Orchard Beach is where my family has lived for over 60 years, along Mill Creek, on the Chesapeake Bay.
Wow has it been a cold month here for us in January. I think there has been snow on the ground for a majority of the time, and it has been below freezing for, I would guess, a record number of days.
Snow really does change the landscape in beautiful ways. The way the snow and ice sit in the trees, and on the water of the creek and the pond. There is something magical about the change in the landscape with the snow. The bent and brown corn stalks sleeping in the garden; November ripened habanero peppers eerily dangling on frozen branches. Going out late at night, or early in the morning and the deep silence that comes with a fresh snow fall – the expanse of untouched white except for the tiny fox prints running across the path. Walking down to the back driveway to the water and seeing the crust of ice on top, and the ice-melters churning below the boats to keep ice away from them. Comparing the photo of the brilliant trees across the creek in November, to the brown and white across the creek now is striking. I love living in a place that has such brilliance in four seasons, and I love documenting that change, as I have shared with you.
I got a copy of the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Eastern Region,” with the goal of learning how to identify trees, and learn more about their properties and uses. I was pretty easily able to determine that we certainly have spruces on Orchard Beach. One that my parents planted by the driveway is definitely a black spruce (with bluish-grey colored needles) and there are four huge spruces, 100 + feet tall that my great-grandfather Hidee planted many years ago. They have elegant, swooping branches – so majestic. I am a bit thrown off in identifying them as it seems that spruces are not really native to this area, so I am not sure what kind of spruce it is, because it does not seem like a black spruce. Any thoughts? (You can see a picture below.)
Grandpa built the snowy green house, though it used to be dark brown, almost black shake shingles. Some call it “the barn on the hill” or “the barn in the woods” because of the shape of the eaves and the roof. The mansard roof probably keeps it better insulated, keeping the wood stove fire warmth inside. I’ve heard that the wood stove is a bit big for the house’s size, but with the 30 year old heat pump that broke in August, I am glad it is so big! And, I am glad that we chopped so much wood to have to burn and keep warm.
Here’s to keeping warm and enjoying the beauty of winter!
** Be sure to see the out-takes of this collection, and more photos at EmaBee’s Art Facebook page, here.