Welcome to My Little Piece of the Prairies ...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Frosty Morning!

I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost.  
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

I love when our prairie landscape is layered in hoar frost.  It twinkles and sparkles and brings a smile to my face!  Finally, we have snow and finally we can enjoy a winter wonderland!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saying Goodbye

RIP Buddy

Today was a sad day for our family, as we had to bid a final farewell to our beloved 'Buddy!'  This gentle, sure-footed soul has been apart of our lives for what seems like a lifetime.  My husband bought Buddy back in 1995 as a 'teeny-bopper!'  He was a non-papered quarter horse, who never appeared to age until this winter.  Our 'go-to-guy' for everything from roping cattle to plunking our kids on ... he had a huge heart, a strong heart and yes, a very gentle soul.  Buddy was 30+ years old.  We will miss you!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bidding the Day Farewell

I'm not sure what had caught 'Jasper's' attention this evening but it certainly looks like he was enjoying the setting sun ... perhaps he was bidding farewell to the day!  I just hope he ate his 'oats' ... I think its going to be another cool night!  It's already -17C and we are supposed to get down to -24C.  Brr ...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another Lil' Prairie Gem

I can only imagine how many prairie storms this old 'water pumping' windmill has withstood over the years!  Up on a hill and facing the elements from all directions, it is in great shape for not having a 'stick' of shelter from a tree, let alone a barn!  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old Man Winter ...

Actually Arrived!

Well, the 'Weather Man' forecasted it ... and this time he was right!  Old Man Winter has lashed out at Central Alberta and other parts of the prairies.  As of tonight we still have a heavy snowfall warning for our region along with drifting/blowing snow.  Although a bit 'blustery' it definitely could be worse ... my boys are hoping to take their snowmobiles out for a spin tomorrow!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Queen of Her Post!

The Female Snowy Owl!
(Nyctea scandiaca)

I know I just posted a few pics of an adult male snowy owl not too many days ago but when I saw this beautiful lady viewing the prairie from this fence post on my way home I had to snap a few photos.  The bonus, I had my 300mm lens with me AND she let me drive up beside her.  I had to shoot these through the car window but I won't complain.  The adult female snowy owl has dark barring on their breast and underparts hence, I believe this is a female but I'm not an owl expert ... that's my guess and I'm sticking to it!  LOL!

As a side note, this is my 346th post out of 365 ... only 19 more posts to go!  So here is my dilemma, do I continue with Seasons 365 Project Year TWO????  Hmm ... what to do?  I would love to hear from you!!  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

They Say ...

... Snow is On It's Way!

After a brief ... and I do mean 'brief' (5 minute) snow squall this afternoon, the weatherman is still forecasting a bit of the white stuff over the next couple of days!  At the rate we are going, we could use a bit of moisture.  It's dry out there and the spring 'runoff' is looking rather bleak at the moment.  I hope everyone's dugouts are still full from these past two years!  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Troubled Skies

Bad weather always looks worse through a window.  
~Author Unknown

The skies 'threatened' this afternoon but that was the extent of it ... just a threat!  I think I counted 4 snowflakes.  Then again, the wind was howling so maybe there had been 5 snowflakes and I missed counting it before it was tossed back in the air!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Prairie Scene

As you can see, the prairie is certainly more 'brown' than it is 'white with snow' these days.  Although we have certainly enjoyed a record mild winter, I just hope this is not a sign of an approaching very dry spring and summer.  It's so much more enjoyable to lay in green, lush grass watching the clouds than it is on dry, brittle, brown grass!  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Under a Starry Night

One of these days, I am going to have to attempt star trails during warmer weather.  Not only will my camera batteries appreciate it but so will my fingers!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Brief Winter Flurry

Ah yes, a quick reminder that winter still does exist ... I think ... this lil' piece of prairie is still more brown than it is white!  However, the little flurry we had this afternoon was enough to impress the horses ... well, perhaps not!  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Snowy Owl!

Nyctea scandiaca

A common winter visitor ... the beautiful 'Snowy Owl!'  I don't know how many times I've been in the vehicle when I've looked up and spotted one this winter and each time I've either had no camera or my camera with my little 18-70mm lens stuck on the end!  Well, today was no different.  On my return from town, the boys and I spotted the same juvenile snowy owl that we spotted back on Tuesday.  Determined to not let a photo op slip past again, this crazy girl drove home, grabbed her other camera and lens and headed back down the road.  However, instead of finding the juvenile owl we had to settle for this handsome adult male snowy instead!  BONUS!

Friday, February 17, 2012

'Yote on the Hill

While enjoying another 'above freezing' February day, I noticed this coyote up on the hill just taking 'it all in!'  Apparently, he too, is enjoying the warmth of these sunny afternoons!  Have a great Friday everyone!  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Winter Garden ...

... Native Prairie Style!

Blazing Star (Liatris punctata)

Canadian Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis)

Prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha)

Fringed Sagebrush (Artemesia frigida)

Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)

It's been a few years since I was on the University's Range Team and worked as a Range Agrologist but despite the years, ... latin names and plant identification seem to stick with a person ... even if you don't want them to!  However, it does give a person an appreciation for the plants surrounding you.  Last year at this time, everything was covered in snow so it was difficult to appreciate the Prairie's Winter Garden!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Afternoon Stroll ...

Believe it or not ... this is winter in Alberta, Canada these days!  Apparently, winter is absent from our part of the world ... a strange phenomena!!!  All I can say, is I sure hope we get some moisture soon.  "April showers brings May flowers" ... right?  In the meantime, if we have to endure afternoon strolls under sunny skies and above freezing temperatures, I won't complain!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day! ❤

Love is how you earn your wings.  
~Karen Goldman

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!  I hope each of you enjoyed a day full of love and happiness!  With the three 'lads' I have in my life, I am very fortunate to celebrate Valentines everyday!  Cheers!  

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Grey Day ...

Grey skies are just clouds passing over.  
~Author Unknown

Although not a cold day, it certainly was a grey day ... BLAH!!!  I guess I shouldn't complain.  We were 3 degrees above freezing!  However, the wind put me in a sour mood!  I'm ready for the sunshine tomorrow!  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Down By The Dock ...

I don't think this is the 'dock' that Otis Redding sang about in 'The Dock of the Bay,' but it is the only 'dock' for miles and miles that I can relate to!  Yes, good old Field Dock (Rumex pseudonatronatus).  It is usually found in wetlands ... aka ... prairie pothole sloughs and during the winter months it definitely stands out from the rest of the plant crowd!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Grazing ...

The sky was clear, the sun was shining but the WIND was COLD!!!  Although, I might have complained, after last winter, the girls are just happy to still be out grazing prairie grass in February!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Orion, The Hunter

Since the day slipped past my camera, I thought I would attempt capturing 'Orion, the Hunter,' since it's one of the most recognizable constellations in our winter sky (looking south)!  If you don't know what to look for, Orion's right shoulder is marked by the bright orange star known as Betelgeuse (this is one of the largest known stars!!!)  The 3 bright stars in a row mark Orion's belt and the three faint stars below the belt, mark his hanging sword.  The even brighter white star in the bottom right of the above picture, also marks Orion's left knee.  This star is known as Rigel!  Hmm ... the things you retain from Grade 8 Science Class!  

Thursday, February 9, 2012


As the kids were getting ready for school, I managed to nab one quick photo of the moon setting in the west!  I would of loved to have snapped a few more as it disappeared over the western horizon but 'Mom duties' take priority!  Perhaps another day ... not a school day!


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