Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Snow Yo-Yo

It snows, it melts, it snows again, it melts again, and I'm getting sick at my stomach from the ups and downs of this weather! February has been such a mix of everything. We've had ice, snow, freezing rain, sunshine, flooding, thunderstorms, you name it. We've already had three months of snow and cold weather, and that's one-fourth of the year - a season - and no sign of an end really.

I don't care whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not, spring will get here when it gets here. But there are the usual signs that I look for. The spring bulbs have started their journey upward out of the ground. I saw them a couple of weeks ago, and they still look the same as they did then. Of course right now, I can't see them because they're under a fresh layer of snow that we received overnight.

The birds have started grouping together and chirping their hearts out. That's always a sign of spring to me. I've seen lots of fat robins, but they'll stick around all winter as long as they have a food source, so those aren't true harbingers of spring for us. I read somewhere last year that the real sign that spring is on the way is when the red-winged blackbirds return. And guess what? I saw one last week.

I'm not kidding! I was talking to my dad on the phone and watching the feeders out the window at the same time. I thought I saw a glimpse of red on the wing of one of them, and then he flew right in front of me and I saw the tell-tale red and yellow on the wings. Definitely a red-winged blackbird.

I had to do some research on this. And it appears that I shouldn't get my hopes up seeing these either. We are on the northern edge of the year-round range of these birds. So while they're definitely not seen in abundance here until spring, seeing one on occasion is no reason to get excited either. Bah, humbug.

We've enjoyed seeing all the birds at the feeders during the periods of snow. That always brings more of them around, since some of their usual food sources get buried.

We've got juncos, cardinals, starlings, sparrows, nuthatches, mourning doves, blackbirds, blue jays, house finches, woodpeckers, and a few unidentified species.

The house finches are especially abundant right now and really pretty, I think.

I didn't put the suet cakes out for the starlings,
but they helped themselves anyway.

I took a walk in the sunshine yesterday, mainly so I could take this photo for Kim (aka blackswampgirl) to compare similarities with her Lake Erie ice photo.

There's a little too much snow to show the rows, but the similarities are still apparent. Kim, most rows are straight here, too (see first photo above), but when I saw your photo, it reminded me of the field next to the creek that runs behind our house.

I was joined on my walk by the neighbors' goat, Dolly. I've tried to get her to come to me before, but this was the first time she did. I think she would have followed me right up to our front door had the neighbor not come out to the road to lead her back to the barn.

Our neighbors have quite a menagerie, with geese, peacocks, donkeys, cats, dogs, goats, and turkeys. The turkeys were out strutting their stuff yesterday, too.

Inside the house, I'm not so patiently awaiting the blooming of the Passiflora caerulea 'Clear Sky'. There are several just about ready to pop and they'll be the first blooms since early last summer. Amazing what a little plant food will do!

Meanwhile, the weather report is that we are to get a couple more inches of snow tomorrow. Here we go again!


Carol Michel said...

Yes, here we go again. I don't think we've gotten as much snow as you have, but we have had our fair share of wintry mixes blow through.

I am trying to decide if this February is worse than most or if it just seems that way because we are reading blogs now and realize that there are people south of us who are actually outside gardening! LOL

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Kylee Baumle said...

I don't think it's the blog reading thing, Carol. Almost every one of my dental patients comment about how this has been one of the worst and longest winters ever. Everyone is just plain tired of it and ready for spring, so matter what they do in their spare time.

Chris said...

Terrific photos! I love the goat, he has such an unusual coat..I just want to hug him!
Hopefully Spring is on the way!

Whyite said...

Its been nasty here with it snowing and melting as well. Just can't wait for it to be all done snowing and icing.

Kylee Baumle said...

Chris ~ Dolly really is adorable! And I did hug her! I would love to have a pygmy goat, which is much smaller, but Romie says no. He had a goat when he was growing up, so I don't know why he wouldn't want one now!
Here are a couple more pictures of Dolly: In the field and Close-up.

Curtis ~ All together now! WINTER, BE GONE!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

I'm SO sick of winter too .. cabin fever .. fever in general ? Did I say I'm sick of snow ? .. uh .. yup .. cabin fever makes me repeat. SORRY !
Wow .. the cardinal is just gorgeous .. and that goat .. too cute .. I feel guilty about the turkeys .. just bought one .. frozen .. like me ! LOL
Great post !

