was one of the premiere clockmaking families during and after the American Revolution. The Willards held several patents on clockmaking innovations, and their work made clocks more widely available–while increasing their reliability.
The saltbox, a popular colonial house design, was a frame dwelling with two stories in front and one behind and a roof with a long rear slope.

Simon Willard invented the popular banjo clock, a wall clock with a banjo-shaped case.

Big Birds

Lilac Hedge Farm, Rutland, MA

In New England, emus and ostriches are rare and exotic. A recent visit to Lilac Hedge Farm provided an extraordinary opportunity to see them close up. This stately emu strutted casually through its enclosure.
Oftentimes, emus display graceful ballerina moves.
This imposing male ostrich had a a thin coating of white feathers on its head.
Two delightful juvenile ostriches regarded visitors with quiet intensity and great curiosity.
Lilac Hedge Farm is the former site of a Heifer International Educational Center. Its many acres provide ample space for both local and exotic creatures to roam.

Frozen Meadow Trek

Photos from a winter walk at Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton, MA,

It was a chilly 22 degrees at Wachusett Meadow today.
The Beaver Lodge was coated in snow and surrounded by ice.
A light layer of ice on the snow in the South Meadow shone in the low winter light.
Bluebird houses, abandoned until the spring, are a familiar sight along numerous trails.
The cross country skiers and snowshoers who trekked before me made my hike a bit easier today.

Rose Glow

Holden, Massachusetts

The pink hues of the sky at dusk contrast with the fresh fallen snow in my yard.

2006′

Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, Princeton, MA

At 2006 feet, Wachusett Mountain may not be the tallest, but its accessibility and ease of use make it extremely popular for Central Massachusetts residents. The snow shown here is man-made.

A New Year’s Wish: Lonely Fences, Revisited

A winter walk along the winding road to St. Joseph’s Abbey during the Omicron upsurge.

Aging wooden fences line the twisting, hilly, half-mile long road that leads to St. Joseph’s Abbey. The views of fields and distant hills are lovely and uplifting. The walk to the top takes stamina, and provides time for meditation.
Occasionally, one notices posts and railings that need repair.
A closer inspection shows the effect of time and weather.
Closer to the top, the hills beyond come into view.
Finally, the land levels off.
The journey is complete.
Inside the abbey, visitors can rest in the quiet glow of stained glass.
May we all find moments of rest and hope in the New Year.

A Symbol of Happiness

Nature can offer consolation during difficult times. I was especially uplifted to see this Eastern Bluebird during this holiday season.

For many years, it was rare to see a bluebird in Massachusetts in the winter, but in the last few years the number of bluebirds staying through the winter has grown.
The bluebird is a nearly universal symbol of happiness.

Red Sky in the Morning

The sunrise as viewed from my window recently.

The old adage “Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning”, alluding to bad weather on the way, didn’t hold true. The sun shone all day.

A Berry Good Day

A winter sighting of an American Robin at Wachusett Meadow, Princeton, MA.

Most American Robins leave Massachusetts for the winter, so it was a treat to see this one enjoying berries on a December day.

Follow the Fur

Eastern Gray Squirrel, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

Most Eastern Gray Squirrels don’t have the brown face and back stripe that this one, seen under the feeders at Wachusett Meadow, does. That makes it easily identifiable, and a perfect candidate for following this winter. I’ll be noticing how much time it spends under the feeders, how far it travels along the nearby stone walls and trees, its feeding habits, and its social interactions.


Paper Flower Power

Tower Hill Botanic Garden is in full bloom this holiday season.

The paper flowers at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA “pack a punch”.
Hundreds of flowers, some several feet across, create a bold statement against the backdrop of traditional New England architecture.
Enormous blossoms enhance the bright red and yellow hues of winterberry bushes below them.
The strings of electric lines are lit each evening for the popular Night Lights display.

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