Sloppy Snow And Shoveled Paths

The snow that fell yesterday and through the night is beginning to slowly melt. This slushy stuff reminds us of the occasional snowfall in western Washington – it would be heavy, wet, messy stuff like this, and it would usually melt quickly and leave a big muddy mess.

Rain’s in the forecast for later today and it is welcome – this slush needs to go! If it remained, it could freeze into ice and make for some real fun (think impromptu skating rink and trying to carry buckets of water across it). Fortunately, warmer weather is supposed to be on the way, even into the low 60s later this week.

The chickens and ducks don’t seem to enjoy the snow. Sometimes their feet get cold and they just stop in their tracks, refusing to continue on to their respective coops. The ducks will lie down where they are and try to warm up their feet. The chickens will allow you to carry them to the coop, preferring handling to having to continue to trudge through snow, but some of the hens will get squirrelly en route and flap their wings. To help keep feet unfrozen, we shoveled a path this morning and they all stayed on the path in their trek from coop to barn.

The wild birds are taking full advantage of the feeders; ground-feeders like doves wait below for the seeds tossed out by the sparrows and finches. The flickers hang onto the suet holders and drill away. No losses of the suet feeders to animal thieves this year so far, either. The cardinals alternate between eating from the feeders and waiting below. Versatile birds.

We also saw a hawk overhead today, but it flew over the back of the property, so we’re hoping the 3 unfriendly-looking owls and all the reflective, spinning, distractions we put out earlier are keeping it away. The chickens are sticking around the barn, so no losses recently – so far, so good.

So is this winter’s last hurrah? Doubtful. People around here delight in telling us that (1) this area doesn’t “usually” get much snow (yeah, right – it’s snowed and gotten burst-your-pipes cold the past 3 winters!) and (2) it’s snowed as late as Derby (first Sat. in May – yikes!). We’d be relieved if this marked the end of winter’s bitter bite and the transition to spring’s milder temperatures, but we know we have little sway when it comes to the weather. The polar vortex seems to be an annual event now…the new “normal”? Like unusually hot summers?