Our snow for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day lasted throughout much of the weekend, but yesterday the temperature got above freezing and much of the snow melted; there are only traces of it here and there. Warmer temperatures and some sun brought the birds out yesterday morning, and they were practically screaming at me to fill the feeders. I had intentionally let them go empty after reading that doing so for a few days will get a hawk to move on to better hunting grounds. I saw him fly right above both feeders early Christmas Eve morning, and finding no unsuspecting songbird to pick off, he quickly left the yard.
I haven't seen him since. The feeders are full now though, and very busy after being empty for days, so I guess we'll soon find out if the hawk's moved on or was just laying low for the time being!
It started snowing yesterday evening - enough that when I took the dog out for the last time last night around 11ish, there were a few inches on the ground. Sometime early this morning, it changed to sleet, and with the temperature at 36F presently, it's rain, turning the snow that fell last night into slush.
Now, I've got to figure out what to do, and when to do it. It's supposed to drop into the twenties tonight and stay below freezing for the next couple of days. The slush will turn to ice; the cars will be frozen solid and the sidewalks and driveway will be an ice-rink. I've got to get out there and shovel sometime, but don't want to get soaking wet doing it in the rain!
Some very pretty mornings here this past weekend - overnight snows made for some magical wintry scenes, especially when the sun came out. It was heavy, wet snow - the kind of snow we called "packing snow" when we were kids. There is (at least!) an 8-foot snowman around the corner that I have no idea how the giant middle snowball could have been lifted atop the even more giant base.
The hawk was back in the yard the other day. He must have been on some kind of mission; he flew very low over the feeders, but completely ignored the cardinals, chickadees, and a red-headed woodpecker dining, instead just flying in one end of the yard, and out the other. This time I got a very good look at it, but still can't identify what kind of hawk it is.
Hopefully I'll get the Christmas decorations down from the porch today. I got all the inside decorations put away yesterday, but the porch decorations were still wet from the weekend's snow. The Christmas tree though is still up - and I might leave it up a while longer just because it's pretty, and I like it.
We've had perfectly pleasant weather here the last few days....only if we could take the best parts of each day and roll it into one! I'd take the sunny skies without wind of Saturday and Sunday, and scrap the temperatures in the teens and twenties. Give me the 35 degrees yesterday, but do away with the wind and gloomy skies. Sunny, calm, and 35F - yes, that'd be perfect!
It's around noonish, and the temperature has risen out of the 20s, though barely. The sky is gloomy, but the wind as died down to a slight breeze. Not perfect, but better!
Pretty sight right now out my window - bright red cardinals flocking at the feeder against newly fallen snow. It's something I never tire of seeing this time of year.
Speaking of which, we normally get flocks of starlings in the garden, fighting over the bird-feeders. They have disappeared of late due to the change in weather I assume. I saw a report on TV about a town in Italy where the starlings are causing a huge problem. As they fly south for the winter they are stopping over in this town in their thousands (can't for the life of me remember which town?) and smothering the place with their droppings. They showed a street of parked cars and they were covered in the stuff. We have a pair of blue-tits that frequent our garden, they don't seem to bother about migrating. In previous years they have nested in our nest-boxes and had a brood or two.
Last Edit: Jan 18, 2021 10:56:14 GMT -6 by moonglum
We have a pair of blue-tits that frequent our garden, they don't seem to bother about migrating. In previous years they have nested in our nest-boxes and had a brood or two.
Oh, wow! What beautiful birds! And so colorful! I had to drill because I've never heard of blue-tits - I was expecting something like our titmice with maybe a more blue-gray coloring. www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tufted_Titmouse/id
On the page with the blue-tits were also photos of willow-tits and marsh-tits, which look very similar to our chickadees.
I saw a report on TV about a town in Italy where the starlings are causing a huge problem. As they fly south for the winter they are stopping over in this town in their thousands (can't for the life of me remember which town?) and smothering the place with their droppings. They showed a street of parked cars and they were covered in the stuff.
I encountered something similar here this week, though not from starlings. I walked down to the beach, and along the channel leading to the lake there were hundreds of Canadian geese. They fly over the house every day in smaller flocks of about 10 to 15 birds, some flocks heading away from the lake, some flocks flying toward the lake, sometimes at the same time - I keep waiting for a mid-air collision! They do this multiple times a day, the same pattern everyday, west from the lake to southeast, and vice-versa, which is weird, because I don't know that there's a body of water anywhere nearby toward the southeast. Anyway....down by the channel where they gather, everything is covered in goose droppings - the sidewalks are, like you said, smothered in it; I had to walk in the street.
