Monday, January 11, 2021

Snow Day in the South

Guess what?  It snowed in Shreveport last night--great big flakes reflected in the streetlights as it fell!  By morning the snow barely covered the grass, but it was enough to shut down all area schools today.  It’s several years between snowfalls here in the Deep South so we all enjoy it while we can.  Sadly, most of the snow melted by mid-morning today.  A friend posted a photo of her twins out in their yard with a big snowman that they woke up at dawn to build!

view from the front porch

About 3:00 am this morning the power went off, and our generator isn’t working properly.  When the repairman came last time, he said he couldn’t fix it because he had to see it while it was malfunctioning.  Ricky called this morning—the guy is on vacation.  Ricky started the generator manually so we could have morning coffee.  It stayed on long enough for that important function, then stopped again. 

The electricity is back on after six hours off so it’s all good.  We have gas space heaters scattered throughout the house and cottage so we don’t freeze even when power is off.  We light them during the day in cold weather.  At night, we huddle under covers.  When it’s cold and humid in the south, that chill creeps into the bones, something northerners may not realize if they haven’t experienced it firsthand. 

Ricky built another bird feeder, a shelf that he attached to the wooden fence outside the library windows.  We watch the birds and write down the different species we see.  We are having so much fun!  According to the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research study, Europeans who see the most bird species in their day-to-day lives are the happiest.  The authors calculated that being around 14 bird species provided as much satisfaction as earning an additional $150 a month.  During the pandemic as people have stayed at home more, birdwatching has become popular.  Since I read the article correlating diversity of bird species and happiness, I’ve been trying to figure out if Ricky and I see 14 species of birds in our daily lives! 

what species of bird is eating sunflower seeds?
Of course, the birds at the feeders in winter differ somewhat from the birds we see in the summer.  The hummingbirds have migrated, and the Mississippi kites, small birds of prey, have disappeared.  In the summer, we regularly observe 5 or 6 kites at a time circling high above our house and the near-by city park.  I did see a hawk flying toward the park the other day.  This time of year, we see and hear ducks in their V-shaped flocks heading toward water somewhere. 

Meanwhile, I’m studying the bird book trying to distinguish among all the brown birds at the feeders—are they juveniles of the species, displaying winter pattern feathers, or females?  I give up. 

Tufted titmice and juncos love the birdseed, and I recognize them.  We also have multiple cardinals and purple and house finches eating sunflower seeds from the feeders. Blue jays and mockingbirds prefer to hang out in the bushes and trees in the front yard.  Flickers walk up and down the old tallow tree in the back.

Like many people, I decorated with abandon this year for Christmas.  It didn’t matter that very few people saw my decorations.  It brought me joy.  On this snow day in January, reminiscent of a White Christmas, I leave you with a few photographs of my holiday décor from this past Christmas. 

Santa and his bicycles on the roof of our house

Frazier fir in front foyer

dining room table set for Christmas

 

Vintage pine cone elves on dining room mantle


Christmas cards on display

photos in the music room

library door


anything worth doing is worth overdoing: Christmas in the library






the plant room or sunporch

I love Christmas dishes, so here are dishes on display in the kitchen: 






Santa Christmas tree upstairs,
complete with old toys

6 comments:

  1. How did I miss this? I'd seen some of your decorations on FB, but there are even more here! Birds are uplifting, aren't they? Fun to watch, identify (if you can), keep track of--and adding that ephemeral sense of satisfaction to each day. The other day, I spilled some seed close to my outside nook before getting a feeder back up and that afternoon, I set off a flurry by my chair when I opened the back door. Brief moment, lasting pleasure.

    The sock monkey and cat in the last photo are so "homely" in the Tolkien sense of warm and comforting and reminiscent of our childhoods.

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    1. Always good to hear from you, Jenny. Thanks for stopping by. Post hadn’t been up long. The snow day reminded me of the fun I had decorating this year for Christmas. Now we’ve got some Mardi Gras decorations out. Since there is no parade nor big party this year at our house, Ricky calls our decorations, Mardi Gras Lite. We’re looking for 2021 to start improving soon.

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    2. Fingers crossed for improvements in 2021. BTW, that bird feeder is so cool--Ricky did good aesthetically and practically!

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  2. I so enjoyed your Snow Day blog, your Christmas decorations, and learning bird watching sparks happiness. Of all the species here, the hummingbirds are my favorite. When they begin to arrive in the summer and I hear that familiar buzz, my heart leaps with joy and anticipation knowing many more will come bringing their energy and excitement. Soon they will keep me busy refilling 3 feeders sometimes twice a day as they fuel up for their next journey. They arrive skinny so I delight in watching them fill out, and witness the babies’ quick growth. Summers are too short in the mountains, and as my little friends start to leave in September, coming your way south, I feel sad when there is less and less buzzing and dive bombing on my porch. I take down the feeders and put new ones up with safflower seeds and thistle. Each species brings their colors and personalities, but the hummers carry my heart with them wherever they go.

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    1. Thanks, Pam, for your comment. The ranch had an amazing number of hummingbirds, and I know you also get a lot at your place. What is your secret? We don't have much luck with them. We had a problem with our Rose of Sharon bushes this last year, and they love those blooms. I'd like to add variety to our winter feeding stations. I'll look to see what's available.

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  3. I so love all your decorating pictures!! So beautiful. It looks like a pile of small books - all the same - under the tree. A series??
    I don't think I've ever seen that many species in one day. In the winter, our stalwarts are chickdees, bluejays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, finches, sparrows, and the turkeys. And not all of them on the same day!
    Anyhow, thanks for posting. Good to "see" you!

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