Saturday, December 26, 2009

After the Christmas Blizzard

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we received a total of about a foot of snow. With weather forecasts being what they are these days, this storm was not unexpected; one would have had to have been completely cut off from modern communications to not know it was coming. So most folks, ourselves included, stayed in for the night and day and enjoyed being together and playing with some pretty cool new toys. ;)

This morning I tried out my Christmas present: a lightweight pair of waterproof, Thinsulated hiking boots. I hadn't thought about it, but my old clunky, felt-lined Sorel pac boots were over twenty years old, and while they work just fine for trudging outdoors, they are, well, clunky. I can't walk fast or run in them. Decked in fleece lined cross country ski pants, long underwear shirt, down parka, hat, mittens, wool socks, and new boots, I set out for a walk. We hadn't taken the snow blower to the driveway yet (it's being done as I speak), but I followed one set of packed down tire tracks. The snow plow had been by on the road, so the end of the driveway had a nearly impassable mound of snow, and there was about another two inches of fresh snow on the road. A light snow was still falling, but it's not supposed to amount to more than an inch or so today.

Sand Creek was mostly open, due to yesterday's warm (nearly 40 degree) temperatures. I walked north across the creek for a while, then turned around and headed south past our driveway and down the road a quarter mile or so. After spending the better part of the last two days indoors, the fresh air felt good to me. I paused once in a while to hear the bird activity in the woods, the chatter of chickadees, the yawping of a pileated woodpecker, and the raucous cries of blue jays. I heard and saw a flock of white winged crossbills as I was walking back up the driveway.

My new boots worked very well. They kept my feet toasty warm, and there's nothing worse than having cold feet on a winter's day. I could even run in them, and I ran a short distance, but I think I'll break them in a little more before I do some serious winter running. One of our cool Christmas toys was Wii Fit Plus, and if I can book a time slot in front of the cool new TV I may try it out, but I think my Wii Fitness program will mostly be outdoors. :)

The warm house felt inviting when I came back indoors, and I spent a few minutes drinking coffee (flavored with a splash of Bailey's) and watching birds at the feeder. The snowstorm has brought flocks of goldfinches to the feeders, but there were a couple of birds that were more acustomed to hopping around on the ground, scratching for seeds:

American tree sparrow

The pictures don't do justice to their exquisite markings and subtle colors.

The holiday is over, and I still have a whole lazy weekend ahead of me! Time to finally pick up a musical instrument or two. Monday is the Pine County Christmas Bird Count, and I'm looking forward to a great day with some good birding friends.


Floridacracker said...

Good luck reserving that Wii time slot!!
Love your snowy pics and observations.

RuthieJ said...

Glad to hear you're dealing with your heavy snowfall alright Deb. I was glad we only got a fraction of what had been originally predicted and really enjoyed getting out in the sunshine today.
Love those little tree sparrows and you're welcome to send any extra crossbills down my direction! :-)

Deb said...

FC- it ain't gonna happen! :)

RuthieJ- Glad the snow only hit you lightly too. Today I saw an incredible amount of traffic on I35 going north, maybe people who had delayed holiday plans.

Those tree sparrows, and the crossbills, made my day!

cherylhotton said...

Lovely post Deb and even lovelier pictures !

Deb said...

Thanks Cheryl! A belated Happy Boxing Day!