Snow in the south is a gift of clear quiet reflection on nature. It is rarely so much to create hardship but enough to alter plans; enough to slow you down. On my walk with the dogs i delighted in the music of winter; the remaining brown and brittle leaves rattling from hardwood treetops and snow crunching below. Somewhere a pilated woodpecker hammered a snag. it was so loud it sounded like a construction site. I could hear a commercial jet and looked ahead of the sound just in time to locate it before it disappeared behind a magnificent virginia pine. The hens foraged in any snow less area they could find. The 3 barred rocks looked all the more handsome in their striped feathers against the brilliant crystalline ground.

My walk is a least a 5 mile loop over to Sally Ann mountain where from the highest ridge i can see the mountains of Tennessee on one side, and North Carolina on the other. The air is crisp and fragrant. I look for antler sheds, seed pods and interesting cones to add to my collection, but instead find the remains of an owl. The feathers are in bad shape and are not fit for collecting, but the passing of this bird is acknowledged and mourned.

Winter light enhances the linear quality of bare branches. A pattern often presents itself within the confusion of tangled vegetation that has never known a trimmer or pruner.

A braid of twisting vines hung from its host tree. Winter is a good time to find strangling vines and pull them away. What satisfaction there is when a vine high in a tree can be pulled away; sometimes the struggle is such that when the vine gives, i fall backwards into the ground. I always laugh.

On the forest floor a palette of enviable greens challenge me to a mixing duel. How does one make the color of lichen? it is lots of zinc white with a hint of oxide of chromium and a tiny hint of turquoise...or perhaps mostly zinc white and a tad of forest green. The little mosses are almost straight sap green right out of the tube.

Freezing cold water is no deterrent for Trout. She will surf the waterfall and scramble along the slippery rocks with finesse. What a comfort she was a few evenings ago as i started a walk too late in the day, only to find myself way into the woods after dark. Had snow not been on the ground to brighten the darkness, i might not have found a way back to a familiar route. I arrived at the waterfall and crossed by scooting along a massive fallen tree. Midway over the falls i stopped and watched the thundering white foam roar below me; when i looked up i could see Mars burning brightly red among an early showing of bright stars. In this moment attuned to the sheltering arms of the forest i was fearless and content. Had my derrière not been icy from my tree straddling crossing, i might have stayed out much longer.

Easter is always good company. She is my smallest chicken, but one of the bravest and most sociable of the flock. she has maintained a rather high place in the pecking order despite her size; indeed her wisdom and experience outflanks the tank-thick barred rocks in most situations.

Speaking of the barred-rocks; Vera demonstrates how she feels about these tiresome photo-ops.


  1. I listened to a talk this morning about conscious contact and how so often we miss out on the magic of consciousness because we are not present.
    Being with you here today brought this to light.
    You are purely present at all times in your haven and stronghold.
    What a blessing and inspiration.

  2. Oh Hai Chickory!

    Thank you for the wonderful walk in the woods and the chicken pix.


  3. That Trout. She has a brave heart.

  4. I'll go walking with you in the woods any day! Lovely.

  5. su: that is my goal. to be very present and to appreciate this gift of place. your visits are always appreciated.

    xl: oh hai! you seeing double this morning? ;-)

    moi: moi, you just dont know. what a quiet and soulful animal..still has a bit of feral to her. the coyotes scream like babies at night and Trout remains stiff and vigilant. i never worry with the Big Fish by my side.

    dani: thank you. please know you will be in my thoughts today. its rainy so its an art day for me so this will be my walk too.

  6. what a beautiful place you live in!
    And your a poet as well as an artist.

  7. I love walking in our small piece of woods. There's something very soothing about it. The small creek we have is nothing like the river your Trout swims in. It's actually more of a storm water runoff that is about a foot or so deep. It has a clay bed with a high iron content, so if the water flow slows, the water turns orange from rust. Many dogs have gone through that and come out looking like golden retrievers.

    I walked in the woods behind the house on Saturday with the Pudge. We have a sledding hill back there. The snow was knee-deep and a lot of effort to go the 500 yards to get to the hill. We were the first there and the pudge had a heck of a time making run after run down the slope to pack it down.

    What I noticed while I was watching him sled was how absolutely quiet it was. I was looking for deer figuring they could come right up on us because the sound was so muffled, but we didn't see any. After about an hour and being joined by one of his buddies, we called it a day and went for hot chocolate because it was friggin cold out there. We have more of the same coming up for Wednesday.

    That twisted vine is pretty cool. An artist like you could do something with it (assuming it's not still green). Thanks for taking us on your walk.

  8. a new
    social phenomenon,
    and never tiresome for me,
    is these 'vacation snaps' by 'strangers' (except that those are not vacation snaps, but everyday home, and we're not really strangers, but blog friends) -- i love these real life glimpses into the lives of others -- recently: ruela in fog in portugal, foam in snow around her neighborhood in eastern u.s., and my own coulee walk in western canada -- for me, these posts beat the crap out of (truly tiresome) this is my thoughts (uh huh), this is my sexual preference (ugh), this is my politics (so you really can fool some of the people all of the time... congratulations ;) -- GRRHERHAHA HAHA HA HA!

    your 'chickory' is a beautiful place -- your walkabouts and critters always facscinating -- reminds me i could go for some kentucky fried about now... love these posts, c -- very nice!

