Jan 25– baby it’s cold outside

Cold, of course, is a relative thing. This past week, I have had FB friends from Maine post about daytime highs of -5. I have read in the news of lake effect snowfalls measured in feet rather than inches. Jack London, in To Build a Fire, writes of the crackle of spit freezing before it hits the ground. We haven’t had any of that, so I can’t really complain. A cold day, by central Virginia standards, is a day where the temperature never quite hits freezing. And that we’ve had. It’s Friday now, and we haven’t had temperatures over 35 degrees since Monday, which, ’round here, makes for a pretty significant cold snap. This morning, when at dawn I left my warm bed with great reluctance to let the chickens out, we were sitting right around 10 degrees, which is about the coldest daytime temperature that you’re likely to see in Louisa County.

It’s been snowing again today, an unenthusiastic on-and-off crushed ice sort of drizzle that doesn’t hold much promise of accumulation, just enough to maintain an appropriately bleak wintery landscape. I snapped the picture below as I walked down to collect eggs, during a brief moment where the snow was falling hard enough to look as though it might possibly amount to something:

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Closer to the chicken yard, there were literally hundreds of small black birds (which I believe were grackles), covering the compost, perched in the apple trees, massed in the field, and in the chicken yard itself.  They all took flight as I approached, but I was able to get a couple photos that give some idea of the avian abundance I encountered:ImageImage

 

On the way back, I stopped to check on the pond again.  The ice was thicker than it had been yesterday, but I still wasn’t feeling confident enough to walk out onto it.  As I was walking around the water’s edge, I noticed these bulbs (daffodils? tulips?) beginning to poke their way out of the snow.  A nice reminder that, even during the coldest days of winter, the earth is preparing for the floral displays of springtime.

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And finally, a birdfeeder update.  Today, in addition to all of the bird species I have listed before, I spotted this morning a red-headed woodpecker, and also this brightly-colored male cardinal (which I had seen before but wasn’t able to get a picture of) I also saw a bluebird at the feeder a couple of days ago, which was surprising, given the time of year.  ImageImageImage

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