A Real Canadian Winter…

It won’t be so bad we thought, we’re not working outside on a daily basis…what were we thinking? ha! We were treated with kid gloves last Winter, this one, we’re getting the feel, literally of a an old fashioned cold snowy Winter. So far we’ve hit -34° Celsius 4 times, in three weeks…damn that’s cold. Glad we invested this year in some solid winter boots! Such whimps…yes sir! It’s when those daytime highs don’t break -20° though…

The 21″ of snow we weren’t quite expecting:) We managed to shovel around the truck, a path to the bird feeders and eventually a cat race course around the house before All Weather and their very large tractor and blade got to our cottage road and created an escape path for us a few days after the snow! They had their hands full, the pickup and blade couldn’t make a dent in it they said.

The cats were quite appalled before their race track was created, Rocket had to be fetched out of several snow holes he found himself in after leaping into the drifts and off the porch railing…”Mom! I can’t see out!” ha! The cold has taken it’s toll too, a few minutes outside for Groot and Gamora is enough, Rocket seems to be lacking nerve sensors;) I keep him out a bit longer to wear off that excess energy! Mike has kept the woodstove going full tilt except for quick clean outs, everyone has enjoyed that;)

So here we are, three quarters of the way through January…how much longer does Winter go on for they ask? They have spent a great deal of time looking out the windows. We have had quite a few visitors as well, not the human variety but the lovely forest type:) Gamora running back and forth from window to window usually alerts me to something going on out there, she is a daytime girl while the other two loafs sleep. The local fox has been active at the compost pile, I try to separate the good bits for him/her, so fluffy, hard to tell! The cats smelled her in the alcove yesterday and Groot spent the morning growling at everything he came upon outside…his territory, no foxes he says!

She was stalking a black squirrel half heartedly, not much effort on the stalking bit but she may have filled up earlier! Last week Rocket saw her sunbathing on some rocks after she had wandered by in the morning and he gave chase…little sh*t…what was he thinking? He probably outweighs her by a few pounds but had my heart racing as I crashed through the bush down to the lake following him, following her, her legs are much longer, lost him by the neighbours…I got my exercise. Rocket looked quite pleased with himself chasing away the other red head, or he simply wanted to chat her up, no raccoons around to befriend:) Some people have dogs, I have an attack cat;) He’s pretty sure he could take down the fawn as well….

At least that is what he keeps telling me, he did run into them outside the other day as they approached the feeder and his neck grew like a giraffes…he wasn’t so sure then, I had no idea his neck could get that long! Ha! When we start hitting these horrible lows of -30’s° I don’t mind giving these two a bit of corn to keep them warm. After hunting season they are the only two regulars about, a mother and this years fawn. Those fluffy ears and long eyelashes are so beautiful! They were pretty hungry, the bolder they are, the more their stomachs are growling, they would stand their ground this week, or only move off 30 feet if we went out, even when we started the truck so the corn is there for them!

The energy they use just getting through the deep snow would be significant. I see baby jumped across the lake, couldn’t walk, you could see their prints coming from the other side. Now THAT is work!

The best CTV ( Cat TV) is simply looking out the sliding glass door. I always leave an offering to the squirrel gods there;) It’s been frozen shut most of the week but I managed to get it open yesterday with liberal application of the hair dryer on full…ah, Canada:) Hair dryers should come with defrost times printed on the box!

♫♪♫ I want my CTV! ♪♫♪

I swear this gang of black squirrels are the local mafia, there are about nine of them, shaking down chipmunks and red squirrels for seed. Terrorizing the chickadees, this morning they took the threat to a new level and pushed my blue pitcher off the outside picnic table, breaking it, “Fill it up or else lady!”…I get the hint! I did feel bad in that snow storm for them, they all reappeared the next morning looking as confused as the cats as why they couldn’t just march across the snow!

We’ve kept the feeders full, especially in the cold, it is amazing how the level of consumption is correlated with the cold! Feeders I fill every few days, or once a week are being emptied during the daylight hours. We have our cast of regulars, and some newbies showed up a few days ago-Pine Grosbeaks- we are on the southern tip of their range! Such beautiful delicate colours!

I’ve tried to keep the woodpeckers in the fashion to which they have become accustomed, homemade suet in several feeders:) They are by far the crankiest birds right now. I see a lot of territorial displays between both male and females, maybe last years kids are being told to get a job and move out!

Mrs. Red-Bellied has been quite scarce since the record lows hit, still no sign of the Mr. Maybe he will appear later in the Spring perhaps he’s a long distance Woodpecker, flying the trade routes;) The Pileated has made a few brief appearances but not like last year, I think that one was a juvenile male making it alone in the wide wide world with the help of the suet feeder!

Mr. Pileated Woodpecker

Then there are the bazillion Goldfinches, I swear it’s true, I gave up counting yesterday….Between them and the Black Capped Chickadees they rule here in sheer numbers! They are very co-operative models but it’s been so cold, after about 15 minutes I’m ready to head back inside! They have been pretty puffed up as well! They truly have great down coats, I may need an upgrade next year…if we’re here;) I’ve heard more Baja rumblings as Mike has battled keeping the stove going, kind of like A Christmas Story’s father battling the furnace in the basement, the new level and the configuration of swear words and obscenities in multiple languages has been astonishing (The old man fights a never-ending battle with the malfunctioning furnace in the Parker home. His frustrations cause him to swear quite often, including one profanity-laden rant (heard as gibberish) that the adult Ralphie says “is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.) some of you will know what I mean;) I want to cover the cat’s ears at times;)

After the black squirrel mafia tipped my pretty blue pitcher off the table and smashing it into many pieces in a fit of rage for it being empty, I got the hint, keeping a different one full now, and I have invested a whole $2 in some newly acquired heart mugs and dishes to spice up our January/February season! Does it keep me out of trouble? Mostly;)

“Come here often?”…and other awkward interspecies questions…😉
“Ya know Verne, she puts on a pretty good spread for a human!”
“Try a dried mealworm dear! They are delicious!”

It’s nice when they all get along, sometimes though three IS a crowd;)

“Three can be a crowd!”

Between these guys, a few days helping at the barn (that kind of cold calls for help! Remembering frozen water buckets that soak you when you try to bash the ice out? Ha!) and shoveling it has been a mostly inside kind of time. Another good dump of snow and the canoe and bench will disappear altogether! Let’s hope we don’t get that. One record snow fall in a season is sufficient thank you! Not to mention those temperatures….Just not something you want to see on the thermometer every morning:)

I am beginning to believe Weather Canada’s “extreme cold” warnings! In the meantime, we have cats to amuse us, food to eat, wine to drink…good company all the way round and we’ll wait with some patience, ok, impatiently for the cold to break when we can go outside and not think “this sucks”….:) and hopefully no more -50,000° weather as a friend put…it was a perfect way to describe how I felt! And just one last thing, bacteria farts…it’s a thing…before the snow covered up the lake there were large white bubbles in the ice everywhere. They are created in lakes and ponds when water-dwelling bacteria feed on decaying organic matter and expel methane gas. When the water freezes, the bubbles are suspended in the ice. Methane Bubbles! Bacteria farts! Need to work on a 3D version of this, it looks flat here but looking through the many inches of ice are so many different layers of bubbles! Very cool!

I’ve had a lot of time to google things;) Not just any farts;) Stay warm my friends! Saludos y abrazos!

Way back when we could SEE the little red canoe! 10 days ago…..

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