    × × ×


  9. Oh, chickory - what a lovely walk. I love your Trout. :) I had a black lab (back in my youth) that loved to go swimming in the river with me. :) And Easter is beautiful! I can tell she is one smart chick. xox Pam

  10. You are so lucky to live in a place where you can be alone. I have to travel far to be alone in nature and it shits me. Unless I'm in the ocean. I can find solitude out deep.

    I can smell the earth and snow and woods just by looking at this. I love smelling the earth in the winter. I'm glad I grew up in the mid-west and got to experience snow and cold. I miss it, but it's only good for times like this and sports. (NOT when you are wearing high heels and running around town in the snow!)

    thanks for the look-see into your world.

  11. Just saw the photos of Burt on your side bar. Damn, he was hot. Remember when he posed nude for the cover of Cosmo? (Back in the day when it was ok for a man to have body hair?!)

  12. What a lovely venture in the forest with my favourite dawgs! Love to you ... that new pup sure is cute. What a braveheart Trout is!

    Hugs and kisses.

  13. ps ~ got the blog on my own domain:

  14. Haha the last photo is so funny. I'm amazed that you seem to have the hens with the most personality. They are just adorable! If they could make it, they'd be invited to the wedding too haha ;)

  15. What a lovely walk. Every time I visit your blog I want to either move to the country or build a chicken coop in my back yard!

  16. You have no idea how happy I am to see Easter. xoxox.

  17. What is a Virginia Pine doing in Georgia? Don't tell me they migrate, lady.

  18. Poetry of nature. I envy your walk, it sounds beautiful. Love LOVE the photo of Trout, no wonder she has that name. Swims like a fish. Those moments are rare and beautiful when you feel one with the universe and all is right in the world. Enjoyed this post very much.

  19. Chicken Butt. snort!

    Easter is so pretty. Now I have to go back and see what she looked like as a wee chicklet.

    TROUTY, ya swimming, tree climbing, varmint chasin' hound. She's a Trihoundalete (suddenly the Olympic music wells up in the background as Trout climbs onto the podium to accept her gold medal)

  20. publius; maybe our silver lining is the time to reflect on beauty and goodness now that we have stepped off the hamster wheel. thank you!

    buzz; awesome! your place sounds beautiful. i loved your snow photos...thats BIG snow. my new favorite is cocoa with cinnamon. mmmmmm. you know i have never been on a sled...a trash can lid, yes, sled no. ;-)
    i think youre right about the braid,,,maybe as trim on the studio?

    /t; you know, i do too! i loved all the photos of your yard, the deer and plants ...your wifes truck. ;-) slice of life posts bring us together and illustrate our connectedness. ive got to go look at ruela and foam now.

    yoborobo; plush chickies! yes thats what you need to create next. live ones though. skelebirds arent that cute. you cannot separate a lab from water. cannot!

    la diva cucina: smelling the winter earth...yes! thats it. im sorry its hard for you to be alone. when i am crowded, i am not as sweet. you know, a lot of the saints went off and lived alone in the forest or desert of a cave or whatever...sure! its easier to be a saint when you dont have to interact with other people!! i love the quiet of being way out in the deep blue too.

    thank you for not deriding my love of burt as so many have done. LOL. burt reynolds was super hot as a young man. how might his career have gone if he had done serious roles like he did in deliverance? once he did smokey and the bandit his fate was sealed. the new style over-groomed men are like slick magazine ads...sterile.

    faery: a new blog? whew. i will be over to visit. your new favorite shocked. they are not nearly wolfy enough for you are they? youre a sweetheart. its good to see you.

    edith; theres an idea. who has ever had a rose petal chicken? im sure easter would oblige.

    run lori: you know, urban chicken keeping is a 'thing' right now. and the coop styles are fantastic!
    they are great pets...and they eat bugs all summer long. do it! do it!

    boxer; you and me. she sure went far the day she disappeared. you know, ive slated her to be your training chicken. hee hee

    black bart: lol! guess you didnt see lord of the rings. (trees can walk!)

    pam: those one with the universe moments are communion with the Creator. often when you recognize you are experiencing it, your analytical mind wakes up and spoils the whole thing.

    trout is a great swimmer. i took her in the toccoa and watched in horror as she swam into the fast current and rode it out of my sight. running down the bank i saw her swim to the side and get out. a big wide smile on her face.

    big shamu: i will find those baby pics and post them!

  21. chickory,

    i think it was you
    who said that (about the
    slice of life thing) on one of my posts,
    and it brought me to appreciate those connectedness things you mention here -- of course you can never go far wrong with pictures of trucks :)

    × × ×


  22. My neighbors have some chickens and they are remarkably quiet. But I wonder if my cats would try to attack them. I had a dog growing up that got a taste for our chickens and we had to get rid of him because he was always after them... Nowdays I have three cats and a small back yard...


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