Winter’s Lady In Red

While walking the woodlands early this week, I quickly became frustrated with trying to find something of color to photograph. I supposed the evergreens, some of the oak trees with dried leaves hanging on, and a few of the berry shrubs offered a tiny bit of color to the landscape, but it was a gray day and it all seemed to fall flat to me. Sometimes, a little sunshine will change the hues and brighten the contrast of the environment, where it is even possible for dried prairie grasses to take on a design of elegance and grandeur. But not today.

Disappointed and disillusioned, I slogged on through sloppy mud as I continued my trek towards the river. A recent ice storm had once again changed the landscape. Old tree snags had toppled, shattering on the ground.  Limbs and branches lay scattered all through the woods. As I pressed on with my journey, I kept hopeful for something of interest to photograph. It was a quiet day in the woodlands where all of the animals and birds seemed to be tucked away, except for the crows that occasionally flew over. I wondered if they were mocking me, or maybe they were just having a family squabble on their flight to feast in the nearby harvested Milo field. Giving in to the realization that my trek to find color was fruitless, I eventually trudged back home with only a few photos of cows grazing in the pecan orchard.

As I looked through my December photos this morning, I realized the most captivating colors of the season had come earlier in winter. With splashes of red dotting the woodlands after the first frosts and freezes, along with the white contrast of snow and the glimmer and sparkle of ice showcased by the light of the sun, I found I had captured winter’s vivid color after all. After more than a month having passed since the snow and ice first came to the woodlands, the leaves have now been stripped from the trees and shrubs, and the once-bright berries have shriveled and darkened. All of nature is ever-changing. Taking time to notice the gentle nuances of transformation that takes place from day-to-day or week-to-week, is truly the gift of each season. In this post, I am showcasing Winter’s Lady in Red.

Frosty Oak Leaves.
Frosty Oak Leaves.
These oak leaves look like sugary delights!
These oak leaves look like sugary delights!
Frosted Spirea
Frosted Spirea
Burning Bush Leaves in Frost.
Burning Bush Leaves in Frost.
Iced Hackberries.
Iced Hackberries.
Oak Leaves Frozen in Time.
Oak Leaves Frozen in Time.
I have no idea how my Coral Honeysuckle is still blooming in winter. This bloom is braving the ice!
I have no idea how my Coral Honeysuckle is still blooming in winter. This bloom is braving the ice!
This White-Winged Dove finds a bit of shelter in an ice-glazed Hackberry Tree.
This White-Winged Dove finds a bit of shelter in an ice-glazed Hackberry Tree.
Carolina Moonseed is an invasive wild vine that is prolific plant in the woodlands. I used to eradicate it until I realized that Daisy deer loves to nibble the leaves and tender part of the vine, and birds eat the berries.
Carolina Moonseed is an invasive wild vine that is a prolific plant in the woodlands. I used to eradicate it until I realized that Daisy deer loves to nibble the leaves and tender part of the vine, and birds eat the berries.
Afternoon sun kissing ice covered hackberries.
Afternoon sun kissing ice-covered Hackberries.
Beauty berries grow wild in the lower areas of the woodlands, providing a food source for squirrels, deer, birds and other wildlife.
Beautyberries grow wild in the lower areas of the woodlands, providing a food source for squirrels, deer, birds and other wildlife.

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


79 thoughts on “Winter’s Lady In Red

    1. Thank you, Nick. That’s a real compliment coming from you… I so much admire your nature photography. Moonseed is terribly invasive here. It makes a giant tangle in the woods, growing high up in the trees, sometimes creating a thick canopy where birds find shelter. Before Daisy deer opened my eyes to the importance of the plant for mammals and birds, I considered it a nuisance on the property. Now you see, I have found some beauty in these bright winter berries!

