The scurs modest chance of snow turned into more than they bargained for. After the cold temps decided to stick around, the scurs added some Ex-Lax to the radiator on the Gremlin to see if it would warm up faster. Will it be effective? Starting Wednesday, Partly sunny with highs in the upper teens and lows around 10. Mostly sunny Thursday with highs in the upper 20’s and lows in the mid-teens. Friday, mostly sunny and warmer. Highs near the freezing mark with lows around 20. Mostly sunny Saturday and slightly warmer. Highs in the mid-30’s and lows in the upper teens. Sunday, mostly cloudy. Highs near 30 with lows around 20. Mostly cloudy Monday with highs once again near freezing and lows in the upper teens. Tuesday, mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Highs near 30 and lows in the upper teens. The sun will set after 5 p.m. on January 14th for the first time since last November 3rd. The normal high for January 15th is 22 and the normal low is 4 above. On the 19th we will have gained 30 minutes of daylight since the winter solstice. After the recent cold spell the scurs are thinking the striped gophers hibernating in the lawn may be onto something.
With a week of generally below normal temperatures and some snow, it actually looks like winter. While the fields blew clear of snow, there is plenty in the road ditches. Small fish house villages have sprung up, dotting area lakes and while fishing may be slow, one can bet there are lots of cribbage games being played. We may have dodged a bullet by getting our cold weather out of the way the first half of January. Warmer temps are on the way in the near term. As mentioned last week, typically the coldest temperatures of the winter on average are from January 12th – 20th. Old Man Winter flexed his muscles last week to show us he still means business. While it wasn’t the blizzard of the century, it still managed to dump snow anywhere it would be inconvenient. This storm was a quick hitter though, causing whiteout conditions within a matter of minutes. It made for a potentially dangerous storm from that perspective.
Watching the critters in the yard during the storm provided some entertainment. The wind caught the crest of a male cardinal from behind, causing him to do a face plant in the snow. The squirrels made sure they consumed both ears of corn put out for them, becoming snow covered on their windward side. Once the corn was gone, the last happy customer headed off across the treetops to the safety of a hollow soft maple. The domestic animals behaved similarly. Once their hay was consumed, the Cheviot ewes were more than glad to retreat out of the wind to their barn. And the dogs wasted no time when the storm was at its peak, making their trips outside brief. Much more comfortable inside sleeping on a doggie pillow or couch.
Bird watching continues to be more challenging than some years. Another male cardinal and a mourning dove were new additions this past week but it’s nothing like some of the irruption years when we’d feed a hundred redpolls and pine siskins. The birds have been slow to warm up to the Roller Feeder although it has been so far “squirrel-proof”. Watching several fox squirrels make attempts at getting into it, they’ve all been unsuccessful. Bear in mind, these squirrels are very fat after eating ear corn from their feeder all winter so there’s little incentive to get into the bird feeder in the first place. The nuthatches that had shown interest in the feeder initially were suddenly absent until recently. A downy also used the feeder on Saturday so they’re coming around. A few chickadees or goldfinches might help matters.
The house sparrows haven’t bothered the feeder either but have become a real nuisance at the other feeders as well as hanging around the out buildings. They routinely empty one sunflower feeder while dumping the safflower on the ground. One annoying habit the sparrows have picked up is eating the suet. They aren’t good at hanging upside down to eat though so some horizontal-type suet feeders may help alleviate that problem. We’ll be trying a couple of different types to see what works. .Nothing goes to waste though. The cardinals like the safflower in addition to the chips of corn left behind by the sparrows and squirrels.
Seed catalogs have arrived en masse so it becomes a near daily ritual to look through them. There aren’t a lot of new items to concern ourselves with though. However some of our old favorites are no longer being carried in favor of some products we don’t plant. It always amazes me how some of the new things we’ve tried and turned out to be less than desirable are still being heavily promoted. Who eats that junk anyway? Luckily there’s the internet so if there’s a variety we really want we can probably still find it.
There have been plenty of sporting events on TV during this cold snap to whet our appetite. Still it would be nice to see temperatures warm a tad so that some of the snow could be moved. Never a “gimme” that will happen anytime soon. The ewes are becoming girthier and the calendar continues to tick off days in rapid fire fashion. It may be an earlier than usual start to the lambing season if one of my gazes from the oval office one morning was correct. Shearing can’t be far off. I need a haircut too but am loath to get it cut as there isn’t as much covering my melon as there once was. One can always dream of warmer days and more hair. In the meantime, time flies when you’re having fun.
See you next week…real good then.