Tag Archives: Beauty

Hiking In Winter

Hiking with dogs
Shelby takes in the trail scents

We are on a roll. Today is our 18th day in a row of hiking. We have been hiking religiously since the fall, but this is the longest stretch without a day off. We are eager to see how long we can keep it going. My husband carefully checks the forecast, and sometimes the weather radar, to find times during the day to go when it is not raining or snowing heavily. Given that it is January, our hikes have been pleasant and not overly cold.

I hate to think what the dogs’ reaction will be on the first day we are unable to go. Dogs appreciate routine and ours’ come to expect that if we do something two days in a row, it is now part of our schedules. Most days we depart near 2:00 pm for our outings. The dogs start pestering us starting about 1:50 now. They stare at us and begin to pace in anticipation for the fun to begin.

Hiking with dogs in Ohio
A snowy, winter hike with the dogs

We vary our choice of hiking location depending on weather, day of the week, upcoming plans, or maybe just on a whim. The day’s pick may be at a State Park, a County Park, a local cemetery, a Hike and Bike Trail, or just up the road and back. We even have a walking trail around our property to use in a pinch. You have to go around the loop about 5 times to make a mile though. Here is a link to a walk in our woods during the spring. Woods Walk

Most of our hikes are not extremely long. The average length is somewhere between 2.5 to 3.5 miles. The amount of exertion does not always correspond with the length of the walk though. If the terrain is especially hilly, rocky, or swampy, that 2.5 miles can seem far longer than a 3.5 mile walk.

I track all of our outings with the Walk For A Dog App to raise money for Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. It doesn’t raise a lot of funds but every little bit helps. (Many other non-profit rescues are available as beneficiaries on this App too!) I like the App because aside from being a fundraiser, it lets me know how far we have walked, the miles per hour, and the time each walk took us. You can also look back at the historical information to see how many miles you have walked over the past 30 days. When we get up over 50 miles a month, I start feeling really good about it!

We enjoy our hikes for multiple reasons. Of course getting exercise and spending time with the dogs are the obvious rewards. We also get to see what birds are in the woods at this time of year. We see what plants and bushes stay green late in the season and throughout the winter. It is easier to locate side trails and see the paths that streams take without all the undergrowth obscuring the view. The sounds of the winter woods are different from other seasons too. Each season has its own beauty and can be appreciated in different ways.

So, here’s to Hike #19. Onward and upward!

Beauty Born

When your gardening goes awry and there is an accident, you make flower arrangements.

I was tying up gladioli blooms and inadvertently snapped one off. It immediately when in my rose gold vase from the Stan Hywet gift shop. I love this vase, everything looks good in it. And it’s my little bit of the glamorous life, after all it was purchased at a mansion’s gift shop.

The hydrangea blooms had to be trimmed off after heavy rains caused them to hang to the ground. And the orange trumpet vine cutting was sacrificed so the electronic eye on our outdoor light would function. They are displayed in a milk glass vase which suits them well.

Out of garden detritus, beauty is born.

A Fortunate Investment

20150530_175301

Things are really kicking into high gear in the gardens. This provides me much new subject matter but less time to write! Maintaining and upgrading these gardens does involve a little bit of time. I was going to say “unfortunately involves time and work” but decided it was not unfortunate. I would not appreciate the beauty nearly as much without the time investment. Planting, mulching, weeding, fertilizing, and otherwise tending these plants and gardens makes me appreciate them all the more. Working so closely with them I also see tiny changes and bits of beauty that I might otherwise overlook. I guess what you put in, you get out. Above is my new climbing rose called America. The tag says it is a coral pink and I love the color. It has the best bits of all colors, a little pink, a little peach, a little red in the buds. It has it all. I am also hoping that I have found a climbing rose that will survive the cold of the recent winters. We will see. For now I am enjoying the beauty.

20150528_192634

I move on to another garden and see one of our nine barks in full bloom. The foliage is the main draw on this shrub. It has attractive red leaves and weeping branches and, you guessed it, various types of bark. I don’t think it is known for its blooms but as you can see, it does briefly, put on quite a show. It reminds me of something that should be a wedding decoration.

20150528_192617

This is a shot of the corner garden. Over the nine bark you can see the red buckeye and the arbor vitae in a row on the corner of the yard. All this hides the stop sign and the corner intersection. Just one example of plants beautifying an otherwise mundane area.

20150528_192659

This is one of our two red wygelia. The blooms are glorious if short lived. It is an attractive plant with its red leaves, even once the blooms are gone. I understand that they can become quite large. I will have to report back to you on that in a few years.

20150530_175329

This is one of the verbena we have in planters on top of the garden wall. They were recently planted but already starting to become something I like to pause and look at on my wanderings around the yard.

20150530_175551

And of course, the peonies. They are one of the best things about this time of year. They smell heavenly and are beautiful too. The mass of them is eye catching from a distance and they are equally impressive individually. I need to get more of these beauties! They come in other lovely colors too. I planted a Sarah Bernhardt last year but although it is growing well, peonies are slow bloomers so we will hope for blooms from it next year. Meanwhile, it is peony season so I will enjoy the show.

20150530_175519