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  1. Oh Lori, these photos are beautiful! You might just have renewed my enthusiasm for taking close-up and macro photos…I’ve been struggling to regain my photography mojo for quite a while now. Perhaps I’ll take my tripod and macro lens out on my next walk in the woods. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I only take the zoom lens on the camera when I walk to the river, as that alone is cumbersome. Fortunately, I still manage something to photograph without the tripod and other lenses. I find the time with just me and the camera rewarding. I don’t have to have a plan. It’s meditative therapy for me.

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  2. Gorgeous photos Lori! Love the ice hugging the berries and the frosty edges on the leaves. I got excited last winter here when I managed to photograph a few ice crystals on a bit of grass! When it is grey I sometimes get some nice black and white photos too, but when you have the long winter you have, grey gets boring and all you want is a bit of light and colour. I get that. I remember Ohio winters well!

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    1. Oh, Ardys, I know Ohio is much grayer and harsher than it ever gets here. I remember those days the years I lived in Nebraska. But I remember beauty in the flatland sunrises and sunsets, and the depth of snows and drifting, and many textures of ice. Every region presents a gift of change in the landscape. I wish I was better with black and white photography. There is a knack to that, as you know. Perhaps someday I will put forth more of an effort to work on those skills!

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    1. Oh, that is a wonderful and exciting idea! Will this be in your neck of the woods, mine, or somewhere totally different? If I didn’t feel terrible about leaving FD with our elderly and ailing dogs, I’d be off in a jiff to come see you – even in the winter! We have so much to talk about! 🙂

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        1. The woodlands from here to the river are not all that vast, but I think you would love the scenery in the area. I still hope I can manage to come work on your farmy. I could even be happy sleeping in the barn as long as Sheila promises not to bite me! 😀

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  3. So beautiful! I especially love the white-winged dove photo. So evocative of the season! We’re on this itty bitty island in the Caribbean called St. Eustatius (Statia). And, can you believe it … I’m homesick for snow! 😉 Have you and FD been to this island?

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    1. I’m so envious! It has been more than seven years since we’ve been to the Caribbean! We have not been to St. Eustatius, but we have been to St. Maartin several times which is half Dutch and half French. We also like St. John. Both are not far from where you are. I guess you’ll have a tan when you post about your island trip? 🙂

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      1. Ha, no way. My skin comes in only two colors: too white and too red! Just went through St. Maarten today on the way back to Anguilla. I’m sorry to have to tell you … but it’s still beautiful! 🙂

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        1. I have to decide… do I want a storm shelter for the upcoming tornado season, or do I want two weeks in St. Maartin? 😦 After two tornado hits on our town in the last 4 years, I think I’d better pick the shelter – darn it!!

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  4. Lovely pictures. It’s once again a wonder of nature that even in the frost and the ice, there is a splash of colour! Here in Bahrain, winter is the time of colour! Everything’s in bloom. The summers, however, are quite the opposite when nothing grows in nearly 120 degrees!

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    1. I never thought of your winters being a time of color! It makes sense though. Autumn is the best time for color here, but spring and summer also lend to brilliant hues as well. Right now in the depths of winter it’s a bit harder to come by.

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  5. Beautiful photos. I love the Carolina Moon Seed and the honeysuckle hanging on under the ice. Really lovely. I take walks like that in France in the winter, waiting for myself to fall in tune with what there is to see. Very therapeutic. And always, in the end, rewarding.

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    1. That is a lovely thought… “waiting for myself to fall in tune with what there is to see”. It is very much about being open to what nature has to offer and present. Isn’t it wonderful to take time to have walks and notice these nuances of change?

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  6. Beautifully written post, and the pictures are all just amazing! I especially love the very first one, the Frosty Oak Leaves!! You really have an eye for photos, Sister!!

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    1. Oh, do gush on Baby Sister!! Ha ha! It helps to have a good zoom lens. I thought about putting some photos of those rosy-cheeked kids of yours on our holiday walk to the river… but I’ll save that for one of my next posts. I love that those kids are so observant and respectful of nature and seem to feel at home here. 🙂

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  7. We’ve been having such mild winter temperatures here in the UK this year, especially in the south-west where I live, and I was beginning to feel starved of proper frost and ice. Enjoying your beautiful images has definitely helped!