Finally, I made it down to the beach - and still the sidewalks were covered in droppings, although there weren't any geese. There were though, hundreds of seagulls.
78F (25.55) here today - and I saw something I've never seen before.
I put out deer corn, and for the birds, ducks, and geese I also put out some cracked corn. When I got home from work there was some activity around the cracked corn - bees! They were a little on the small side based on what I remember seeing around here previously, but the bees were very interested in the cracked corn.
I go to work too early for sunrise so I can't say much about that, but sunset is happening later. I think it's about half an hour or so later than what I remember from Christmas time.
26F and snowing like heck when I got up a little before 6am this morning.
Now 28F at 1pm, and still snowing like heck.
- and I saw something I've never seen before.
Did something (yesterday, today, and tomorrow) I've never done before. I joined the world of virtual learning; shoot, if kids can do it, I can too, right? (eye-roll). Michigan's Green Industry trade show went virtual this year, and I had seminars all day yesterday and tomorrow; I only had morning seminars I wanted to see today.
Good thing. I'll have time to shovel.
When I got home from work there was some activity around the cracked corn - bees! They were a little on the small side based on what I remember seeing around here previously, but the bees were very interested in the cracked corn.
That's pretty cool! I've never heard of that before.
Hey Phalon, that wasn't you by any chance that won the one billion dollar jackpot was it, I see it was a resident of Michigan and thought to myself, hello, we may have a billionaire in our little community.
You might want to check your mailbox, Katina. With a billion dollar jackpot, what's a few million to give away to friends, eh?
With a billion dollars, I'd be living on easy street...which would not include spending my day in virtual classes for work, only to be interrupted by a call from my youngest daughter, asking me to pick her and her boyfriend up along the side of the highway because a tire on her Volkswagen blew out, and after ransacking the car, they could not find the lug nut lock key which apparently the used car dealer from whom she purchased the car did not know or say was missing, and which apparently cannot be purchased from any auto parts store around here; neither can any repair shop remove the blown tire without the key, to include the used car dealership from which she purchased the car. It can only be removed from a Volkswagen dealership, which of course, there is none around here. If I was living on easy street with a billion dollars, I would not be irked that the car had to be towed 40 miles from where it sat along the highway to the nearest Volkswagen dealership and pay whatever god-awful exorbitant fee they are going to charge just to remove a flat tire.
I wouldn't hold my breath, Katina, waiting for that check from me to arrive in your mailbox any time soon.
Of course, the trials of BP's car could not simply end with getting it towed to the nearest Volkswagen dealership last week...
...simply because it wasn't taken to the nearest Volkswagen dealership. When her boyfriend drove her to pick up the car the following morning, it wasn't there. It had been towed to a dealership 60 miles in the opposite direction! At five times the cost of what it would have been to take it where it was supposed to go!
It was not the fault of the towing company; roadside assistance gave them the wrong address, and will be refunding the difference in cost. Supposedly the check will be in the mail tomorrow.
I hope it's not like that lottery winning check coming to Katina's mailbox!!!
Boots and coveralls are warming up now - just a few inches to shovel now, but half a foot more expected this evening.
Though we didn't get the snow here that was predicted Sunday night, it's still very wintry....and will continue to be for six more weeks according to the groundhog's forecast; Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday.
The thermometer this morning coincides with Phil's immediate forecast - it's 18F now. It's been below freezing the last couple of days, maybe getting up to 30 degrees or so, but we've had sunshine, which begged me to get outside for walks. I ignored the wind, which was telling me to stay indoors!
Looks like the sun is trying to come out again too. And today, there's no wind!
The sunrise this morning was gorgeous - shades of bright red and pink with streaks of dark purple heavy clouds. Gorgeous but ominous..."Pink sky at night, sailor's delight. Pink sky in the morning, sailors take warning", Dad used to say. There's supposed to be a snowstorm headed our way.
