When snow is a foreign experience…

First, let me say it is so beautiful…at first…

But on my side of the Cascade Mountain Range, in Washington state, when it snows, the population panics and everything screeches to a freezing halt!!

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Schools and businesses close. Stores sell out of staples (no milk or bread for miles around.) Cars that have slid or become stuck are simply abandoned where ever they are…in the middle of roads or even freeways.

Since Super Bowl Sunday, we have had no garbage pick up and only a single mail delivery!

All these things are a pain in the ____!

But it’s not a hurricane, tsunami, fire, tornado or war!! So we have to keep it all in perspective.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to focus on the amazing and delightful parts of it all. (The best thing for me is that we have not lost power!) There is so much to look at, it’s like being on an exotic trip or moving to a new part of the country!

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Oh, there is still ordinary drama! Who will win the steep hill that is our neighborhood’s long, dead-end street? Will it be the kids (of varying ages…including their 40’s) who are dying to get out their sleds and snowboards, as has always happened in the past with our rare snowfalls here? Or will it be the exceptionally kind and thoughtful neighbors, who get out their rarely used shovels, snow-blowers, and SALT, so they can clear our street for any necessary traffic.

This year the salt and snow-shovelers won. They were out there clearing the “perfect ski run” long before the No SCHOOL todayΒ kids even woke up!

I mean, they cleared the whole street, a couple of city blocks long…with SHOVELS…so all of us could get safely in and out of our neighborhood!!!

Also, I have been delighted to be able to continue feeding the seed birds, the hummers, and my crows.

I have fed my crows every morning for 35 years! Here’s my morning routine. I CAW and they come. This one Crow waits for me on top of a pole every morning until I say “Good morning. Here’s your breakfast.” And then I dump out yesterday’s leftover cat food scrapings, or a scrap of bread. He calls his Murder buddies and they all compete with the squirrels for the leftovers. Their favorites are dry cat food…and french fries!

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Then there are the intrepid seed eating birds. Not much stops them. They can empty the feeder in a day or two at certain times of the year.

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a short discussion before lunch…
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This guy doesn’t look too happy (or healthy). Finches tend to give each other conjunctivitis and I fear this fella might have it.
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And this one ate spilled seeds under the feeder, but was down there way, WAY too long. I hope he made it. This was on our 17 degree day.

 

As long as I keep the Hummingbird food thawed, they come and fill up all day long. But on the nights I take the feeders in so they don’t freeze, the next morning, these guys are literally ON it, slurping away, before I even get it hung back up on its hook! That has been so fun, being that close to them. Wish I could hold the feeder and snap photos at the same time.

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waiting, not quietly, on the unused Bow-flex for me to bring out the feeder.

 

 

Here’s the other thing I have been enjoying. Each morning I bundle up and go outside on a quest to discover any fresh designs in the snow…foot prints, paw prints, claw prints…anything, even tire prints!

Foot

Paw

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Claw

Tire

I love the puzzles some of the prints leave. Like this set of prints that I thought was maybe a person, dragging their feet or a cane, or maybe a single animal low enough to be dragging its belly. But when I followed the trail…it split into TWO.

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It’s amazing how much nocturnal activity takes place that I never would have known about without the evidence fresh snow provides.

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Some are no surprise because I know they are out there. I just rarely see them.

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One night last Spring

One day I woke up to these. Unmistakably Raccoon prints!

 

This morning’s mystery was fascinating. Keep in mind we have NO large dogs in our neighborhood, not that any would be roaming free at night anyway. These prints are way too big for the occasional kitty cat that is out at night. And even too big for our local coyotes, who are rarely traveling around alone. SO what is it? A Wolf? A larger cat? (there have been Bobcat sightings recently…) AND, it left me an icky clue, marking the corner of my patio! No wonder my cats went nuts at 3 AM!!!

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We have a local Covey of Quail, and three of them have kept me completely entertained looking out my bedroom window. They are hysterical. They always scritch and scratch and throw clouds of dirt and seed shells out behind them when they are foraging under the bird feeder. But to see them dig that way, down through the powdery snow, was so cool. Every now and then, one would bury another, and there would be a split second squabble before they’d go back to digging again.

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Then there is the snow itself. I was married to the US Disabled Ski Team for a number of years, and some of those guys knew the names of 20 or 30 types* of snow!

Here is what we got for these record breaking days.

Don’t know the names of these but they were each so different from each other.

I just know we had a lot, over several days, so much that they were calling it Snowmaggeden 2019 on the news.

There is fun stuff to do with the snow…

 

And the occasional tragedy…

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My wonderful Italian Plum Tree!

And the snow came the day after I planted these…see the mounds under the snow? Still don’t know if they survived.

 

And of course, there is the huge mess at the end…but that will go eventually!

 

All in all, we stayed safe and warm, and it was an adventure to remember.

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*https://www.thoughtco.com/types-of-snow-3010035

 

PS Some of my neighbors and I collect tarps, heavy moving blankets, and flashlights using coupons from our Harbor Freight Tools store, for people living unsheltered.

I felt so grateful to be warm and dry, but never more frustrated on behalf of people living outside in weather like this.

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choosingmyperspective

Thought a blog might help me develop better writing habits so I could finally finish my book, 16 years in the writing, but so far it's mostly photos and FUN!

16 thoughts on “When snow is a foreign experience…”

  1. Great pictures ! The mystery prints are some kind of canine – cat prints don’t show claws but dogs do, since their claws are not retractable.
    Our quails (in NE Ohio) have been gone since the terrible winters of the late 70’s. They are such beautiful birds.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have had (in my opinion) a milder than average winter, although the oil company assures me that actually, it has been colder. I suppose not be buried to my lip in snow makes it easier. I think we’re getting some more tomorrow night and Monday, but I think (hope) it’ll be very little. Frankly, I can’t afford the $50 hit for plowing the driveway.

    They dig us out pretty quickly here and our birds really EAT. Some of them look pretty ragged and at least one of our squirrels had a run-in with a hawk or maybe a coyote, but I’m betting on one of the big red-tailed hawks. I do my best to keep them fed and fat, but I can’t invite them in to warm up.

    I actually feel BAD about that. I think I’m losing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We do the same thing with foot/paw prints overnight! We have all sorts of critters…those five fingered raccoons are unmistakable, but we wondered about others β€”- bobcat? Coyote? Food is hard to find in the snow! We got some pretty pink incandescent lights to wrap around our hummingbird feeder to keep it liquid. We have at least two resident Anna’s that we adore. Love love this post, Kathie! We are kindreds.

    Liked by 1 person

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