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    1. Aw, thank you Amanda. We usually see frost here at some point during the winter months, but not always ice or snow. It’s kind of a novelty to get much snow, and the good thing is it only lasts a few days as our winter temperatures range in the 40’s and even 50’s most of the winter season. I’m glad you could find a bit of a winter fix in these photographs! I have more winter photos coming – hold on!! 😀

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    1. Yes, Nathan, we had an ice storm over Thanksgiving and then the latest one at Christmas. Back in 2009 we had a very bad ice storm that made for some of my best photography ever! But, it was more than a month of no power for some folks in the area. Ice sure is magnificent in beauty AND damage!

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  8. I’m wondering if this might be an opportunity to experiment with a monochrome palate–all those gradations of gray can be a whole other world. Moody, stark, dreamy. What do you think?

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    1. Sandy, that is an EXCELLENT idea! I will have to get to work on Photoshop and see what I can do with the current photos. I know there are settings on my camera to achieve this as well… but you know me, I haven’t taken the time to read the manual on the settings. My camera is capable of all sorts of things I have no clue about. 😦 Thank you for your artists view!!

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  9. What wonderful shots of the berries. I’m always fascinated by your ice photos each year, like the honeysuckle and moonseed. Leaves and berries trapped in a thick layer of translucent ice. Amazing. I hope the grey days and mood lift soon xxxx

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    1. It is another gray and very bitter cold day here, Henrietta. But I am confident as I see Robins everywhere for the last 3 weeks or so, that spring must be just around the corner. For now, I will enjoy the beauty that the frost, ice and snow presents, as El Nino moisture continues to drift our way. So far, ice damage has been minimal. Other years we had El Nino moisture, we had catastrophic ice damage… so fingers crossed we have seen the worst of it! 🙂

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    1. Oh, certainly… what a compliment to me! I so admire your photography! 🙂 We have beautyberries in our woods, and all of the way to the river they can be found in huge thickets. It’s fun to watch the birds pull on the berries to snap them off the shrub. Daisy deer just takes a big chomp, getting several berries AND the woody stem, ingesting the whole thing at once!

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  10. You could almost be living on Mars for how very different your environment is to ours. We are hot, VERY dry and when the rain comes back (if, indeed, it does) there won’t be a lawn to recover this time. The chooks will have some magnificent mud baths in the place where the lawns used to be. Everything has dried up and blown away and we are left with brown and beige and dust. To see ice (that means “cold” right?!) is amazing. To see your beautiful native berries is also amazing. Thank you for sharing your cold winter wonderland with we hot despairing southerners.

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    1. Oh no!! I did not realize it was that bad for you! I need to catch up on your blog posts… apparently what was once green and lush has “POOF” – turned to dust and crunch. I wish so much I could give you some of this moisture and cold. You know we had more than 20 inches of rain last May (all that in ONE MONTH!) and have continued to get rain, ice and snow all through last year. It’s just soggy everywhere – unless the muck freezes for a few hours at night. It’s crazy to think of these extremes between us. Oh I do hope you get some relief soon to save the little roots and give the wildlife a respite. I don’t suppose it has slowed down those varmints that raid your gardens? Well, surely on guard Earl and Bezial of the shade manage to keep the varmints at bay? 😀

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      1. We are putting out extra water for all of the birds and animals. There isn’t any watery pools etc. that there normally are for them to source water from and wildlife is suffering badly. I just had to stop commenting as the dogs were barking like someone was here. It turned out, not to be “someone” more “something”. I have just been helping Steve and a man from up the road herd his steer out of Serendipity Farm. The rat traps are doing a sterling job at getting the younger rats but the older ones are pretty cluey. I am hoping that the feral cats will earn their keep. So far, not a lot has gone missing this year so fingers crossed we get some tomatoes 🙂