Yesterday though, turned out very nice - lots of sunshine warmed up the temperature for a nice, long walk. I vary my walking route whenever I go, and yesterday ended up walking down part of our street I don't often use - it's on the opposite end of the street, across of one of the main drags into town, and it's only two blocks before the street ends at a "T" intersection with another street. At the "T" sits the town's old insane asylum from the early 1900s - unseemly smack dab in a residential area. The building has been turned into apartments, is definitely showing its age appearing a bit run-down, and is kind of ugly and nondescript. It's only interesting if you really look at it. It's a rectangle building with three stories - maybe 3 1/2 if the dormer space in the steep roof is counted as usable space. Each floor has rows of 6-8 foot tall windows, with the windows on the bottom floor being half above ground level and half below ground level - this is because there is what can only be described as a moat around the entire building. Back when it was an insane asylum, the "moat" was to keep the patients from escaping - it wasn't filled with water of course, but there used to be a high wrought iron spiked fence topped with barbed wire on the outside of the moat. The only beautiful thing about the building in its current state of disrepair is the dormers. I usually think of dormers as being on the front of the building, but the ones on this building are on opposite ends, and are rather large, jutting out from the short sides of the building's rectangle shape. They are ornate, wood-sided, very "painted lady" Victorian-looking, and appear out-of-place on the plain brick building, with three windows on each dormer - one large arched window with smaller arched windows on either side.
It's said that the asylum's warden lived in one dormer room and the doctor lived in the other; both were murdered one night by patients who endured cruel treatment by both men. Another story says that the most dangerously insane patients occupied the dormer rooms, padlocked in to keep them away from patients and staff. Whichever story is true, the ghosts of whoever occupied the dormers are very malevolent. The whole place is said to be haunted, and there is a faded hand-painted perpetual "room available for rent" sign out front because no one stays for long. As long as I've lived here, I've never seen anyone coming out, or going into the building.
When I passed the old asylum yesterday, I laughed out loud. The last time I walked by was in autumn with BP, and pointing out the "room for rent" sign, I suggested she might want to look into it. "Oh-my-god! I could never live in a haunted insane asylum!!!"
To which I replied, "Uhm....you know I made that whole thing up, right?" Yep, since they were kids, I told the girls the fictitious haunted asylum story....and apparently they passed it on.
"Seriously?!" BP said when I told her it was just an old apartment building and to my knowledge wasn't haunted, "You have no idea how many kids I told that story. There's a whole generation of kids who think it's a haunted insane asylum!!!!"
That is a story I’d love to read. You should brainstorm it and turn it into something.
The building does make a bit appearance in a larger piece I'm writing. I just think it's funny how the girls, after all these years, thought my little made-up history of the place was true. When I told LX that I'd mentioned to BP to check into an apartment there, she was aghast. "OMG, you want your kid to be haunted?!!" Then I had to tell her as I told BP that I made up the whole thing, which of course warranted the all-caps text from her: "WTF, WAS MY WHOLE CHILDHOOD A LIE?!" (LX enjoys dramatics as much as I do.)
"No, Dear. It was just full of colorful stories like haunted insane asylums, ghost ship captains and butt rocks." You think the haunted insane asylum story is bad? Hubs' story is worse..though much less believable. Whenever we'd walk to the beach when they were kids, Hubs used entertain LX and her best friend with a tall tale about one of the large boulders bordering the channel into the lake; this particular boulder had an indentation that was shaped exactly like a butt - thus it was known as "Butt Rock". It got the butt-shaped indentation because long ago a ship and its crew went down in the lake during a storm. None of the crew was ever found, except for the ship's captain, whose body washed ashore days later. The captain's ghost forevermore sat upon the boulder, waiting for his ship to come down the channel into port; he'd been sitting there waiting so long that his ghostly butt wore a grove into the boulder.
"The difference, Mom, is we knew the Butt Rock was fake!" <shrugs> I guess I just tell a more convincing story than Hubs.
* * *
It's been very snowy, very windy, and very, very cold here the last few days. Apparently, the Polar Vortex has returned, though thankfully, it hasn't got nearly as cold as it did a couple of years ago when its appearance brought on below zero temperatures. We've been hovering above 15F, though I have no idea how cold it is with the wind chill. You can hear the lake howling even from the house, blocks away...
...or is that the mournful wails of a captain awaiting his lost ship and crew? Only the Butt Rock knows.
It rained most of the day, and then started snowing around 5:30pm when I went to the mailbox. The ground was white when I let the dog out a few hours later. It's supposed to snow Wednesday and Thursday too. I'm hoping it doesn't though, as I take the dog for a haircut on Wednesday, and I go for a mammogram on Thursday.
