Late Morning Walk at The Preserve at Maxwell Creek

Happy February! Was that the fastest January yet or what?! Honestly, I expect February to go even faster (yes, it already has fewer days, but still....with how my planner is already shaping up, it's going to be fierce!)

We started this month out right and got out for a walk this morning at The Maxwell Creek Nature Preserve about 15 minutes from our house. It's a neat little place with a variety of terrain and a park/playground which was under some serious re-construction when we got there. I'm eager to see what the final product looks like. I'm sure it'll be beautiful and a place for people to get outside for recreation

It was a beautiful, bright, sunny morning. We didn't need coats at all despite it being in the low fifties. There was no real wind and the sun was quite warm. Toby said that the last few times we've been out all he can think is "Spring!" That's true. Immediately, you feel it even if it is still a bit away on the calendar. We've had a very mild winter. No wintry precipitation in our area. That has been disappointing to the kids (and to me, really; it's always so brief anyway). This also means that spring pollen will be fierce! The trees are telling us they feel spring, too! Buds are already developing along with some late winter berries? I've never noticed so many berries this late. I think of them as late fall/early winter things. But lately, we've been noticing quite a few different trees with an abundance of them, such as when we were out walking last in Unincorporated Breckinridge and our New Year's Day walk on the Cottonwood Trail (which I was quite dilatory in posting about). 

In addition to early buds on trees and late winter berries, we also noticed quite a bit of wildlife enjoying the weather. Toby got a number of really, really great pics, but here is my offering. 

You can see buds, but also that the branches are growing. There are white tips to each branch. 

This is where we began our walk actually. The picture at the beginning of the post is actually more on the "backside" of where we were. Such a great, worthy expenditure of public funds to make recreation areas, nature preserves, and trails. 

A lazy squirrel was sleeping atop a branch. Toby got some awesome pics of him, even one where he was opening his eyes to look at him, then went back to sleep. He was not worried about us in the least. 

I love the bridges we come across in so many of these areas. 

Quite an abundance of vegetation here. 

Augie came out with us. We tried to go off trail for a bit, but it was still too muddy from the recent rains.

Taking pictures of Toby taking pictures. The cooler temps and rain have made for beautiful, bright mosses. 

Not only are the mosses happy and trees getting ready to spring to life, but I can see we will have a bumper crop of honeysuckle. 

Moss and honeysuckle. 

Toby taking pics of these tall trees.

The trail we'd like to have continued down.

There seem to be activities here a good bit, including by the Boy Scouts, who were cleaning up a nearby cemetery. I love showing that care and respect for the dearly departed. Of course, in Orthodoxy, like Catholicism, we pray for them.

These are some of the berries I noticed. They were so bright and fresh; a type of holly. Toby identified it using his Plant App, PictureThis.

As you walk along the trail, you come across yet another recreation area with a park, a public fishing pond, and more open space. The pond has a water feature. I like taking pics of things that are naturally framed like this. 

More buds!

A slight rainbow in the sunshine. See the white crane in the right hand part of the pic? 

Toby taking pics of the white crane who had just been rebuffed by a gray-brown female. I imagined that he sulked his way to the top of that tree where he stayed for the rest of our time there. 

The crows in the distance were quite loud. As you know, Toby and I have a thing about black birds. 

I looked and looked to try to find a trout, but could not find any marine life today.

We were very close to the crane now. He had other things on his mind. 

The water in this city pond is incredibly clear. I loved seeing the mosses.

Another boisterous black bird in the background that I was able to frame between this jumpier bush.

I liked the looks of these spent cattails and the water feature in the midst of them. I kept hearing some kind of animal in the reeds there, but I could never see what it was. 

Yet another tree with berries, this one a type of Hackberry with which I am familiar. We had them in South Texas in our yard there. This one was called a Sugarberry.

A little mistletoe with the berries. Winter and spring meet.

I suspect they are called Sugarberries because the casings of them really do look like they are frosted with sugar.

These were poplars already busting out in white, fuzzy buds.

You cross a creek several times. The water is very clear. I always think that's nice. Here, there is no trash, which is nice to see. I suspect we can probably thank those nice Boy Scouts.

When we got home, Toby made us my favorite Saturday morning breakfast: his Gordon Ramsay eggs with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Just delicious.

Now, I'm trying to setting in for a weekend of work (but might throw up another post or two because I'm a bit behind so I'm "productively procrastinating"). Hopefully, after this weekend, my weekends will become more restful for a bit. I'm wearing a bit thin. Next week will be busy and then things will settle in for a more "normal" brisk pace. I think. I hope. Toby and I have a special date night a few days before Valentine's Day, as it is a special commemoration for us on that date. Valentine's Day itself we'll spend at home with the children. Toward the end of the month, I'll be off to another state for some very important work for a few days, then maybe as we come into March and some special anniversaries there, we can really have some adventures (maybe even an Adventure for Two). Of course, Great Lent will begin before too long as well and so I'm really hoping I can make the most of that with a less intense and all-consuming work situation. Such is the life I chose, however. 

Thanks for reading!