Sunday, 9 February 2020

Our Snowy Hinterland

08 February 2020

     It was for us a perfect winter's day. Fresh snow covered the landscape, pristine and white, pure almost, and the temperature was minus nine with just a hint of a breeze. There could hardly be a more agreeable day. 
     Winter here is characterized by a suite of birds that come from farther north and are only present during the coldest months of the season. We set out to discover them and to bask in the glorious conditions of this most splendid Great Lakes region in which we are privileged to live.

     We had good luck finding an interesting variety of species but the opportunities for photographing them were scant. Usually they were too far away, or skittish, and not remaining in one place long enough to permit a picture.
     The first bird we saw was this interesting dark morph Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and I think that Miriam did a first rate job of obtaining a few decent images of a bird that was not especially close, and was partially hidden by branches. She would carefully direct me to get the car into position for a better angle and by shooting multiple times from different vantages, here is what she came up with.

     A Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) in a distant tree was impossible to capture.

     Initially, I had thought that due to the paucity of bird pictures I would not create a post based on this day out, but it occurred to me that for people who don't live in an area where snow occurs (and even for those that do) images of the winter landscape might be interesting nevertheless.
     This farmer had obviously taken advantage of frozen ground to bring in lumber from the forested areas on his property.

     I am not quite sure what this is all used for, but it is obviously a business, for there is far more than any one farm could use for fuel, for example.
     Farms, and their associated barns and outbuildings look appealing at any time of year, but perhaps they attract our attention more in the winter.

     Another tree furnished a fine perch for a keen-eyed Red-tailed Hawk to scan the fields for rodents; once again, however, it was too far away to show any detail on the bird.

     Many of the rural townships are characterized by a one-room schoolhouse, like the one Miriam attended as a young child. Some, like this structure here, have been modified as a residence.

     There was snow in the woodlots. Animal tracks in the morning will reveal the creatures that have travelled through there overnight.

     A red barn made a bold statement against the white of the snow.

     This grand old house has stood for many a year and no doubt its walls would have stories to tell could they only talk.

     We finally saw a Red-tailed Hawk fairly close, but despite Miriam's best efforts the pictures were a little blurry. I am using one anyway!

     There were many Amish folk out and about and this group seemed to be involved clearing a brushy area in some fashion.

     The young boy had his own pony and sled and seemed determined not to stray too far from the pony which he petted constantly. The dogs were content to act as bystanders.

     This old shed has obviously seen better days and it is questionable as to whether it will withstand the next storm.

     It is a longstanding practice in the Mennonite community that as children get married and need their own space, that additions are simply added to the existing house, some of the structures becoming very large as a result, as shown in the images below.

     A fine sunny day was not to be missed as an opportunity to hang the washing on the line. Mennonite ladies' fashion on display.

     Some sensible people just don't worry about the latest trends and figure that what has worked for centuries still works today! I wholeheartedly agree.


  1. Beautiful photographs, show a lovely snowy landscape and I find it nice to see those houses, sheds or school in that place that seems time has stopped outside the urban world, even fashion stopped there!
    A very interesting walk, friend David.
    Sorry for my absence, lately I'm not in good health.
    Many kisses.

  2. Hello David,
    Lovely blog and fantastic photo's. I wish we had the snow. I love the landscape covered with snow. I agree with you. I wish we in Holland were not so worried about our figures and cloth's. At my friends farm the Rough-legged Buzzard is to see. But helas I don't have the lenses to get a bit of a pictures.
    Have a wonderful day

  3. Thank you. Despite the relative paucity of birds this is a post I loved seeing. We do get snow here (occasionally) but never to that extent and our snow fields are an area I visit rarely. Fashion/shashion.
    Huge thanks to you and to Miriam for showing us this wintry wonderland.
    And, in positive news from here. It is raining. Good rain. Gentle rain which I hope has gone a long, long way towards extinguishing the fires nearest to us, and to rejuvenating the land. It has certainly rejuvenated my spirits.

