Friday, December 9, 2011

Things to look for in December

Hello dear readers, we've been slowing down the rate of posts here at the Natural Capital due to...well, life. And it's about to get a whole lot slower as we leave town, first to visit family in Florida, and then to visit the coral reefs, jungles, and cloud forests of Honduras for a big chunk of January. We've scheduled a few posts to show up here automatically while we're gone, just so you don't think we've forgotten about you! In the meantime, there's plenty to explore for those of you staying up here in colder climes.

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco by ehpien
As I get grumpy about cold weather, it's good to remind myself of the junco -- who comes down from Canada to enjoy our (relatively) balmy winter. At least we're not in Canada, I say. Plus, they're cute little birds.

squirrel nest in my back yard
Squirrel nest by Heart Windows Art
Meanwhile, the squirrels have built their nests for the winter and are hunkering down. Cute alert: this post includes BBC footage of baby squirrels.

Berry Pretty 3
Holly by Kevin H.
The garlands of greenery went up in my office building last week, just like clockwork. But the tradition of bringing holly inside at this time of year pre-dates Christmas. And there's plenty to celebrate about these berries -- and the birds they attract -- even if you're not decking the halls.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)
Christmas Fern by K.P. McFarland
Christmas ferns were also once used as holiday decorations, for the same reason -- they stay green all winter.

Eastern Hemlock
Hemlock by Mr.Mac2009
While you're out and about enjoying the winter sunshine, try your hand at identifying some trees. It's a lot harder without the leaves! We made a quick guide to ten winter trees that often catch our eye.

Ben's breath
Ben's Breath by nordicshutter
Your breath is often visible around this time of year. Look at it as a measure of temperature and humidity, or enjoy the visible reminder of the breath of all life.

And, for those of you who tend to feel a little house-bound as it gets colder and colder outside, last year we also wrote a Southerner's Guide to Staying Warm Outside in the Winter. Now get out there and explore!