It is 10F-ing degrees out there. Looking at the extended forecast, it's highs in the teens and low 20s with snow or a chance of it, for the next fourteen days...today is the only day for which snow is not predicted...
Which means, it's snowing now.
We got out yesterday afternoon, cleared about 4 inches off ice-encrusted snow off the cars, and did a bit of shoveling - it was too cold to stay out and do the whole driveway. Thankfully, the city's little plow came down our street and cleared the sidewalks; it doesn't happen often that they make in our neighborhood.
Sometime today, I've got to get out and unbury my car again, and shovel the end of the driveway so I can get out, because...
I go for a mammogram on Thursday.
Mine is scheduled for very early tomorrow morning.
Supposed to get in the 40s today, so this snow will be gone soon. There are a few days at the end of the week that won't get above freezing, and that snow will be around for a while. I'm hoping it won't keep me from getting the dog's haircut, as she pants like I'm roasting her alive, and I have the thermostat set at 66F.
Whoo-hoo!!! We are in the double-digits - right now it's 14.6 degrees! It's a heatwave compared to yesterday morning around this time when it was 7F-ing degrees according to the outside temperature reading in my car.
Did you know you can get a brain-freeze from cold weather that feels exactly like the brain-freeze you get from eating ice-cream too fast? I did not know this. I learned it from experience yesterday.
Well, it’s supposed to be below freezing for about a week and a half. They’re calling for freezing rain and winter-mix over several days. February is usually more Spring-like, but not this year, so far. I’m dreading losing lights . . . I’d rather not go two weeks without lights again. It doesn’t look like the dog will be getting a haircut, or that I’ll be getting a mammogram. But weather can change in a heartbeat, so we shall see.
Hope the freezing rain and ice misses you, Joxie. Snow can be dealt with fairly easily; ice, not so much.
It's snowing now, but this morning is the first in a week that there was nothing to shovel. Nothing at all to brush off the car when I went to the grocery store - I didn't even have to turn on the windshield wipers. We've had 2-4 inches or more every day since last week Thursday; there's probably more than a foot of it on the ground. Even with that, we're still about 2.5 feet under our typical snowfall for this time of year.
We saw kind of an unusual sight here in the neighborhood yesterday - there was a pileated woodpecker in our maple tree out front. They are the largest woodpeckers in North America, and this guy was huge! When it flew off, with its wedge-shaped head and giant wingspan, both Hubs and I thought it looked like a pterodacyl.
Awesome drone footage of our lighthouse and ice in Lake Michigan taken Monday:
Hope you're warm and snug as a bug, Joxie. I read yesterday that your governor declared a state of emergency due to icy conditions and power outages in the state.
Not too bad here now with some off and on snow with temperatures in the mid-teens. Weird that 16F doesn't feel all that cold after the single-digit temperatures earlier in the week; there's no wind though, which makes a huge difference.
Watched a huge flock of robins - there had to be close to 100 of them - fly through the yard yesterday. Not really a flock like geese or blackbirds that fly tightly together, but more like a very disorganized group, with some landing in trees and bushes here and there for a few seconds, before moving on. It took about five minutes for the whole group to pass. Weird seeing robins flock around here; they're usually just pairs - weirder still to see them in winter.
I’m fine. I haven’t lost lights, yet. The dog’s canned food hasn’t arrived yet. It was supposed to be here on Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, and now Saturday. I’ve been only giving her half a can to try and stretch it out. Today is the last of the canned food. I have dry, but she doesn’t much care for any dry food unless it has canned food on top. If her food comes tomorrow, she won’t have to do without her chunks in gravy.
The temps aren’t supposed to get above freezing until next weekend. And I have tried not to get out in it. The pandemic keeps me home, and the temps keep me in the house. I’m feeling the pressure. I’m so ready for warmer weather, and for this virus to destroy itself. I don’t know how much longer I can stand this. I’ve no doubt everyone is feeling this way. Wishing for life before the pandemic. The world has been here and done this before, and will probably do it again in a couple hundred years. Oh how I hope it’s at least another couple hundred years.
It could be worse. I could be sitting here in a freezing house. Well, the house keeps a chill, but it isn’t as chill as it could be, so I’m grateful for that, at least. We’re a few weeks away from daylight savings time, that will make my days last longer. Can’t wait.
Ice, snow, snow, and more snow tonight. Tried calling to reschedule Wednesday’s mammogram, but I get their after hours recording. I’m guessing they won’t be in tomorrow either. I should have made the March appointment.
