New Year’s In The Country.

Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my readers far and near!  I know, I’m a bit late.  But it is still January 1.  So I’m on time even if I’m late.  I think.  It is a very cold start to this new year.  When I went out to feed the birds first thing this morning I just couldn’t believe how cold it felt.  Should have had my gloves on.  But at least I wasn’t out there long.  How cold you ask?  Okay, it really wasn’t so bad, -24F, and -42F with the windchill.  Frostbite zone.  Too cold for this guy.  Apparently it was warmer 1,700 miles north of here.  Amazing.  We were one of the coldest places in Canada today.  There was one place colder.  Sigh.

The poor birds were frosty looking today.  Their feathers fluffed out to cover their little feet.  And they were busy.  Eating steadily all day long, making sure they had enough stored energy to last through the long cold night.  If those little chickadees don’t get enough to eat during the day they won’t make it through the long cold night.  The birds here certainly get enough food.  I make sure they always have plenty.  And there are a lot of birds.

Of course there are certain birds I wish would not come.  Ravens.  What an amazing difference in size between those big beasts and the little chickadees, nuthatches and pine siskins.  Problem is, when the ravens show up the other birds are too scared to come to the feeders.  Those ravens are mean critters and deliberately chase away other birds.  Sigh.  Today I had to stand outside to make sure the ravens would stay away so the gray jays could come and get some food.  The gray jays are getting more brave and will now come to the feeder with me standing close by.

cold gray jay
All the birds hide their feet when it’s cold, like this gray jay.

I’m hoping to one day have them come to my hand to get food.  However, right now it’s just too cold to stand out there long enough for that to happen.  And time is running out, they will be gone in February.  Off to a quieter location for nesting.  Crazy birds.  Nesting in the middle of winter.  Amazing.  Oh well.

Okay, my title seems a bit off.  I don’t live in the country.  It’s town life for me now.  But it’s quite private here and the animal life makes it somewhat country like.  At least I can ‘think’ country while watching the birds and other critters.

On another new year’s day years ago it was also very cold.  But colder than now.  It was -50F and sunny, but no wind at all.  And there was only a foot of snow so I thought it would be a good day for a short hike, about a mile in length for the location I had in mind.  However, since it was so cold it was really not a good idea for a solo hike.  So I managed to convince my brother it would be fun.  I’m not sure he really agreed to the fun part though.  But off we went.  It was cold.  It was actually hard to breathe at times, especially when walking uphill.  And around here there is nothing but hills so there is a lot of up and down.  We came to a small cliff and climbed our way slowly down.  Hmm, not sure if it’s possible to ‘climb’ down.  But anyway, we made our way down to the bottom.  There was a large beaver pond in our way and going around it would add quite a bit of extra time to our little hike.  So we decided to just cross it instead.  After all, with the cold weather we had that pond should be frozen well enough to hold us.  And we made sure not to go close to the beaver lodge (or house, if you prefer), because there the ice would not be safe.  We made it about a third of the way when we heard a loud crack!  We stopped.  Now what?  Keep going or turn around?  Being the adventurous types (or is that foolish?), we decided to keep going.  Only another two steps and the ice gave way and down we went!  And we hit bottom, which was about 4 feet deep at that point.  I could just imagine the shocked look that must have been on our faces!  Makes me laugh just thinking about it.  However, when it happened, laughter wasn’t really what we thought about.  Falling into ice cold water with the air temp at -50 and being more than half a mile from heat, is not exactly a pleasant thought.  However, after hitting the bottom of the beaver pond and expecting the rush of ice cold water, there was nothing. Not a drop of water.  The pond had obviously been drained after it had frozen.  I went under the ice for a bit but it did get dark once away from the hole we made.  Couldn’t see much except frozen mud, stumps and sticks all over the place.  And a few rocks here and there.  We were quite thankful we didn’t find any water.  The walk back would have been even colder than it was.  More could be said about the hike, but enough for now.

I watched until the last chickadee left for the night.

chickadee eating seed
Amazing how the chickadees hold that sunflower seed with their little feet and peck it open without dropping it.  Though on rare occasions they do drop it, often catching it before it hits the ground.

They fly quite a distance to wherever they spend the night.  They want just the right spot, usually a nice bunch of spruce or balsam, which gives them good protection especially if there is wind.

Muffin is enjoying her after supper nap.  It’s cold in here this evening, and the heater was just on.  Sigh.  Hawaii is the place to be when it’s this cold.  Again, Happy New Year and God bless!

Steve and Muffin.

4 Comments on “New Year’s In The Country.

  1. I doubt you would survive the walk home if you had fallen into water !..loved the pics and info on the birds !

    Liked by 3 people

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