  4. Hello David,
    It's wonderful to see the Mennonites houses. I have never seen houses like that.

  5. What a lovely post today. We have not had any snow this year so it's great to see your beautiful snowy landscapes. Glad you got to see some buzzards, Miriam did well to get such good photos. And great to see the Amish, no chance of that here. And very sensible to stay out of the fashion games that rule so many people's lives. Have a good, new week! Regards, Valerie

  6. Preciosas imágenes que por supuesto en mi ciudad no se ven. Maravillosa nieve y bonitas casas grandes de menonitas. A pesar de la distancia, Miriam ha hecho un gran trabajo con esos disparos.
    Un precioso post blanco de nieve para una hermosa mañana.
    Un gran abrazo para ambos de nuestra parte apreciado compadre David.

  7. LOL I love seeing these photos but I fail to see how -9C can be an agreeable day!!!

    The Amish people fascinate me, we saw them and looked around their farms and shops when we were in Pennsylvania. I am inclined to think they live an excellent life, far simpler than what we struggle with.

    Well done Miriam, great photos.

    All the very best to you both, Diane

  8. Hari Om
    David, this was a most wonderful post - the raptors adding something special to the white expanse! LOVE the shot of the single tree... YAM xx

  9. Miriam is an accomplished photographer! I like everything in the above pictures: the the snow covered landscape, the birds, the houses, the horses and pony, the Mennonite people.
    Very enjoyable post!

  10. Thanks David for the pictures of snowy landscapes. Here it's finished the snow, since 6 years, nothing more.
    Are you allowed to photograph these communities?
    The last picture is very funny.
    Gros bisous David

    1. They don't like being photographed face on, especially by idiots who think they are equivalent to a Disneyland tourist attraction.

  11. For me it is very beautiful to go out on cold and sunny winter days, certainly where I live there is no snow, only great frost, or a rare scarce snowfall every 50 years. I really like to see snowy landscapes and I imagine the odd that it should be to find them close in those conditions, the difficulty of walking in the snow should be great, just by car I imagine it is comfortable to do so. Few birds but I enjoyed seeing the snowy landscapes and the typical constructions of that area of ​​Canada

  12. Hi Both,
    Interesting post giving an insight into the Mennonite people, they certainly finish up with some very large properties, we have so far this Winter seen no sign of any snow, just a considerable amount of rain and very high winds today.Good to see the Rough-legged Buzzard, weel done Miriam.
    All the best,

  13. Snow makes farms more attractive in winter.
    The wood is waiting for the buyer.

  14. What a great excursion and birds too. Thank you!

  15. ...I wish that we had a snowy January back home, instead of a contonual freeze and thaw cycle. Beautiful images! I invite you to share this post at:

  16. I'm glad you didn't hesitate too long in posting these wonderful snowy images, of vistas so unfamiliar to me.

  17. Way way back, I have Amish blood in the genealogy tree. I lived in the Colorado Rockies for over 50 years...that white doesn't appeal to me any longer. But such a beautiful contrast with the clear, blue, sky.

    Both buzzard a hawk are great photos Ms. M

    thanks for linking up at I'd Rather B Birdin' this week.

    ~Hootin' Anni (aka Anni at I'd Rather B Birdin)

  18. I enjoyed the pictures just as much as seeing the birds; however, so much snow has made my toes cold! Thanks for sharing.

  19. No seu cantinho vejo muitas fotografias inspiradoras.
    No meu dia a dia não vejo neve.
    Nem vida selvagem.
    Apenas carros e apartamentos.
    Adoro saborear tal magia na sua página.
    Obrigada por partilhaaar.
    Sorrisos de talento.
    Megy Maia

  20. But please don’t tell me Miriam has to wash and hang the laundry the old fashioned way! I’d rather know she was out taking more beautiful winter photos!. And it really does look beautiful through your eyes! I enjoyed the tour immensely. I do sometimes wonder if I would have loved Winter more had we lived where it was cold and crisp and sunny rather than chilly, damp, and dark.

