Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Long Winter Days

You know, if you're really lucky, you have friends and correspondents who send you emails like the one I just got from BonnieBlueFlag. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods? It's cold and clear here in Washington, after weeks of mild and springlike weather. The weather for the inauguration promises to be clear but chilly, with a high of around 40 degrees. Any day is a good day to inaugurate a Republican president.

Here's BonnieB.'s email about the goings on in her neck of the woods -- enjoy:

Well, it is really cold here. The temperature outside is just below 20 degrees, which is up slightly from the temperatures of last night and yesterday.
The ground is frozen and still snow covered. There are only a few open spaces where the deer and turkey have come to munch on the corn we put out for them.

Early in the morning, just before first light, my husband will take out the corn for the day. Often there is not a deer in sight when he pours out the corn, but before he can make it back into the house and look out the window, there will be 8 to 12 deer having breakfast.

Because of the cold temperatures they are staying right on the edge of the woods, where they are almost invisible among the barren trees, until they see him walk out of the house.

With all of the snow I haven't been able to get to the bird feeders. So, I have placed a large green upturned plastic trash can lid on top of the snow on my back deck, and then filled it with bird seed, sunflower seeds, nuts, berries and cherries.

The first birds to arrive are usually the Blue Jays. Even before taking the very first seed or nut, the Jays will cry out loudly to others, as if to say, "Breakfast is Served."

Having heard the cry of the Blue Jay, large and small birds of all colors quickly race to my back porch. A few of the smaller birds like the sparrows and the chickadees will manage to slip into the tray of seed in between the aggressive Blue Jays. But, most of the other birds like the brilliant red Cardinals, and the Mockingbirds will wait impatiently on any nearby perch.

Then the Bluebirds will attempt to get a share of the berries and cherries, as the other birds fly off with their bounty. The Goldfinches will take turns at their special feeder filled with tiny thistle seeds.

When the crowd has thinned, the Mourning Doves will attempt to land close to the seed, and then walk the rest of the way to the tray. The Doves are not very graceful, and they have a tendency to sit in the middle of the seed until they have had their fill. It's not that they are very pushy birds, I just think they don't want to have to make any more landings than necessary.

The last to show up will be the gray squirrels, who will eat and eat and then leave with their little cheeks full for a later snack.

After the morning rush there will be only an occasional visitor throughout the day until just about an hour before the sun sets. The birds and the deer will all
appear for a snack before bed time.

Occasionally the corn in the yard will be all gone by then, while the birds are still eating up on the deck. The younger deer will notice that the birds are still eating, and will try to get as close to the bird seed as they can, but they still hesitate to climb the steps.

I'm quite sure that one day there will be a knock at the door, and when I look to see who it is, there will be large black nose pressed against the window.

I have a small carpeted shelf attached to the back door so that my Siamese can watch all of the activity on the deck. There seems to be a reflection on the glass from the outside in, so that the birds and squirrels cannot see the "cat" in the window watching them so intently.

Tonight a raccoon or two will come out to finish off whatever corn the deer have overlooked, and then make their way up to the remaining bird food for a late night treat. You can always tell when the raccoons have been by, because they tend to move things all about.

In the morning it will all begin again, as we and all of the critters try to get through these long cloudy days of snow and ice. Hopefully, it will only be a few more weeks until we begin to see the first signs of Spring.


Post a Comment

<< Home