Friday, February 18, 2011

Could it be....

Could it be that the pugnacious prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania was correct on February 2nd when he said spring would come early this year? We've been enjoying a robust period of thaw here at the Aerie since early in the week. We've not even seen the night time lows reach below the freezing mark since last Monday night. Today we had a low of 44 degrees over night and a high of 61 this afternoon. While both of those are higher than we've experienced during the rest of the week and much higher than the valley has had, they give you an idea of how mild it's been.

I can look down the hill upon the hay fields and pastures and see that the bulk of the snow has gone. Those fields were in many instances both windswept so that they had a thinner snow cover and spread with sun absorbing cow manure. Even the Aerie's lawn is becoming more and more exposed. Everywhere there was a stone wall or where I had shoveled a path is fast becoming bare of snow and ice.

The roof of the Aerie is likewise fast becoming a snow and ice free zone. Only a small patch of snow remains on the shed roof covering the porch on the southwest side of the house and a somewhat larger patch remains where the sun never shines in the valley adjacent to the main entrance on the northeast corner. At 60 degrees, however, neither patch has long to survive sun or no sun. The ice in the driveway has all disappeared and the annual spring puddle has formed along the uphill side. (This happens because the drainage pipe under the driveway--only 6 inches in diameter--gets clogged with ice and remains that way for some time due to the insulating nature of the gravel drive covering it.)

This spring-like weather can not, alas, continue. We are, after all, only into the third week of February. Forecasters are saying there's a cold front coming that will drop the overnight lows into the teens and possibly single digits again while limiting the daytime highs to the mid thirties until at least the first of March. That should be good news for those operating a sugar bush. The Maples need those alternating warm days and cold nights to keep the sap pumping up and down the trees.


Dang birds! For weeks I've had flocks of redpolls, mourning doves, chickadees, and such coming to the bird feeders and staying all day. Then the Great Back Yard Bird Count is supposed to take place and...NOTHING! I've seen no more than one bird at a time out there or in the trees around the yard all day. One hairy woodpecker, one downy woodpecker, one white-breasted nuthatch, and one crow that happened to fly by while I was on the deck. That's it from 8 AM until 3 this afternoon.

Either they too can read the notices much like the turkeys, bear and deer who disappear when the hunting seasons start, or they are out exploring those open fields for weed seeds and all the undigested grain in the spread cow manure.

1 comment:

Rev. Paul said...

It's 20 and snowing here. Finally - some normal weather.

Enjoy the early warmth; I know you'll be back in cold weather before spring gets there.