    1. Not any more, Sallie, but her mom did when she was a child.

  21. You are correct that those of us who don't experience snow in our "winters" enjoy seeing images of a snow-covered landscape. I fully understand the frustration of trying to get bird pictures when the birds are too far away or they are half hidden by limbs. Indeed that is my experience with bird photography most of the time!

  22. Great pictures of our rural landscape.

  23. Loved seeing these photos, it's a whole new world to me.
    The simple life by these people looks interesting..

  24. Perhaps the farmer with all the wood had an outdoor wood furnace to warm the house.

  25. I really appreciated the clothesline pic.

  26. Love the pictures and the information. The snowy landscapes are amazing, and I didn't know Mennonites "grew" their houses that way.

  27. Interesting how you got from birds to Mennonites. I guess you saw some birds around the Mennonites. Anyway you saw some interesting birds.

  28. I was wondering about the additions as the homes seemed pretty large for one family, so extended family under one roof makes sense. It is good to see the snowy landscape, Im glad to view it on the page and not have my boots melting a puddle on the floor. :o) Have a great week.

  29. Oh, these photos are amazing. Knowing that the school house and the other old bldgs are still being used and cared for makes me happy.

    We have been watching white crowned sparrows enjoying the bird feeder.

  30. What a lovely post with some pretty neat landscape shots. Well done!

  31. Naturen och den rena fina snön ser ut som vilken vinterdag som helst här i Norden men bilderna på byggnaderna och mänsklig aktivitet visar att det handlar om ett annat samhälle. Jag gillar bilderna på klänningarna som torkar i vinden!
    Här har vi nyss upplevt en riktig vinterstorm men mycket skador av de hårda vindarna och förstås elavbrott på flera håll i landet. Alltid oroligt när vinden dånar men vi klarade oss gott denna gång. Termometern visade +6,8 grader Celsius i morse, helt galet. Borde vara 20 grader kallare och ett lika vackert snötäcke som på dina bilder.

  32. How much beautiful snow !!! I envy and congratulate you. However, it is somewhere winter!
    Nice meeting with buzzards!

  33. As much as I love birds and the great bird photos you post, I think this was one of your best posts ever. :)
    The landscapes look beautiful and it was really interesting to see some local architecture - and clothing. I always thought the Amish and the Mennonites are two different churches, but now I read (on Wikipedia again) that there are Amish Mennonites... Fascinating communities, with some values we can easily share and some we perhaps wouldn't. The clothesline photo is a keeper.
    Happy birding!

  34. Nice views of the snow and birds.
    Here in southern Finland still no snow and not enough cold, this winter...

  35. Hi David.

    Beautiful pictures of the landscape.
    The Buzzard is super.

    Greeting from Patricia.

  36. David, I like the Miriam's photos, especially of a Buteo lagopus and the picture of a farm with a red shed.I also liked the snowy landscapes, here all snow melted and it's only grey all around.
    I disagree 'that what has worked for centuries still works today' for example the art of photography.

    1. I was referring only to the style of the dresses, Nadezda.

  37. Hello, beautiful captures of the raptors. The winter scenery looks cold but beautiful. I like seeing the countryside, the farms and farm houses. The Mennonites are hard working people. Great photos. Enjoy your day, wishing you a great new week!

  38. Les robes sont toutes les mêmes, à part la couleur, c'est marrant, au moins on ne se pose pas trop de question pour le choix le matin!
    Les maisons deviennent immenses, mais ça veut dire que les familles y restent tout le temps? Les enfants des enfants prennent la place des personnes qui décèdent? C'est une façon de faire, assez économique finalement.
    Les buses sont belles, je crois que ma dernière photo d'oiseau n'était pas un milan mais une buse.
    Bonne journée

    1. Yes the accommodations are passed on in that fashion. The vast majority of the community will never travel more than a few kilometres from their home.

  39. I love the bird photos but you're right in thinking people want to see the scenery, I certainly do! It's always interesting to have even a small insight into how others live their lives.

