Winter surely began early this year – the first of December and has stuck around. With four low pressure systems marching across the Canadian Border and three swirling in from lower California, it is little wonder that the upper part of the US has endured storm after storm after storm. We’ve had a share of ice this December, although not as much as last year. The ice line has moved about 100 miles north in many years and now covers about half to a third of Iowa.
From 4 p.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. today temperatures dropped quickly. From about 24 degrees to the low teens in about 90 minutes as a front whipped in. Then, on down to – 8 temperatures. Last night was a “three-hinge night” (Those of you who know “Three-Dog Night” the meaning behind the band’s name, understand). Even now, at 3 p.m., two of the hinges on the back door are still frozen. Rich remembered the years in the 1980s when frost came through the nails in the wall! One Christmas temperatures fell to -20s and for the first time I remember, church services were canceled.
We have bought a little warmer for the bunnies. While the “little ones” don’t seem to mind going out and digging, Daisy is less than enthused. She has rather thin fur compared to the other two and doesn’t have a bunny friend to snuggle with. So, maybe this heater will help on these bitter days.
The turkeys have been to the feeder a lot and a beautiful Carolina Wren – russet sides and a creamy eye line – parked on the suet for several minutes eating quickly.
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Spring is full of surprises. Subtle changes stir hope.
Not withstanding our lengthening days,
Our dreams of green grass and blooming daffodils
Wither as large flakes drift earthward, covering ground and pussy willow alike.
Ah, Well, we are sturdy Iowans, so we will take this in stride, but not without a mutter under our breath.
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Well, hmmmm. Mid-teens felt good. Twenties saw “open coats.” And, the temperatures still have not approached freezing for weeks. So, we sit here in Iowa with lots of snow and ice. On the bright side, we could watch the total eclipse of the moon on Wednesday from the comfort of our house. Quite astonishing and exciting! The cardinals are calling, “Wheeta Wheeta Wheeta!” and chickadees are in their “phoebe” stage of song. The deer can make it to the feeder and I don’t chase them away like I usually do. The squirrels have had numerous conventions at the feeder. The bunnies enjoyed their romps on the garden with the paths shoveled courtesy of me! An eagle soared over the house today and made me think of Dad. It’s amazing that they not only visit here in winter but nest just upstream of Ellis Park. And, the deer, although too prolific, have returned. What with the scandals of how meat processing companies treat sick cows, we are more inclined to eat venison, organic meats, or none at all. And, to buy more organic vegetables as we can in the store or through the Community Supported Agriculture or in Cantril, IA, at the Dutchman’s Store, or just grow them seasonally.
On the down side, I have seen lots of SUVs in the ditch and one even propped on top of a seven foot high snow bank. Just like it had been placed there by a helicopter. I’m not overly sympathetic, because that happens only when a driver is going way too fast! Poor little “Silver Pine Mica” Prius, along with every other vehicle in Iowa, has endured first the incredible ice and then slush, as the temperatures warmed, splashing all over it. So, today, it got a shower! Then, I opened all the doors, wiped down the locks and doors so they would not stick later on. We even sat outside – the temperatures were so nice. Check all this out on Flickr.
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A light, drifty snow has fallen since midnight on the 20th. Now, nearly 24 hours later, we have a mere 3″ as the flakes continue to sift down. Easy to scoop away, great for tracking of animals as they seek food, water, and grit, and fun to hear squeak under foot. Not so fun to drive in because of the irresponsible drivers who, in their immoral guzzlers and powerful “hemis” scream by throwing up a whirlwind of blinding snow. It certainly has been winter this year. The first since winter 2000-2001. We’d basically forgotten what winter is like, and with a highly unusual January thaw that saw temperatures soar into the 40′s and melt most of the snow, we were unprepared for the first Arctic blast. Moderating temperatures into the mid-teens seemed very nice. A gentle whispery breeze sculpted drifts, but it seems we will have real wind as this low system moves off, a high settles in and another low clashes to mix things up. Tomorrow it is back in the deep freeze for a few days. The locust in the wood stove and the heated blanket both feel really good at night. While we are one-third through official winter, we could have two and one-half more months of serious cold weather before “spring” arrives in fact and not just astronomical name.
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