Winter Wonderland

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About a week ago, we awoke to quite a little mess. The forecast was for 3-6 inches of snow, followed by sleet, freezing rain and maybe a little rain. Sadly they were very mistaken. Sleet and freezing rain fell for 12 plus hours. We were quite lucky not to lose power.

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So when the sun came out the following day, it made for some fairly spectacular photos.

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Unfortunately, it also made for some fairly treacherous conditions. I chipped at the ice on my driveway for 3 hours and managed to clean up just a 5 square foot patch. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t going anywhere until the ice melted–maybe 5 days from now.

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I went inside and cancelled all my appointments.

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Luckily a warmup is coming just before Christmas so I can get out and buy dinner. By then, my cupboards will be a little bare.

First Snow

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We were just into meteorological winter–which began December 1–when the snow started falling.

We were lucky. We just got the tail end of the storm that began out West the day before Thanksgiving.

Still, it started snowing about 1 PM Sunday and snowed, sleeted, and maybe poured down a little freezing rain until Tuesday morning. That’s why there’s actually so little snow. The sleet and freezing rain packed down a lot of what fell Sunday into Monday morning.

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This, however, is becoming a perpetual problem. This is all snow, on a Japanese maple. Because the tree loses its leaves so late, it bows down under the weight of the snow. I need to find a different place for my car. It hasn’t been damaged yet, but this is about the third time this has happened. I can’t keep taking chances.

It probably saves the tree though.

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When we have this much snow, I run out of places to pile it when I am shoveling. I sure hope we have some melting before the next storms!

Contrast

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On days like this, it’s lovely to have bulbs blooming all over my house–in fact, that’s why I do it!

Remember back in November when I started all the bulbs in vases of water? It was the weekend before Thanksgiving for those who missed that post or who are new to following me (so that would have been November 17/18, 2018–you need to plan ahead for these moments!)

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At that point, I said that it would take 6-8 weeks for the smaller bulbs to bloom and perhaps a bit longer for the larger bulbs to bloom.

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I was right on target for the smaller bulbs. The larger bulbs are faster than I expected-hooray!

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Here are the paperwhite ‘Ziva’ It’s lovely to have their fragrance in the house too. Tying them up with the ribbon seems to concentrate the fragrance (if you’re better with ribbon than I am, you can make a nice bow).

I’ve recently started the last of my amaryllis. Let’s hope they surprise me with their speed too!

Welcome to Meteorological Winter

December 1 began meteorological winter, which is different from astronomical winter.

Meteorological winter is based on the three coldest months–December, January and February. Astronomical winter is based on the solstice, which this year happens on December 21.

So, since we’re in meteorological winter now, I thought I would see what my squirrels were thinking. For newer readers, what I am relying on is the time tested (sort of) tradition that squirrels build their nests based on their foreknowledge of winter cold. The higher up in a tree a squirrel builds its nest, the colder the winter will be.

I ask you, does this make any sense? No. But it has seemed to hold true for almost every winter that I have consulted the nests. So let’s look up at some nests.

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This is the squirrel’s nest on my property. It’s a little hard to see because it’s almost at the top of this oak. Clearly, my squirrels are thinking “cold winter.”

And I wouldn’t disagree with them. November ran well below average, except in snowfall and rainfall.

But that’s not the whole story.

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There are two nests in this tree (again, if you can’t see them, my apologies. This time of year, we’re all still cleaning up leaves, and I couldn’t get near anything because of leaf piles–which is still better than snowdrifts!)

These trees are on my neighbor’s property, directly across from my house and my oak. In the tree on the left–the one nearest their house–there are 2 nests. One is on the lowest branch and another just slightly higher. So their squirrels are thinking different things than mine.

So perhaps the “split decision” this winter means exactly that: periods of very cold weather followed by not so cold. I’ll take that!