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Snow Owl

We have an unusual visitor near our home.  A snowy owl.  Isn’t he beautiful!

  What a treat for all of us.  Hedwig, I hope you enjoy your visit!


From our local Newspaper, The Daily Herald:

SPRING HILL, Tennessee— The snowy owl may have gained fame as a mail carrier in the Harry Potter series, but a rare sighting of the bird generated dozens of bird watchers to flock to Spring Hill this week.

Wearing coats, hats and gloves, dozens of bird watchers, who call themselves ‘birders’, bore the winter weather to watch the snowy owl sitting across a field off Highway 31.

Many of the birders were from the Tennessee Ornithological Society and Alabama Ornithological Society. The birders placed spotting scopes on tripods for a close-up view of the snowy owl which, to the naked eye, appeared as just a white dot on the horizon.

Alison Glascock of Birmingham, Ala. drove to Spring Hill to see the snowy owl with other birders.

“It’s my first time to see a snowy owl and I’ve been bird watching for 25 years,” Glascock said, adding it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Greg Harber, of Birmingham, said he’s seen a snowy owl in Alaska, but the Spring Hill sighting was just the second one he had ever seen.

“Our group from Birmingham thoroughly enjoyed our foray into Tennessee to see the owl. It was a treat!” Harber said, adding the snowfall only added to the authenticity of their snowy owl experience.

Harber said the snowy owl is native to the Arctic where they eat lemmings, small rodents found in the tundra.

“You can tell it’s a young bird because of the brown hues on its feathers,” Harber said, adding the snowy owl probably migrated south to find a better food source.



Mark Greene, of Trenton and a member with the TOS, said he found out about the bird through the Internet.

“Each state has a list of bird sightings,” Greene said. The TOS website has a link to a list of recent sightings.

Chuck Nicholson with the TOS said the Spring Hill snowy owl is the 12th recorded in the state.

“The most recent previous record was the bird on December 11, 2001, on Cherokee Lake in East Tennessee,” Nicholson said, adding that before the 2001 sighting, the previous record of a snowy owl sighting was in January and early February in 1987 near Dover.

He said Tennessee is well south of this bird’s normal range.

“This bird does, however, occasionally ‘irrupt’ with numerous birds going farther south than normal in the winter,” Nicholson said. “These irruptions are apparently a response to population cycles in its major prey species, which are primarily lemmings and other rodents. During some of these irruption years, several birds have been simultaneously reported from well south of their normal range. The irrupting birds tend to be young birds, which may have been driven out by more dominant adult birds.”


The snowy owl is listed as an “accidental” species, meaning three or fewer records in the last 10 years, on Tennessee’s official bird list compiled by the Tennessee Ornithological Society Bird Records Committee.

Some birders have dubbed the Spring Hill snowy owl “Hedwig”, the name of Harry Potter’s owl mail carrier.

Spring Hill’s snowy owl sighting was first reported on Dec. 3. More information on birding is available at


telephoneOn Thursday, January 22, I’ll be chatting with Penny Halgren and the “Eavesdropping Quilters”.  This is an interesting concept!

Every month there is a telephone interview/conversation with Penny and YOU can listen in!  The first hour is an interview with Penny and the last 30 minutes the “eavesdropping quilters” get to ask questions.

For anyone missing the conversation, you can purchase a CD with the interview and follow-up questions.

To learn more about the interview and “The Eavesdropping Quilters”, visit How-to-Quilt!

“See you at the Interview!”

I have just returned from visiting the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild in Beaumont, Texas. We had two wonderful classes and lectures.  What a wonderful guild!

Once home, I was going through our mail and had a nice surprise. I’m featured in the NQA 2009 Show – Teacher Spotlight!

Quilting Quarterly

I’ll be teaching 4 classes at the 2009 NQA Showheld on June 18-20th.  I’m looking forward to the classes: Patchwork Illusions, Color for Quilters, Transparency & Combing Through Your Scraps. To see more information about the Show or about the National Quilting Association, visit their webpage.


I am so excited!  I’m in the newest  Keepsake Quilting Catalog!!

My pattern, Cascading Stars is featured on page 21. 

 Cascading Stars pattern

Description from the catalog: Thank the fabrics in the Shade Cascade™ Medley shown for this 55″ x 55″ quilt of illusion made from just one repeating pieced square.

In addition, my Shade Cascade™ fabrics are featured on page 20.

Shade Cascade - Pumpkin Pumpkin

Shade Cascade - Blossom Blossom

Shade Cascade - sage Sage

Shade Cascade - Sapphire Sapphire

The Keepsake Quilting catalog is an amazing catalog and it is a honor to be included in it.  If you have never received one, please sign up!  It is like getting a quilt show in your mailbox, several times a year. As soon as mine arrives, I settle with a cup of tea, spend some time looking at each page and making out my wish list!

6am – I step outside to walk the dog and see this amazing moon halo!


As a young girl, I remember visiting my grandparent’s house for an early Christmas. I remember getting a box of pencils with MY NAME embossed on them. Talk about special, I was the envy of my 4th grade class!

As we left for home, we stepped out into the dark night and saw a beautiful moon halo. I remember being told to count the number of stars inside the halo. The number was 25 or more.  This was the number of days until a large storm would hit. Now being Michigan.  .  .  in winter, chances are pretty good that we would have a storm. Well, on January 27, 1967, we had a whooper of a storm, just around 30 days later.  Almost 3′  of snow was deposited overnight!  We were stuck at home for days. 

This morning, as I saw this moon halo, I thought of that memory, years ago. I quickly counted the stars within the halo this morning, I saw only one or two.  Hmmm.  .  . wonder if middle Tennessee is going to get a storm?

Folklore aside, the moon halo was caused by the refraction of moonlight, from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The shape of the ice crystals result in a focusing of the light into a ring. Since the ice crystal typically have the same shape, namely a hexagonal shape  (LOVE THAT SHAPE!), the moon halo is almost always the same size.

Folklore has it that a ring around the moon signifies bad weather is coming, and in many cases, this may be true. It was in the case of my childhood memory.

So how can a halo around the moon be a predictor of weather to come? The ice crystals that cover the halo signify high altitude, thin cirrus clouds that normally precede a warm front by one or two days. Typically, a warm front will be associated with a low pressure system.  .  . which is commonly referred to as a storm.

Okay, I’m a week late, but still want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Where did 2008 go?  Will 2009 go by so fast?

When I was a kid, a day lasted a week, summer lasted a year and a school year, seemed to last forever. Now, a day is gone in a blink, a week is gone in a flash and a year goes by in a blur. Maybe as we get older, time speeds up.  .  . maybe it is some sort of time warp.  Who knows, but time seems to fly by!

Here are a few of my favorite memories with family and friends from 2008.

Click to play memories 2008
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Here’s to a fantastic 2009, filled with many more memories with those we love!

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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