Thursday, December 30, 2010

Azalea Path

This last day (oops I should have said last post) of 2010 I wanted to show you a place I had been this past spring. I wanted to save it for a time when the snow was blowing and we had our minds set on warmer weather. This is the time with the snow blowing and our wishes turn to spring.
A friend of mine and I set out to find the Azalea Path that we had heard a lot about. It is a Private Garden nestled in the back woods of South West Indiana not far from where I live.  Driving through the winding road that leads to this little piece of paradise we were surprised to see this sign indicating we had arrived at the gardens. We didn't know what to expect.
 We turned down the drive that takes you into the heart of the garden where you park. There was no indication of which path to take. This garden encompasses 50 acres more or less.  It is difficult for this person that lives on a 1/4 acre to wrap my mind around this much acerage.
However once you start walking the paths you just become engrossed in the beauty of nature.

The bit of tweaking of azaleas planted about everywhere you look enhances what Nature has given. 
You can certainly tell that the human hand has made its offerings too.  
 Of course every large garden must have a waterfall. This garden doesn't disappoint.
There are several bridges to traverse.

Large and small ponds to explore. 
There is even a childrens area. The play house and small furniture is for their Grands. 
Big kids are welcome too. 
If your tastes go more toward modern art there is a section that has several nice pieces. I wish I had written down what artists were displayed. I sure I did but I am sure I have lost that information. 
If the modern are is, well too modern, you will find more conventional art to peruse. 
There are benches everywhere. You can stop and relax, take in some of the majesty of the woods. 

Some of the benches are even incorporated into the art.

In one large section, my personal favorite, a tornado came through and ripped out a huge hunk of the tops of the trees. They hired a chain saw sculptor to come in and do their magic. 

These were only a small portion of the carvings. This angel seems to watch over this area now. Obviously one of my favorite areas of the garden. 
Oh, did I forget to mention the Azaleas?? 
Since we were told we had missed the grand display due to the hot weather we had in early spring we will just have to go back. 
If you get a wild hair to join me on a visit to the Azalea Path I would be delighted to be your guide.
They also have a page on Facebook. You can go there and see the garden shrouded in snow. It is equally as beautiful then.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Week Before Christmas and all through the house

No one was stirring. Not even me.  I was sitting here by the fire trying to thaw out, feeling so lucky to have the tree trimmed, the house straightened (as much as usual), gifts bought and wrapped. Yes, life is good now.
We have even taken time to do the first of the Christmas Bird Counts that we participate in this time of year.  The sky was so beautiful at dawn. The fact that it was only 2degreesF to start the morning didn't dampen our spirits. 
 Owls were out on this cold morning looking for the last morsel to keep them warm through out the day. The skies turned to buttermilk as the morning wore on. There wasn't any more of the sun to be seen for the rest of the day as the clouds congealed and filled with ice and snow to be later dumped on the area.
 We won't complain because we saw 60 species of birds. Quite good for these kind of weather conditions. We were a small part of a team of 45 hard core birders at the Goose Pond Christmas Count this year. When all was totaled there were 104 species of birds seen. One of the teams found a Ross's Goose in with a flock of Canada Geese. This was a first for this count. While this was a special find since this bird is a rare species for this area my favorites are always the more common birds. The Short-eared Owls flying around barking at each other and a Tundra Swan taking flight from a pond edge that was open. These usual characters make me think it is all worth getting out on a cold winter day.
If you would like to read more about last year's count you can go here. It will be a few days before this year's official numbers and species are counted and published. I hope everyone is doing the fun things they want to do on these cold winter days. Take care and keep warm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This is how the big snow and blow started in our area a couple of days ago. The sun was trying its best to peek through those snow clouds.
 When the clouds started dumping the snow it was a slow process. It took all night to get about 3 inches of snow accumulated. This picture was just at the start.
 The next day despite the temp not rising out of the teens the sun made it seem like it wasn't so cold.
 The outside christmas decorations got a bit of a flocking making them seem a little more authentic.
I hope everyone is toasty warm and enjoying the season.