Tag Archives: Ozark winter

Winter Hiking Weather

So far winter in the Ozarks is following the new pattern. Cold moves in for a few days. Warmer temperatures move in for a few days. The latter are good winter hiking weather.

All spring and summer I take plant pictures. I do download and file them in a file for that year. Winter is the time to go over the pictures and try to complete plant picture sets for the botany project.

winter hiking weather good for seeing American Holly

American Holly is a holiday plant with its green leaves and red berries. Winter is a good time to see it.

The other day I set off for ShawneeMac Lakes Conservation Area. American Holly grows there. It isn’t supposed to grow in Dent County, but it didn’t read the book.

Holly is an evergreen shrub. I took a picture of it last summer. Green holly against green trees defeats the purpose of the picture: to show what the plant looks like.

In winter holly is still green. The other trees, shrubs etc. are not green, don’t have leaves to hide the holly. Winter is the time to get the plant picture. Winter hiking weather is the time to go walking.

geese on ShawneeeMac Lakes during winter hiking weather

Canada geese do make themselves known by honking loudly from near shore. They are silent as the flock glides across the lake.

The lakes were full of water after a wet fall. The short leaf pines looked lovely. The sunny day had brought other hikers out on the trail.

The trails around the lakes are easy walking. The lake views from the various bridges showed the extent of the lakes much more than when trees block them. A flock of Canadian geese were enjoying the lakes.

watching Canada geese during winter hiking weather

Canada geese can become nuisances. They seem to visit ShawneeMac Lakes on a short term basis.

Several of the holly plants were decked out with red berries. Holly has two plants. The male produces the pollen. The females produce the berries. A number of plants including American persimmons have that arrangement.

Now I have the American Holly plant picture. The next time winter hiking weather arrives, I will be back out on the trail to take winter bud pictures of various trees, shrubs and woody vines.

Enjoy nature for all seasons in Exploring the Ozark Hills, a book of nature essays and photographs.

Another Goat Winter Looming

What is a goat winter? It’s another winter of milking in the dark; doing chores in the cold, snow and ice; putting out hay; and all the other things that come up with livestock.

Nubian doe High Reaches Julliette

High Reaches Juliette stands looking toward the barn. She knows it’s milking time. She knows she should go into the barn. It’s more fun to make me go out and get her.

Why should I keep bothering with dairy goats? It’s not like I make any money at it. Far from it. They pay their way, if I don’t count labor.

Fall seems to bring up lots of uncertainty. Fall is the portal to winter. The days are getting shorter, colder. Everything is dying back, scaling back. Everything but the work load. That increases.

The garden must be cleared. The final harvest must be put up. The goat barn needs a final cleaning out with the loads going onto the garden. Goats need to be bred for those cute spring kids.

Nubian buck Goat Town USA Gaius hates goat winter

Goat Town USA Gaius looks out under the icicles lining his roof eave after a winter storm.

Did I say cute? Is there really a ray of light in this fall gloom? Is there a glimmer of a reason to put up with another goat winter?

For at least five months I must get up before dawn, struggle into long johns, heavy clothes and jackets. That’s before tromping out to the barn to roust the goats out of a warm spot to come in to be milked and fed. Each of those evenings I get to bundle up again and again roust the goats out of a warm spot.

So the annual assessment begins again.

Nubian doe High Reaches Violet

High Reaches Violet isn’t worried about winter coming. She will miss the grass, but likes the hay.

On the downside of a goat winter is doing chores in the dark and cold, watching the bedding layer mount up knowing spring mucking is coming and taking in less and less milk as the girls dry off to get fat with kids. I want to go places like attend a symposium, visit friends, maybe a book signing. Chores take longer, days are shorter leaving even less time between morning and evening chores, that window of time I can go anywhere.

spotted Nubian doelings will see their first goat winter

These three spotted Nubian doelings find storm downed sycamore trees great places to play.

On the upside of a goat winter is decent milk and cheese. There is that next crop of kids to anticipate. The garden would not do as well without the annual influx of manure.

Another goat winter is coming up. We will all survive. Spring is 170 days away.