It's definitely winter here now, but at mid-day most days it's still "warm" enough that I can walk my Boxer Rony if we both dress well and stay out of the wind. I've taken to walking the back alleys of our neighbourhood, which are usually more sheltered than the streets and sidewalks, and are a lot more interesting as well. We tend not to use the alleys in the summer, partly because we walk after dark to avoid heat stress for him and it's hard to see where we're going, and also because there tend to be dogs in the back yards that we go by in the warmer weather, which can be challenging on a number of fronts.
Shot one shows a back alley shot from a couple of days ago. These lovely sweet peas seem to have freeze dried in a way that has retained, or even amplified, their strong colour. It's kind of a shock to come across something like this in an environment that is largely monochromatic and low-key these days.
I've been working on a project doing photos for a tree guide of notable trees of Saskatoon. I thought it would be fun to add in a couple of shots of the "afterlife" of trees that are no longer with us, and I shot this one a few streets over from our house. Our neighbourhood is a hotbed of these tree trunk sculptures which are entertaining in their number and variety. As with most things, I'm sure there's a story behind the proliferation in this area, I'm just not sure what it is.
I got this image on the way home from the stables yesterday afternoon. I particularly like the patterns the wind-blown snow makes on the surface of the ice.
I always like the patterns the snow reveals in the stubble fields at this time of year. Horse owners around here are hoping for a lot more snow very soon as the footing in pastures and turnouts is dangerous at the moment. We had a rainfall that created ruts and uneven lumps in the horse turnouts that have now frozen solid so there is no even footing at all, and the horses have to be relatively immobile or risk damaging their feet and legs. Once we get a good snow cover there will be some give to the footing and it will be evened out, making it safe for horses to move around on. Unfortunately, it isn't a given that will we get much more snow soon, or at all, depending on what the weather gods deal out to us.
I've been working hard in my studio trying to build up stock for my next pre-Christmas sale. I took a brief reading break down on the main level of the house today, and became aware of a tremendous amount of noise coming from the front-yard bird feeder. When I got up to head back to the studio, I glanced out the front window to see the cause of the excitement in the sparrow population. This sharp-shinned hawk was hanging out next to the feeder, which really doesn't seem like a smart hunting strategy on its part. I watched it for a while and think from its behaviour that it might be a youngster from this year's hatch. It did seem a bit clumsy and clueless. These hawks are an interesting contrast in many ways to the merlins that are the other hunting species we have in the city.