Freezing Fingers for Nature Art – Photos, Bringing Hay to Horses on an Icy Morning

It was 12* F as the sun came up over the mountain yesterday morning. I headed outside to feed the animals, and freezing fingers were in the forecast. When I fed the horses, I walked across the creek to check to see if they needed more hay yet. They did.

Anytime is a good time to get good nature photography around here. Rob warmed up the tractor and I grabbed my “real” camera and we headed out to bring hay to the horses on an icy morning.

Angles of Light

While crossing the creek to check the hay, I noticed how beautiful the sunlight was on the skin of ice by my meditation rock. All I had with me was my cell phone, so I took a quick photo and decided to bring the real camera back out when we brought the hay.

Early morning rays on the creek.
Early morning rays on the creek.

By the time I got back down to the creek, when we brought the hay, the moment was gone. Such is the ephemeral life of sun sparkles and light angles. But it was still pretty nonetheless.

However, there were at least still some sun sparkles. Sun sparkles are so beautiful in photos and is a form of nature art where all I have to do is capture the image. They looked so magical spilling through the rocks!

The photo below is available on stretched canvas at Redbubble in various sizes. The largest is 30″ tall and it is $109. The photo enlarges if you click on it. The title at Redbubble is “Sun Sparkles (vertical)“. You can get the image on various other items, like cell phone cases, iPad covers, thermos mugs, etc. It also comes as a metallic print for $29.00.

Sun Sparkles, nature art photography for the wall.
Sun Sparkles, nature art photography for the wall.

I have a horizontal one, too.

Sun Sparkles (horizontal), nature art photography
Sun Sparkles (horizontal)

Horse Eyes

I love horses’ eyes, so I take a lot of photos of them. Most of them don’t come out because they don’t stay still long enough. Or they close their eyes just as the shutter clicks. For the longest time, they’d bolt when the shutter clicked, but at least we don’t have that issue anymore. Here’s a good one of Comanche’s eyes. It’s available at Redbubble on lots of different products.

Comanche's Lovely Eyes
Comanche’s Lovely Eyes

I particularly love the way the tote bag and the tank top came out:

Tote bag featuring Comanche's eye.Tank top with Comanche's eye.

Patterns of Ice

On the way to where we bring the hay to the horses, there are big perpetual mud puddles. The springs feed them, and they only dry out during the driest time of year in late summer. Most of the time, they’re not actually muddy at all until we drive through them with the tractor.

In winter, the ice crystallizes in such interesting patterns. These look like puddle fingerprints.

Ice Fingerprints in the puddle.

Any little inclusion gives the crystal unique shapes.

The ice crystals around a small piece of debris.
The ice crystals around a small piece of debris.

Moving water gives interesting form to ice, too. I love the globules of ice and the satin texture of the water still liquid. The following photo will be available on items from RedBubble too, but I haven’t finished uploading it.

Ice gathering on leaves at water's edge.
Ice gathering on leaves at water’s edge.

Fingers Frozen

By the time I’d fed the animals, checked the hay, then rode the 4-wheeler to open the gate when Rob brought the hay, and then lingered around taking photos, my fingers were frozen. When I couldn’t feel my index finger well enough to push the shutter button anymore, I went back in.

Oh the sacrifices made to make or capture Nature Art.  My freezing fingers thawed out quickly enough by the woodstove.

After we were done warming up inside, we went back out into it to cut a couple of dead trees and pull them out for firewood. Thankfully the sun had come out and it warmed up to nearly above freezing by then. Everytime we cut wood, I find lots of pieces I’d rather use for nature art than burn, so I have a little pile of “holds” by the back door. One day I’ll have to make a post on those and give some hints on what I plan to do with them.

Enjoy the rest of your winter!


First Hunt by Ima ErthwitchPredator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.

Nature Farming


Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.

About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


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