Sky said...

I think we all do fairly well until we taste a bit of sunshine, see the spring changes in the landscape and in nature, feel the warmth on our skin and peel off one layer of clothing. Then we become hungry for spring and have difficulty moving backward. At that point more snow and cold spells are simply not welcome.

It has been a long, drizzly winter for us in the Pacific NW. We got very little snow here in the western part of the state, but we got tons of rain for months. The Cascades, east of us, were inundated with snow; interstate 90 was closed due to avalanche control more times than I can count.

Here's hoping we are all picking our daffodils soon!

Kylee Baumle said...

Joy ~ You know, I don't really know if they ever plan on eating the turkeys or not. They've been around since early last spring, so maybe not! I really think they're pretty and not something you see every day as you stroll down the road! I need to tell the tale of the peacocks one of these days, don't I? ;-)

Sky ~ Oh, but we haven't yet had that warmish taste of spring yet! In previous years, we have had a teaser day or two by now, but not yet this year. The ground is still frozen here, although I just went out and in the open spaces between the snow, I did faintly hear a squish as I walked, so maybe a thaw is coming after all.

Nancy J. Bond said...

We had a few inches of new snow through Friday night, but it's mostly gone already. There's a warmth in the sun I haven't felt for a while, and the sunlight definitely has a different slant. All good signs! Your photos are terrific -- I love the one of the turkeys!

Marie said...

Beautiful photos!

Unknown said...

You are SOOOO right! Near my parents' house, a farm abuts Rd. I-9, which in turn follows the curve of the Blanchard River (although not as much as it did before the road and bridge were redone in 1997) and the edges of his fields have that curve to them, too. Seeing your picture brought all of that back. :)

(And I don't blame you for being impatient for the passionflower vine to bloom. I hope you show it!)

Unknown said...

By the way, why do you think that your spring bulbs are showing foliage when NONE of mine (even the snowdrops and winter aconite) are peeping at all in my garden? I'm a zone warmer than you, dang it! It's not fair! lol.

Kylee Baumle said...

Nancy ~ I love those turkeys, too! Aren't the colors on their heads unreal?

Marie ~ Thanks!

Kim ~ Oh, I'll definitely show the passion flower when it finally opens up. They're only open for a day or so, but I check it nearly every hour now. LOL. And I don't know why I've got bulbs up! As I said before, they were up a full month before last year, but of course, they've stagnated for now. The sun melted some of the snow away today and they do look the same as they did a few weeks ago. So don't feel bad. Yours probably want to just keep going once they've started.

Unknown said...

Yes, we're all a bit winter weary, aren't we? Love the post, and going for the walk, though I don't like goats--except in stew--but I LOVE the turkeys. I'd have a few turkeys as pets because they amuse me. Did you gobble at them? Did they gobble back? (it's one of those odd things I do--talk to turkeys.)

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Dolly is such a cute polka dotted goat! Too bad your neighbor didn't let her walk with you more.

And you are SOOOOO lucky to have cardinals! We don't have them here at all and I would love their little red bodies out at my feeder.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Dolly looks like a lovely walking companion. I think goats are so interesting. Maybe becasue I have never been around them much.

We are now seeing the Wild Turkeys out in the fields more around here. I guess they have eaten up their cachs of food in the wooded areas and are now gleaning the grain fields.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Cue the violin music! At least your snow has melted - ours just keeps piling up. Yesterday & the day b4 were the 1st 2 days above freezing with sunshine in well over a month. I was out with the chopper thing chopping & chipping ice off the driveway in anticipation of tonight's 6-9" forecasted snowfall.
Aren't turkeys too funny? My husband & I made friends with 1 at a small zoo near where we used to work. Its head would turn different colors depending on its mood.

Connie said...

That goat has the most unusual and beautiful markings. And the turkeys are handsome, too.\
Our snow is gone except for a small patch on the mountain top...I keep watching it grow ever smaller and will celebrate when it is gone. :-)

Unknown said...

I hope that's it! :)

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