Friday, March 1, 2019

These Winter Days

Our snowy campus
We're having another February of record-breaking cold and snow this winter.  This time the emphasis is more on the cold than the snow.  Recently I started calling it "coldmaggedon" in imitation of Seattle's "snowmaggedon."  I decided it deserved a proper name designation when confronted with the fact that it was colder all across the state of Montana than in the Arctic Circle--the northernmost US city, in fact--where my sister Sarah lives.  As my dad said, "That is just wrong."
Here are some February Winter Weather Fun Facts I've put together, gleaned from the historical data charts on Weather Underground:

  • There were six days where the HIGH was zero degrees or less.  For the HIGH.
  • Temperatures fell below zero degrees on 19 of the 28 days, plus there were seven more days where the low fell into the single digits.  That means the low temperature peaked out in the double digits only twice all month (see next fact).
  • The High/Low for February 1st was 51/40, for February 2nd it was 52/19, and by the 3rd it was 19/-6...and the low would stay in the negatives for ten straight days.  It was quite a jarring transition into the frigid weather!
  • Almost 27 inches of snow fell making it the third snowiest February on record.
Watching these icicles develop has been pretty impressive.  Some are below the bottom of the window sill now.
I even started riding the city bus to work it was so darn cold.  I usually enjoy my 2.5 mile morning walk, even in the winter, but when it is -5 that is just not the case.  I am totally sold on the bus, too.  It is amazing.  No scraping windows or warming up the car, no driving on ice and snow, no parking--and just a few minutes walking on each end.  It is basically made for people like me.  Who knew?!?  Gosh, I long to get back to kinder cycling weather though.  I truly miss it.
A sad, drifted bicycle on one of the campus bike racks.
We went sledding last night.  The snow was so deep that many of our preferred slopes were not actually that great--the sleds would sink into the deep snow instead of just gliding over the top.  It happened to the runner sled and both styles of plastic sleds, too!  Our regular go-to slope was just not cutting it.  In fact, only the steepest hill was packed and angled enough to send us coasting.
We still had a jolly good time though, limited sledding slopes aside.  We tromped about in the drifts--up over my knees--and made magnificent snow angels in the soft piles.  We laid on our backs watching the snow fall straight out of the sky at us until both of our glasses were layered with snow and we couldn't see anything!  It was so still I could hear the snowflakes hitting the ground and our coats--punctuated by delighted screams from the one well-packed sledding hill.  When we rode double on the runner sled we almost ended up in the creek at the bottom.  Gosh we were flying!
Matt's double snow angel.
Ginger and Johnny both want to go outside.  Until we open the door and they realize they want nothing to do with the outside.  One of those first days of February--when it was 50 degrees--Ginger did spend a solid afternoon perched on the garden sink surveying her snow-covered domain.  Johnny occasionally insists that we open the front door, but visibly recoils from cold air as it wafts at her face.  She, too, has only been out once in recent months.  She's had to resort to nibbling the houseplants again since she can't get to any grass.
The only tracks in the snow as I walked to the bus stop today were mine and a deer.
We got several suet blocks and the accompanying feeder for Christmas.  I hung it off the front porch railing, but the birds didn't seem to be hitting it up.  Thinking it was the location I'd chosen I moved the feeder to the patio table, figuring it was close to where I'd seen the nuthatches hanging out.  It has been much more popular there and so there it remains.  We've seen both White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, and a Red Squirrel.
Buuuuuut, I didn't think about the snow accumulation and how readily the feeder would be buried.  It only occurred to me when I noticed that the birds (and maybe the squirrels) had hollowed out a nice access cave.  It is cold and food is scarce so no pile of fluffy snow would stop them from getting at that puck of delicious fat.  It made me laugh and made my day.
The Suet Cave.
I sure wish it had been this snowy when all the Christmas lights were out.  Snow amplifies their delightful twinkle a thousandfold, if you ask me.  We had such a brown December.  That is certainly no longer the case. 
Fabulous top hat and shawl, no?!
On the agenda for the weekend:  More sledding!!!

6 comments:

  1. Wow, I didn't know it was so snowy and cold for you! Pretty photos, though.

    I used to commute by bus and it was literally the best - some people would act pitying like I didn't have a good car or something, and I always set them straight :) I used to knit or sew or read on my ride - or grade papers, when I was a teacher.

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    1. It is good you set them straight! It really is fantastic. I read on the bus--surprise, surprise!

      I am pleased to have broken the local bus-riding ice now because I can see it being handy every now and again--even if I do prefer walking and cycling. This winter that is just not happening. I refuse. :)

      I can relate, too, in that people pity me occasionally for not having my own car and having to--shudder--walk places. ;) I feel SO lucky to be able to work this slow transport into my day. I get so much out of it, including a dose of exercise and time with my thoughts or an audiobook. Kindly friends and acquaintances will stop and offer me a ride and, you know, I almost never want one. Yet they're the one that feel bad for me. I feel like a genius.

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  2. Love that hat and shawl! I read about the polar vortex in the paper, and am glad it hasn't affected us much. We once grew some cat grass in a pot in the house, and Dolly liked it.

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  3. I love the snow...but we've only had one good snow and it was way back in December...the weather is so various this year...
    ~Have a lovely day~!

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    1. I don't even know what to expect nor what is "normal" anymore. I am sure glad Spring has finally made some noise though. Spring rocks.

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