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One Word for Last Week's Weather
January 13, 2014


The one word I use to describe this past week's weather.

It wasn't just the cold.

We've had colder days.

It wasn't the snow.

We've experienced worse.

It wasn't the wind.

We've all had windier days.

It was the combination of all three.

It was after all, 'The Polar Vortex'.

Such fancy names.

A weather system that covered most of North America.

(Times spent with Fireplace.)

How often can we say that all 50 states experienced freezing temperatures (In one location or another) at the same time.

Yes, even Hawaii with its snow capped mountain of 'Mauna Kea', experienced freezing temperatures too.

Follow that with rain and freezing rain once again, and we have a true 'Epic' event.

It was a full time job keeping snow removed ( a priority with a special needs person).

Blowing, shoveling, and shoveling some more.

With two small fur kids (Ziggy and Keet), an are has to be maintained for their business as well.

Paths cleaned so I can feed the birds and maintain the birdbath.

I think I was dressed in winter garb more often than not.

We did not come through this unscathed, however.

Our roof is leaking over the kitchen.

In two different spots.

Ice back up and some melting.

Hopefully repairs will be this week.

On the plus side, snow is a terrific insulator.

Here's to hoping our plants are well protected.

Side note:

Yolanda did indeed have a bad bladder infection, which the neurologist believes led to her episode a couple weeks ago.

Doctor doesn't want to tinker with her meds or want to see her for now.

Something about the infection that can trigger seizures.

I don't know if this is just for brain injuries or what.

Have you noticed how busy your birds were?

It takes a lot of energy to maintain body heat in the extreme cold.

Add the lower barometric pressure and the birds were in a feeding frenzy.

I will repeat this again.

If at all possible, offer quality, high protein, high fat foods.

Suet, Peanuts, Black oil sunflower, and Nyjer (thistle) for finches.

Offer fresh water.

Sure birds can and do eat snow for fluids, but this too lowers their body temperatures from the inside as well.

Not only from the cold of the snow, but the energy required to melt and process the snow.

You may even offer a handout right near your front door.

I know, it can be a big hassle.

Dressing up, shoveling a path to a feeder out in the back 40.

This is why it is suggested to place feeders and water close to the house before the snow and cold come.

Keep an eye open for predators.

(Cooper's Hawk.)

Hawks have to feed too, but I don't like setting the dinner table for them.

I keep an eye open and chase them away when I can.

It is all part of nature, yet I feel guilty when I am setting up a songbird for ambush.

Now, if the hawks would prey on starlings and House sparrows, I wouldn't mind.

There seem to be an abundance of both this winter.

Cardinals, Blue jays, Mourning doves, American goldfinches, Dark-eyed juncos, Black-capped chickadees, and Tree sparrows are plentiful.

I am lacking in White-breasted nuthatches and the tufted-tit-mouse this winter.

This isn't an irruptive year for Red-breasted nuthatches, I didn't expect them.

Woodpeckers visit, but not as often (so far).

Still, these birds are regulars, until this winter that is.

With the extreme cold, I was beginning to think my one heater wasn't keeping up.

The open water was getting smaller, and smaller.

Then a thin layer of ice formed on top.

I thought I took care of business, until the GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) tripped a couple of times.

On further inspection, the old heater was tired.

I knew that, but was hoping to get one more year (6) out of it.

I keep a brick on it so birds wont step on the coil and to keep it in place.

When I removed the brick, corrosion and rust was visible.

A quick Trip to 'Wild Birds Unlimited' for another heater.

If you can't find a heater at a local specialty store, they possibly can order you one.

Or, get online and order one.

I like the 'Blue Devil' heater (name brand), but there are others on the market.

For around $40-$45, you get a heater guaranteed to last four years.

It is thermostatically controlled to turn on when needed (no wasted energy).

It pays to spend a few more dollars for a good heater.

In the meantime, spring is officially less than 2 1/2 months away.

As seed catalogs continue to arrive, I have much material to thumb through.

I'm sure you are like me, and have your favorite catalogs, but it is still fun to look through them all.

It passes the time on a long winter day.

Hope springs eternal and all that good stuff.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God bless.

The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.

Bernard Meltzer, American Law Professor

How about the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3-10

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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