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        1. That all sounds just terrible. We had a drought here for four years and I remember dragging water hoses around daily. Daisy deer was born the second year of drought, and it was so hot she lost nearly all of her summer coat! We have a lot of feral cats but I can’t say they ever proved to me they kept the varmint population down. I will say the four foxes we had on the place this summer and fall made a big difference. Our mole, vole and gopher populations were down, and I didn’t even see many snakes this year. While the foxes were pests at leaving droppings all over the place, and a worry with four of my rehabbed squirrels on their own (thankfully three are still accounted for), they did prove to scour the area of other varmints. I still wish they’d move on though. 😦

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          1. No foxes here. Tasmania doesn’t have them. We have seen a few headless rats down where the cats hang out so fingers crossed they are eating them. Tasmania doesn’t get this sort of weather or extended periods of dryness like this so it’s been difficult. The state is run on hydro power and as the dams only have less than a quarter of their capacity left (and we still have 3 dry months left till the rains usually come!) there is talk about water restrictions AND power problems. It’s around about now when you realise that you actually live on a small island that is quite a fair way away from the mainland. Thank GOODNESS we put in that 10 000 litre rainwater tank and have Brunhilda to cook on should we end up having either restriction.

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          2. I hope it doesn’t come to that… but it is good to be prepared. Situations like this really make one think about how living simply makes the adjustment to those types of conditions a little easier. Things are bad economically here. I am thankful for this little piece of land and VERY thankful for the rains last year – after four years of drought. We could make it here if everything fell through… but I’m not sure most folks would have a clue about what it takes to survive without power, scant water, and convenience foods.

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          3. I know what you mean. I keep telling my son to stop trying to amass a small fortune and get some veggie gardens in. If things go belly up, you need food, not money. I am going to plant out my nut trees this year and even though they take up to 10 years to “fruit”, at least they will be in the ground. I love being full of possibilities rather than hopeless 🙂

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          4. I am considering seeing if I can source some pecan trees for Serendipity Farm. You are completely a forager and gatherer. You will soon be in competition with your squirrel babies 😉

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          5. Aside from being prohibitively expensive in postage, they would get confiscated at the border. Tasmania has a very strict quarantine system as we don’t have a lot of the diseases that are loose on the mainland but that is a really lovely thing for you to say Lori :). Do they grow American native pawpaws in your area? I would like to grow them here as well 🙂

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          6. I think pawpaws are native mostly to the eastern US, but I think we can manage them here as our winters are generally mild. Each year I try some new fruit tree or shrub, but I haven’t had a lot of luck. Either the poor soil is an issue, or the deer do damage. My poor blackberries make a valiant effort to come back each year, and the deer nibble them back. I plant fruit trees only to have the bucks “rub” them during the rut and it strips all of the bark off… and they eventually die. 😦 But I love Daisy deer. So I just keep planting and hoping for the best! 🙂

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          7. It sounds like what I need here is deer! I have the blackberries. Send me one C.O.D. ;). If you are ever able to get hold of some native pawpaw seed please let me know. I would love to get hold of some and would pay for postage and handling :). They seem to do pretty well in most conditions by the sound of it. Have you tasted them?

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          8. I’ll ask Daisy deer if she knows of any friends that would like to relocate! 😀 I’ll look for paw paw seed. Surely we can sneak that in the mail. You are not paying for postage… are you kidding? After you had to spend a small fortune to send me that hand-carved Tasmanian Alder spoon? No, I haven’t tasted them, but I might buy a plant or two and try them. I like trying new plants each year. Most of the time they don’t make it in the poor soil, but it’s always an adventure giving it a shot! 😉

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          9. The best thing about them is that they are native to North America, they are pretty hardy in many situations and most probably don’t mind a bit of poor soil. We have poor soil of our own here so they would feel right at home 😉

