Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Before the Storm

We're supposed to get hit today by the storm that's been rolling across the country.  By the time it gets here it might just be a snowfall of 4-8 inches.  Not a bad storm by New England standards.  

I decided to do a few things to get ready anyway.  Yesterday I slipped out and snapped a few pictures of the front yard.

And this one of my Fothergilla gardenii Blue Mist.  

Not a great shot but in the upper right corner you can see my snow board.  That's where I measure new snowfall for CoCoRaHS.  I use the board so that I can more easily remove the existing snow to get a new snowfall total every day.  I took this photo because I could see large buds.  It makes me hopeful for spring.

The big job was, of course, making sure the wild birds are taken care of.  I scrubbed and refilled the heated bird bath.  It keeps the water thawed.  I haven't seen it frozen over yet and we've had temps in the teens.  I'm quite happy with it.

Below the bird bath I have our Christmas tree.  It's look a bit worse for wear but the birds LOVE it.  When I go outside it's usually full of juncos or sparrows.  Next year I plan to have a line of native grasses along the deck so I'll have to put the tree elsewhere.  Maybe leaning against the fence (on the outside!  One of my dogs would be sure to climb it if it was on the inside).

And then there's food.  I ran out this morning and got a couple of bags of seed mixes.  I usually get my mix from a wild bird store about 20 minutes away but I didn't want to take the time to drive out there this morning (I still have to finish lecture for tonight's class) so I bought two bags and mixed them to get approximately what I want.  Hope the birds like it.

Lastly there's suet.  Suet is technically treated beef fat.  I bought some this morning.  I'm out of cornmeal.  What do those two sentences have to do with each other?  Well, I usually make a homemade suet substitute.  The birds like it better than the store bought suet blocks.  It's one cup of Crisco (full fat), melted, plus one cup of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), melted, plus two cups of cornmeal.  I pour this into about three "disposable" Tupperware containers and refrigerate.  It's cheap, easy, and the birds love it.  But I'm out of cornmeal and didn't want to make an extra stop at the grocery store this morning.  Hope the birds like the store bought stuff.

Well, the snow is starting to fall and I haven't received notice that the college is canceling evening classes so I'd better get back to work on the lecture.  I figure they'll cancel classes about the time I finish it up.

UPDATE:  We got a whopping quarter of an inch of snow.  Not impressed.

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