December is the month when we transition into winter. This year we began the month with no snow at all.
Buffalo Ridge on December 2
Most of the month we had storms every few days but they were small ones, and the snow didn’t stay around for long.
Big and Little Bluestem and Round-headed Bushclover in the prairie
We had one big – 11 inch – snowfall.
Mike got to use his big snowblower – it only works when there’s a lot of snow.
Then we had several warm misty days and most of the snow melted.
East Center Valley
Buffalo Ridge Prairie
We had one other big, strange storm this month – a wind storm – the strongest one we’ve ever had. One evening there were nearby tornadoes – we spent a few hours in the basement – and then overnight, extremely strong winds. We were lucky. Except for being without power for nearly a day, we escaped with not much damage. Trees came down in the woods, a few across our trails and one across our driveway, but no big ones, and none that caused real damage. This is the ravine next to the driveway where several trees came down. It was always a tangle, but now it’s become even more of a tangle of fallen trees and branches.
On these short days the sun is just high enough to touch the tops of the hills when we take our morning walk,
and we watch it set behind the hills on our afternoon walk.
All winter, starting in late October, we watch hundreds of crows fly north over our ridge every afternoon, probably heading to their night-time roost. It looks like a river of crows in the sky.
They gather in groups in trees and on the ground along the way, in slightly different places each day. They make a tremendous noise, especially when they all rise up from the trees together. A few days ago a group of them landed in front of one of our trail cameras. Mike made a GIF out of the photos:
My last outside project for the year was to clear some of the brush and small trees from the southwest facing slope of Indian Grass Point. It’s extremely steep – I kept slipping down the hill as I worked. And I had to make a path down through the woods below so I could carry away the cut brush. Here are before and after views – looking up the slope. I haven’t finished clearing – there’s still some left to do next spring.
Here are a few more wintry scenes.
The Glen in winter – the stream is frozen now, and there are very few birds. Our bench is still here, but we don’t sit for long – it’s too cold. We can watch Red Squirrels gnawing on walnuts and hear the river of crows flying overhead.
The bench at Hidden Oaks Point
Entrance to the Knife Edge Prairie
Knife Edge Point
Sunset behind Western Prairie