I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Saturday, January 28, 2023

January eh.....

January  25, 2023

This un-January-like January, drags on. The temperature hanging too close to the freezing mark for my liking. Never much above and never much below. The older folks around say they have never experienced as mild a January as this, in their lives. There has not been a need to don the warm woollies for hiking, a light quilted jacket being sufficient. The gray days march on, interspersed once and a while with a glimmer of sun, usually too late in the day to have much effect on the solar panels. We did have two glorious, full sun days, punctuating the sunless ones.

Almost every day, there has been a new skiff of snow, sometimes just a dusting, sometimes enough to shovel. The dribs and drabs of snow are slowly adding up, and cushioning our snowshoe trails, making for pleasant, quiet walking, just a soft 'crump' with each step. There has been little to no wind, so the snow is also sticking prettily on all the boughs and branches, outlining them in white.

The fresh snow dusts in any animal tracks that have been made overnight, muffling them and making it difficult to discern who made what, although this rabbit track is fresh and easy to see, its big feet spread out into snowshoes.

This is a shot of a grouse's overnight accommodation. You can see where it plummeted into the fluffy snow, spent the night in it's snow cave, then wandered out come morning, leaving a little deposit behind.

Our resident Marten has been all over, sticking it's inquisitive nose into every tangle of brush it comes across. The resident fox scouts around the yard and buildings at night, here and there it's tracks come and go from a hole it has dug in the snow,
having pounced and dug after some unfortunate critter. The upheaval it has made, mars the smooth expanse of snow stretching across our clearing.  

Every morning, the 4 to 6 Blue Jays are waiting for their ration, big puffy gray-blue lumps, sitting up in the branches of the crab apple tree by the tray feeder. Apparently we have traded the 18 to 20 jays we've had in previous years, for a surfeit of Hairy Woodpeckers. There are at least 4 hanging around, one or two visible at the feeders whenever I look out. They take turns, with some noisy altercations, on the hanging peanut feeder, which the Chickadees are also enjoying, as they pick up the bits the woodpeckers dislodge onto the snow beneath. A female Pileated woodpecker has been on the tray feeder a few times, and there are always fresh holes drilled into the standing dead beech trees in the bush. Those dead trees would also explain the increased number of Hairys this year.

The overwintering pepper plant has put out another fruit, and a couple more tiny ones are forming.

The one amaryllis bulb I potted up and brought in before Christmas, has bloomed, a cheerful spot of colour.

the last of a clump of 3 blooms
I'm working through processing my beautiful pie pumpkins into two cup portions, and recently re-stocked the pie shell supply for the freezer. (Love Aunt Molly's rolling pin.)

So, January plods on, February being the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. I live in hope that we will still get some lovely cold winter weather. There is a snow storm on the radar for overnight into tomorrow morning, so this may not get posted for a bit, depending on road conditions after the storm, for our trip to the library!

                         Addendum: Morning, January 26. Yeah!


Friday, January 6, 2023

Waiting for the sun......

January 5, 2023

The world is totally white again this morning. All the tree branches are lined with sticky snow. The 'rain-slush-yuck' was falling heavily last night, as we could hear it plopping and shushing down on the roof over our heads. On trying to clear the back step this morning, it is a granular, icy mess. We'll need sun to clear the panels, as this won't come off easily.

The Christmas storm landed here, lots of snow, but not too much wind. Our son made it north mostly in front of the storm, but did hit some heavier going on the more northerly part of his route. Other guests from further away, stayed safely home, so it was just we three for a cozy, snowy Christmas.

The lovely Christmas snow on top of the December 16th dumping,

Morning of December 17

added up to close to two feet of snow, and made for a beautiful hike around, breaking trails on a sunny Christmas day. (header was taken Christmas Day). Sadly, the weather changed, rain and warmth came and the snow settled alarmingly, showing bare ground wherever we had labourously shoveled, ploughed and blew the snow away. The temperature has been hanging around the freezing mark, day time just above, and night time just below, for a lot longer than one would expect in January, and the long range does not show much change. The skies have been gray, the couple of sunny days at Christmas were the last full sun days we've had in this unusually long stretch of dreary weather. The moon, heading now toward a full Wolf Moon, has not been seen through the heavy cloud cover, although the diffused moonlight through the clouds, is enough light to see out across the clearing and discern objects and the bush edge at night. Last night I observed a large black thing sitting up on the tray feeder across the drive from the house, easily visible from the bed room window. After a few moments of motionlessness, it spread it's wings and drifted down and off to the south...a Barred owl. Over the Christmas period, on tramping out the trail to the compost bins one morning, I discovered this.

Although it was daylight when the photo was taken, I had to darken it considerably to show the details. Some hapless critter had been snacking in the compost bin, headed out across the field, where there is no cover...and the owl got it, it's track ending in big wing prints etched in the snow. We know we have a breeding pair around, as we hear them regularly, and a couple of years ago, on a walk through the swamp trail, we discovered two young owls hanging out in the trees there.

A Marten has been coming and going under the back step and porch. Probably it has discovered good hunting there, and that is OK with us. 

A female Pileated woodpecker has been showing up on the tray feeder where we have been putting cracked corn, and the Chickadees are a constant delight...(from earlier in December)

The trail cameras have been showing deer moving through, heading down to their winter yard. One buck got up close to a camera. He looks rather thin and bony, perhaps as a result of the rut.

The sun is apparently going to make an appearance on the weekend, and we are looking forward to that!