040The sun is shining brightly today, causing the snow to sparkle like diamonds.

As expected in northeastern Pennsylvania in mid-January, it is also COLD–just fourteen degrees (-10 C) when I ventured out to take these pictures.011

My backyard is great for sledding, and this snow should be fast!  It snowed about two inches yesterday morning, and then we had intermittent showers of sleet and freezing rain for the rest of the day.  Maybe my busy high school children will have a few free minutes sometime this week to go out and enjoy some winter fun!  After dipping below zero tonight, the weather is supposed to warm up a bit, perhaps even exceeding the freezing mark by the weekend.013The front hill was always a fun place for sledding, too, and building snow ramps and jumps, until I “ruined” it with retaining walls and shrubbery!  No worries, though, there’s still a great run over to the right of the landscaping.  You just have to remember to bail out before you hit the rocks in the ditch at the bottom!  Sometimes, when the snow is deep enough and the road has not yet been salted or cindered, we can start way up by the swing set and continue down the hill, over the road, and all the way across our across-the-street neighbor’s expansive front yard.  Fun times!019

The Mountain Fire shrub (Pieris japonica) and the dwarf Alberta spruce don’t seem to mind the cold and still look pretty in the snow.  Maybe something to remember for an upcoming “In a Vase Monday”?

Here’s the front entrance garden, where the rhododendrons are showing their displeasure with the chill by drooping their leaves.  I believe this a defense mechanism to protect themselves against dehydration.  030Once the temperatures climb above freezing, the leaves will perk up and plump out. 034I’m glad to have had a bit of time outside in the sunshine today, but also glad to now be in the warmth of the house, enjoying the view from inside!