Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thunder Sleet and Snow

In the last 2 days, our area got hammered with 3 inches of sleet, accompanied by thunder, followed by freezing rain, then dusted with an inch or so of snow. A few minutes drive north, they got 12 inches of snow! Most businesses and schools are closed--even interstate highway 70 was closed till this morning.

I try to keep the pond flowing a bit. The pump is hanging in there, but sometimes I pour some hot water over the ice to open a hole. All day long there's a steady stream of Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows dropping in for a drink. The neighbor's cat hops over the fence every day too.
I'm a bit worried about the Carolina Wrens. Freezing rain is particularly hard on them. On the MObirds listserve, Bill Eddleman reminded us that after the hard winter of ’76-77 their population plunged.

Leaves of Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum) are beautiful in snow. I would miss these if I followed the usual practice and chopped off my plants for the fall "cleanup."

One of my favorite garden tschotskes is this screech owl made with a copper float ball from a toilet tank. Normally, he teeters back and forth with the wind. We have wind today, but the poor wee thing is frozen solid.

Kokopelli is the god associated with agriculture, fertility, and music. How long till spring, Koko?


  1. Fingers crossed for the carolina wrens, I guess they eat insects. It always amazes me how such small creatures survive in these harsh conditions and how quickly nature can recover afterwards.

  2. They are insect eaters, but will take other foods when insects aren't available. The northern limit of their range is not far from my area (St. Louis MO), so they aren't as well adapted to cold as some species. Birders on the listserve have been seeing them at their feeders though. So far so good for the wrens! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Looks about the same but with more ice and less snow here in north central Arkansas. Now they say we are due for more before the first has had a chance to melt.

    The humped-back flute player can also be a trickster, an appropriate symbol for weather prognostication, I think.

  4. Weather forecasters predicted a foot of snow for us on top of the sleet, but we had only a few inches here. Probably Kokopelli had a few laughs at our expense!

  5. I don't clean up the garden in the fall, either. I figure the birds need the shelter more than I need a tidy space.

  6. @Joy: They find lots of seeds and insect eggs in the debris too. They're pretty entertaining!

    @Richard: I had Carolina Wrens in the yard today for the first time in weeks! So far so good!