Paper birch in my front yard.

Snow fell in big, soft flakes this past week, swirling around this river birch tree (Betula nigra) in my front yard. I love the way the bark cracks and peels. So many textures, and the snowflakes add another dimension.

Red Cedar in my back yard.

This red juniper (Juniperus virginiana) is flourishing in my backyard. According to one of my botany professors (long ago), the red juniper (also known as red cedar) is the only evergreen conifer native to Kansas, where I live. Another evergreen fact: Kansas is the only state in the continental United States, plus Alaska, that has no native pine trees, according to my professor. I thought Hawaii also had native pine trees, but thanks to Ed Darrell, I discovered that pines were introduced to Hawaii, as were so many other species. I don't know whether pines will propagate themselves in Hawaii. They don't seem to in Kansas.


a cardinal grabs a snack in the snow at the bird feeder outside my kitchen window.

A cardinal grabs a snack in the snow at the bird feeder outside my kitchen window.


I didn't venture far to get this photo of snow on a holly bush in my backyard.

Holly berries! After three years of no berries, I thought the original owner of my house had planted only males. What's the point of that? But there were three holly princesses, after all. A holly prince was tucked in a corner (Who needs to see him? He doesn't have berries!) to pollinate this holly harem. I don't know why the romance took so long to blossom.


Filed under Animals, Biology, Bird-watching, Birds, Environment, Gardening, Kansas, Life, Natural History, Nature, Personal, Photography, Science

6 responses to “Snow

  1. Love the river birch photo. All of them are good. Nice to see, from down here in Dallas, where it will be 70 tomorrow.

    The folklore about pines is most interesting. I wonder where it could be confirmed? Your old prof was pretty good at this stuff?

    Hi, Thanks for your praise. I’m basking in it, since we don’t have any sun! My professor was really good. I’ve never seen any articles specifically addressing the fact that pine trees are native to the other 49 states, but in the twenty plus years since that class I’ve traveled a lot and seen native pines everywhere else, including the surrounding states. Because of pine wilt disease, there has been a lot of attention on pines in Kansas, and experts have repeated pointed out that pines aren’t native here. My professor thought that it was too dry here in the winter for them to germinate. I’ve seen plenty of red juniper volunteers but never any volunteer pines.

  2. Pingback: Snow photos « Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub

  3. Carolina Maine

    Vivid photos! Love them!!

  4. elissestuart

    Beautiful photos. I have roses blooming outside my window. One bush is at least 35 years old. I don’t have the heart to tell it that it is time to rest. I will have roses for Christmas & New Year’s.
    I thought of you this week as I watched two hummingbirds sitting, not too close, of course, in the bottle brush tree on the edge of my yard.
    They are apparently “wintering” at home this year and won’t be vacationing in
    Mexico. I guess the economic crunch has reached even the hummingbirds. : )

  5. What beautiful, beautiful photos cathy – I was there, inside them. I now know that’s a river birch – what extraordinary bark…I want to be there!

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