  40. It was years ago we had snow like that David. So good you show us trough the photos of Miriam how wonderful it looks. Indeed the houses are good to be seen in these conditions. De added houses to the main house make it almost like a little village where you do not have to step outside when you go for a coffee at your childrens home. The long line of tree stamps in the field makes me wonder how manny trees had to be cut down. Are the trees that have been cut down replaced with young samplings? The photo of the dresses hanging to dry is fantastic.

    1. Hi Roos: I am not sure whether replanting takes place but I would imagine that it does. Mennonites are known as responsible foresters and cut selectively. Also the logs are drawn out with horses so heavy machinery is not churning up the soil.

  41. My friends who are wood-firing potters, frequently have to buy great lots of lumber to fire their kilns, which usually takes overnight and reaches temperatures of 2400 degrees F or more. That might be one of the wood-cutters' customers.

  42. It's interesting to see a little of the landscape, especially in the snowy conditions; something we seem to see less of every year. Consequently we are getting less of some bird species with only a few Smew and virtually no Waxwings this winter. I suspect there are less winter thrushes too, though I haven't heard anyone else comment on them. I'm with you (and the Mennonite women) on the issue of fashion, particularly since hearing a radio programme detailing the incredible waste of resources and exploitation of workers associated with that industry.

  43. Hi David, beautiful photos of the hawk and the snowlandscape. I love the big houses. We have now the Ciara storm and rain. The dresses are fantastic.

  44. Beautiful views with the clear, blue winter sky. Sweet to see the young Amish boy with his pony and sled. Our Amish population continues to grow here in Kentucky.

  45. Hi David!!! Beautiful captures and landscape.. Happy week

  46. That's a fine pile of wood.
    It's a lovely winter adventure, too. The photos are just evidence of birdies, I saw some white-throated sparrows today. I just couldn't get a photo, though.

  47. Hi David. Thank you to you, and particularly Miriam, for this post portraying the beauty of the area you live in. I can easily see how you view winter snow in such a positive light - but where are the Swowy Owls? ;-}. We had our first snow of the winter today. Most of it soon turned to slush, which then froze as the sun started setting - I expect it will be a little hazardous under-foot tomorrow.

    My best wishes to you both - have a good week - - - Richard

    1. The Snowy Owls were there, Richard; we just didn't get pictures of them.

  48. Loved the pictures of our snowy land. Wish I could do as well. Always end up grey looking with my camera. Enjoyed the few birds you managed to get. We have a hawk living on the roof of our building I believe. All that wood must be for sale I think, as you say, too much for one farm. These pix are so typical of our countryside here. Thanks for sharing them.

  49. Querido David perdona mi tardanza, pero nuevamente la salud de mi madre me tiene muy ocupada. Enhorabuena por las preciosas fotos que junto con tu comentario nos cuenta una preciosa historia, me gustan las granjas, los palos para los cierres y como no estoy de acuerdo contigo que lo de hace años funciona y muy bien. El ave es muy hermosa. Un fuerte abrazo para ti y para Miriam.

  50. Prachtige serie foto's David.
    Groet Kees.

  51. Thank you, David, for deciding to produce a post about your outing. The serenity created by snowfall is quite special. Your wonderful tableau of woods, fields, farm buildings and people going about their daily tasks all accompanied by your unique narration is very satisfying.

    That Rough-legged Buzzard is handsome! I empathize with Miriam attempting to photograph the Red-tailed Hawk. Their superb vision not only helps them find prey at a distance, but identifies paparazzi instantly so they can flee long before we can focus!

  52. Gracias por los maravillosos paisajes, me encanta ver la nieve. Un abrazo para Miriam y para ti.

  53. Schitterend! I love all the photos. Also the mennonite clothes.

  54. Judging by the number of comments, you didn’t need fancy birds to please your readers! The countryside is so beautiful with the clean snow. Nice to see the Amish and Mennonites’ communities as I lived among them in Minnesota and miss their simple ways. They start working very young, as exemplified by the boy and his pony cart.