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  11. I’m so glad you looked back over your albums and shared these.. How gorgeous they are, Lori. My favourite is the “Iced hackberries.” Nature’s delicate chandeliers! Actually, do you think that’s where people got the ideas for chandeliers – from looking at icicles glinting in the sunlight? I love the rich reds of changing maple leaves and berries. Your magical icy/frosty scenes and so different to what I encounter here. A beautiful collection, my friend! I also love your honesty about your disappointments and frustrations and then your delight in realising you’ve found something special. You are real. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Jane. I really love autumn colors here, but photography goes to a new level when frost and ice are added. I have some really stunning ice photos from a few years ago where the sun came out and the whole countryside was blinding with chandeliers! The photographs did not to justice actually, to the beauty. What was even more amazing that day as I walked around with the camera was the tinkling and crackling and shattering of ice as it melted. It was a fantastic experience!

      I have been told sometimes I’m too honest about issues… but I know for myself I’d rather have honest and genuine conversation with someone who is “real” than a superficial talk or one where everything is fine and dandy. It’s the yin and yang of of a story that makes it great. That’s why I love that you tell on yourself when you’re hiking and you make a blunder or something unexpected happens! Your writing always has me in stitches – because you are REAL!! 😀

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  12. Lori your photos are magnificent. Really they are. You should print some of them out and frame them. I don’t have the time nor the energy to elaborate due to immediate family crisis. I will try to email you soon- I hope. I might write about it briefly on my blog but I am short of energy and time.

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    1. Yvonne, just take care of yourself. I feel honored that you took the time to send this comment. Be well, my friend. I hope all of your little charges are ok. Write when you find time… but mostly see to your own health and welfare!

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    1. There isn’t much that can keep me from getting out when there is a heavy frost. I wish I had gotten out when snow had fallen on the icicles, but it melted too quickly. The only problem is no matter how warmly I dress, I still get cold. This year I purchased some thin hunting gloves to keep my hands warm, and also a pair of fingerless gloves to wear over the thin gloves. The fingerless gloves have a mitten flap that can be fitted over my fingers for added warmth. That has worked well, leaving my index finger out to operate the camera. Each year I try to improve on my warm clothing. I think next year I need a face mask. That’ll look interesting! 😀

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          1. We’re waiting for Cabela’s to open pretty close to here – Bass Pro is about an hour away – both closer than any ski shop in the flatlands here. Surf shops are of more use HA HA. Oh, well, can’t wear flipflops here for a couple of days

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          2. I like Cabela’s big stores – like Ft. Worth’s and Wichita KS has. They put a small one in OKC, and it is pathetic. I hope you are getting one of the bigger stores. OKC’s Bass Pro is pretty good.

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          3. Oh, darn There are 2 sizes? The Bass Pro is huge, so maybe there’s hope. The COSCO they put in by the Bass pro is a small one – it takes about as much time to get there as to go in town to the big nice one. We’ll find out pretty soon what we got.

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          4. Yes, the big Cabela’s have furniture and a large “Home” area. They carry a very nice selection of women’s hunting gear. The Cabela’s in OKC is small – no Home section and the women’t clothing line is very scant. I was hugely disappointed. So we hit Cabela’s in Wichita KS when we head up north, and when we head to Dallas to visit Sissy Jo, we mosey over to Ft. Worth. Otherwise, Bass Pro in OKC usually has what we’re looking for. I just prefer the brands Cabela’s carries.

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    1. Thank you, Audrey. We had family visit over the holidays, and then there were doctor appointments for my elderly friend Hillard, and vet appointments for the dogs so I’ve been busy! And I have been doing a lot of deep house cleaning that I generally put off until I just can’t stand it anymore! 😀 It has been too cold to get out with the camera much, and I’m hoping also to pick some pecans when the weather warms up a bit. Always something going on here! I just published a post tonight and I hope to put a couple more out before the end of the month!

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  13. Stunning photos Lori, you have truly captured the beauty of early winter!! 🙂 And I love the way you have worded the transition of nature over time and seasons, you have crafted a really beautiful and eloquent post 🙂

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