My heat won’t kick on. Well, it kicks on when I turn it off and back on. Then the motor runs for a bit, and kicks back off. The house is 62 because the sun is out. I have it set on 66. I won’t have the sun tonight though, so not good. Brother-in-law is on the tractor, so I’ll have to flag him down. Just gotta hang in there until Saturday, when the temps get up above freezing. Next week they are predicting temps in the 40s and 50s. Can’t wait.
Last Edit: Feb 16, 2021 21:48:21 GMT -6 by Mini Mia
Joxie, check or have your brother-in-law check the furnace vent to the outside. What you're describing happened to us a few years ago - actually, it was during the last polar vortex. The mesh on the vent that is meant to keep out the critters was getting clogged - the warmer air from the vent instantly froze and turned to ice. Once the vent gets so ice encrusted that the warmer air can't escape, the furnace automatically cuts off. Even after Hubs took off the mesh, he had to keep going out in the below zero temperatures to break off the ice from the opening. We never would have thought to do that - the emergency heating service we called, told us what to check.
Got an e-mail from Stepper - he's got electricity again. From what I've read, the scheduled brownouts in Texas turned into blackouts for millions of people, leaving them without heat nearly all night in single-digit temperatures.
We're okay here - just a lot of snow (had another 6-8 inches last night) and temperatures in the single-digits overnight, and mid-teens to low 20s during the day. Took all day to shovel, because you just can't stay out that long in temperatures that low. And crap - I literally finished about a half hour ago, and it's snowing again! There is literally nowhere left to put it - the piles snaking the driveway are up to four feet in places.
See, I was so proud of myself for remembering to have the kitchen faucet drip during this cold spell. But I didn’t have Mom to call me last week to see what my gas tank was at. I have it on my calendar to check the levels once a month. Tomorrow is my day to check. Today I ran out of gas. BIL checked and rechecked my furnace and couldn’t find a problem, so checked my tank. It’s empty.
He asked me if I have any kerosene heaters. Nope. I used Mom’s heater in 09. So, he found two heaters of Mom’s at her place, and ran to get kerosene. I have an electric radiator in my one bathroom for when I take a shower. I had another one that had never been taken out of its box in a closet. I got it out and put it in the kitchen. Then I put it in the other bathroom. One kerosene heater is in the kitchen, and the other in my living room. My thermostat says it is 78 in here now. Higher than I usually have it.
I called my gas company and left a voicemail. I’ll call them again in the morning. BIL has enough kerosene for tomorrow night. Hopefully, the tank will be refilled soon. My mammogram is rescheduled. They called me. BIL tried to get me to come stay with him and my sister, but I didn’t want to leave these heaters unattended. Two of my smoke detectors kept going off, and I don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, so he was worried about leaving me over here. I’ve been trying to pay attention to how I’m feeling, but I’ve already been dizzy the last few days due to my sinuses. If I bend over or tilt my head sideways, I get really dizzy. So, how do I know when it’s just my sinuses, and when it’s lack of oxygen? If I wake up in the morning, I’ll know all is well. Who am I kidding, I’m not sleeping until the sun comes up, I have live flames in the house.
Last Edit: Feb 16, 2021 22:13:38 GMT -6 by Mini Mia
Dang, Joxie! Hope you were able to get your gas tank (propane?) refilled yesterday. I've heard that kerosene heaters are okay to use indoors with proper ventilation and other safety precautions, but I'd be kinda leery about it.
Right with you on the sinus problems. I don't get dizzy, but the sinus pressure headaches haven't let up.
It was 5F yesterday morning; I waited until the thermometer read 12F before I went grocery shopping. The store is 5 minutes from the house, maybe a minute or so more if the traffic light is red - in just that short of time, there were icy chunks in the milk when I got home.
No additional snow yesterday, and it was even sunny throughout the entire day. It's been flurrying since early this morning though.
Shoot, it's only 9am, and I'm already looking toward to dinner. I roasted an entire turkey yesterday - Thanksgiving-like leftovers probably throughout the weekend!
The gas company I use has only one truck driver, and over 200 orders. They called to let me know that I am on the list, but no way to say when they’ll get to me. Got more snow during the night, so don’t know if the truck can even get here. Still coming down. Hoping they’ll get here before Sunday, at least. If not today, then tomorrow, or Saturday.