  55. Hi David,
    I certainly appreciate the images of a snowwhite world with a bright sky.
    These sightings are getting very rare out here.
    Also, I like the new look of your site.

    Best regards, Corrie

  56. Hei David.Prøvde å legge inn ett svar fra min.mobil siden jeg er på det forsvant så..jeg prøver på ny!
    En veldig flott resyme av en nydelig bilder.Likte veldig godt å se de gårdene.Minner megnom bøker fra tiden med de norske immigrantene der borte.Ett hardt liv men de var lykkelige i sitt slit.Fine kjoler!Sparer mye penger på sånt!
    Da ønsker jeg dere ,din kone og deg en fin dag
    Må si det er utruligt mange flotte bloggere her på siden din.Det forteller litt om deg og hva du liker og at du er generøs mot andre så vel
    Lev vel og ha det fint😊

  57. I adore the photo of the laundry on the line. It's really lovely. And while I see enough snow here in Michigan to be no great fan, I will say that those Canadian countryside photos are pretty darned beautiful and show your lovely province off quite well indeed!

  58. I loved the scenery.
    Very different here in Brazil.

  59. HiDavid,
    Great series of images. Great shots of the Buteo lagopus!Miriam did a great job!
    Beautiful atmospheric pictures of the snowy landscape!
    The laundry on the clothesline, I really like!

  60. As much as I enjoy your bird images, it's very nice to see the scenery that surrounds the places you find them. Thanks for sharing your snow photos. I grew up with snow but don't see much of it lately.

    Thanks for being a part of 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World

  61. I am so pleased you decided to post these wonderful photos. Snow looks lovely from the warmth here.

  62. Beautiful snowy photos. We don't get to experience snow here. You took great photos of the hawk which we don't get to see here. Lovely blue sky and white snow.

  63. David - it is wonderful to see these photos of the landscape around you - I have a better sense of where you live. Miriam is a talented photographer, and how blessed she is to have someone willing to move the car just right for her photos!

  64. Love the snowscapes. How magical and beautiful! Temps here today are in the 90s in my corner of the world!

  65. Snowy wonderful, I am in love Red-tailed Hawk, pure settings.

  66. hello David
    beautiful winter pictures also hit the birds well, you don't have to worry about the cold, there is enough wood for heating.
    Regards Frank

  67. Beautiful landscape - including the buildings.
    I miss snow. Sadly it has become a rare phenomen here (Ebeltoft in Denmark).
    White and blue... love it.
    Regards Lisbeth

  68. So do the Mennonites have a different laundry day than the Amish? I remember that the Amish in Pennsylvania did their laundry on a Monday, and I enjoyed seeing the laundry hanging on the line outside. Beautiful images of your snowy landscape. Sometimes I miss the snow, especially those cold clear days. What I hated though was driving on icy roads early in the morning to work and the shoveling. I can happily do without that.

    1. It's interesting that you should mention this point, Carola. Miriam and I often joke about it, because as you say wash day was traditionally on Monday, but now it seems that wash day is any day when the weather is favourable, except Sunday, of course.

  69. Madre mía cuanta nieve David. Este año por Béjar no ha querido aparecer. La Covatilla está sin nada.
    Buen objetivo el de Miriam, pilló muy bien al pájaro.
    Me conformaré viendo la nieve en tus fotos.
    Te deseo buena noche.
    Un abrazo.

  70. Very pretty photos! The buzzard is unique! He gives a very dark feathering ... wild-legged Buzzard is also found in the Netherlands!
    Thank you David for your all best wishes!
    Yes Sir, I can boogie (lol) ... I mean I understand your order! I try to get better very soon!

  71. Thank you for coming to my blog, and leaving a comment.

    We live in snow country also, but I love your photos of yours! How wonderful that you enjoy venturing out, in the Great Lakes Region! A ways over to the west, of us. And we know how very, very Winter-like, your area is!

