Saturday, November 22, 2008

Let it snow!

Yesterday's snow has suddenly made me think wintry thoughts.
Over the years I've seen snow fall on Homewood several times and I've been lucky enough to get some lovely pictures of our nursery dressed in white.

In January of 2004 we got a nice dusting that was just enough snow to be really pretty but not too dangerous for us to close early.
Homewood Nursery in winter snow

This was before we relandscaped the atrium hillside. Looking back on it now it's neat to see how much it has changed. I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that this winter I'll get to take pictures of the new landscape covered by snow.
Homewood Nursery in winter snow

The fishes in the courtyard pond had a thick layer of ice for insulation that year.

Homewood Nursery in winter snow

A few years before the 2004 snow (my computer records say December of 2002 but I don't think that's right) we had the heaviest snow I've ever seen at Homewood. Big, fat, fluffy flakes started to fall around lunchtime and by 2 o'clock I was wondering why I was still at work. There were no customers out and about so I sat in the nursery office and watched the birds and squirrels from the window. (From the following pictures it's easy to see how Homewood Nursery recently became a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.)
squirrel in snow

Many of the birds cooperated by posing on the railing just outside the window. Here, a chipper looking Tufted Titmouse says hi.

Tufted Titmouse in snow

A somber Junco tries to ward of the cold.
Junco in snow

This Thrasher is even more puffed up than usual. But he's not fat, he's just fluffy.

Thrasher in snow

And a jolly Towhee grabs himself a bite to eat.Towhee in snow

The suet cake is also a popular spot for hungry birds to hang out. Luckily there's enough to go around and
the female Red-bellied Woodpecker doesn't mind sharing her meal
with a male Downy Woodpecker.
female Red-bellied Woodpecker and male Downy Woodpecker

I was fortunate enough to capture this shy little Ruby-crowned Kinglet just before he flew away.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Possibly my favorite bird to photograph in the snow is our state bird, the Cardinal. Maybe it's because the bright red of the male's feathers stands out so well on a white background. Or maybe it's because they're so darned Chistmasy without even trying. Whatever the reason, I've taken pictures of a plethora of cardinals in snow.
But in order to keep from boring you, I've limited myself here to my favorite three. this perfectly posed bird against a background of Aucuba and red-twig dogwood.

Cardinal in snow

Our Canadian Hemlocks are so lovely with a bit of flocking and if you look closely you'll see that the red smudge in the middle is my red feathered friend.
Cardinal on canadian hemlock in snow

It's obviously not mating season since these two fellas seem content to perch near one another on adjacent branches.

two Cardinals in snow

What a great time of year for curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoying the nursery from the inside looking out. Since it's already snowed (a little) in Raleigh three times this year and it's only November, I think our chances are pretty good for some snowy photo-ops by winter's end.

by Christina, Assistant Nursery Manager