    Love the photos of farms and old homes. How interesting that Mennonite people simply added on to the family home, when children needed space of their own. Very simple, and an old fashioned form of 'wise.'

    Today's 'children' would not agree! -smile- Off on their own, in their own homes, etc.

    But think of how helpful it was... For instance, when a new baby arrived....Parents, and siblings, and in-laws were right there, to lend a hand.

    And I am *envious* of their dresses! I wear long dresses myself. Although I'd prefer a different color selection. -smile-

    Sorry for being OT, and not about the birds. I simply zeroed in on what I liked.

    💕 💕 💕Happy Valentine Day💕 💕 💕

  72. Hello David.
    What a wonderful winter weather you have there, here the winter looks more like autumn with lots of wind and rain; - ((.
    Beautiful photos of the landscape and the rough-legged buzzard.)
      Nice to see all of them.
    Also the pictures of the Amish just like the dresses of the Mennonite ladies'.
    I read a lot of books about that, I thought you couldn't photograph them.
    Nice blog. Greetings Tinie

  73. Buen caminar por la nieve, para hacer esas preciosas fotos. Aunque la tares no era fácil has conseguido encontrar interesantes aves.


  74. Hi David,
    These are the landscapes we are missing in the west of Europe. To-day for instance: +9 degrees, windy(5-6 Beaufort) and sunny. To-morrow is expected to be a wet day with lots of rain and a strong wind (7-8 Beaufort). This is supposed to be our winter.
    Looking at your pictures I still hope there will come a change in the weather with us. Many people would appreciate a period with snow and ice.
    Greetings, Kees

  75. Hello David, great winter landscapes. It has been awhile since I have seen the Amish or Mennonites, they have some hard working horses. Love the hawk. Great photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. PS, thank you for the visit and comment on my blog.

  76. Hello. Interesting post. Photos are great.

  77. Hi David,

    You're absolutely right about the fact that (a lot of) people like snow pictures. I enjoy them also and with such a nice day, with nice blue skies it's really wonderful. If there's snow during winter here, I think 99% of the photograhers and other pepole take pictures of it.
    Miriam did a good job on the rough-legged buzzard, they are a sort of rare in NL and it's been a while since I saw one. Nice to see these pictures of one.
    It's also nice to see how other people are living and how their houses look like, quite big!

    As you know we didn't see any snow this winter (if I'm honest, I'm glad about that), it's more like an ongoing autumn here all the time. I hope spring will be there soon and that I can go out birding some more (with Maria).
    By the way, I like the bird in the header, he's wonderful.

    Have a nice weekend and a hug from me,

  78. I am glad you showed snowy scenery and the beautiful houses and barns in that area. Interesting to see the family working together and the laundry on the line too. Our daily lives can be quite different....but then much alike! Love the bird photos! Enjoy your weekend!

  79. Hello friend David,
    how wonderful to have fresh snow. I must honestly say that I really miss the snow here in the Netherlands.
    Your photos of the rough-legged buzzard are really super beautiful! The snow photos afterwards are also so beautiful to see and the red-tailed buzzard is also a very beautiful buzzard.
    How funny that you saw Amish people there. I only know these people from the TV.
    Beautiful series of photo David!
    Dear greetings and a kiss,
    Helma xx

  80. What a handsome buzzard. A stack of wood in the snow like this is quite a sight! It is charming seeing an old structure converted to a home such as that schoolhouse. Really beautiful winter images David. Particularly seeing a glimpse of Mennonite life.

  81. A fabulous post, I did enjoy it very much.
    The snowy photographs are simply beautiful, in fact all of the photographs are wonderful to see.
    My thanks.

    All the best Jan

  82. Replies
    1. Not even close to what we would normally have by this time of the year.

  83. Hi David,
    Wonderful winter scenery.
    I especially loved the first photos of the Rough-legged Buzzard, a beautiful bird brilliantly captured in your photos.
    Also very interesting are the pictures of the Amish community.
    Have a nice Sunday