Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Winter That Wasn't!









If you're from the Central/Northern New York area you're probably wondering what happened to winter? Well, it's not over yet, and around here you never know what to expect.










We started off in October with a bang of a snowstorm, that melted. Got some more snow in November and that never made it to Christmas, and then another little snow about two weeks ago. And now that's all gone, too. As a matter of fact we just have a couple of little snow piles around here and there. Most of the snow is gone from the fields.

Our neighbors' (Sam & Nancy Weber) farm from their back field.


Of course I'm not complaining, but I feel sorry for those that love their winter sports of downhill & cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and photographing beautiful winter scenes. The snowmobile trails around our house were opened for a few days and then they had to close them for lack of snow. The ski slopes can not make snow when the temperatures are above freezing so there is not much of a base and they are lucky if even half of their trails are open.



It certainly must be an easy winter for the deer to get around. When we did have snow on the ground, my husband noticed several areas in our back yard where the deer had bedded down.



We've noticed several hawks, osprey and eagles in the area. As long as they can get food they will stay in the area. Same for some of the other smaller bird species. We've had Goldfinches that were around most of the winter.

Goldfinch (Male) in their winter plumage. They are much duller than they are in the spring/summer.


A frequent visitor for us this year has been the Tufted Titmouse. This was a surprise to me because we have seen them on occasion in the past, but they never stuck around. They would peck at some food at the feeder and you would never see them again, but this winter they've been around since fall.

Tufted Titmouse


We've also had some Purple Finches and House Finches visit the feeders. Last year we had the Red Polls visit, but they didn't stick around and I haven't seen any this year yet.

Purple Finch - Male


Top to bottom: Tree Sparrow, Chickadee, Purple Finch (female on left, male on right)


The woodpeckers have been feasting on the suet. We have the Hairy, Downy, and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers. We can hear the Pileated Woodpecker in the back woods, but he hasn't made an appearance yet. I have not known them to visit suet feeders too often so I don't expect to see them at the feeders, but they do like dead trees and we have a few of those in our yard for them to build nests in.

Red-bellied Woodpecker - Female 
We are expecting some very cold temperatures this coming weekend (Feb 13-14, 2016) and what concerns me is that with the lack of snow cover, which helps insulate your plants in winter, you might find that some of your tender perennials might not make it through to the spring. As a matter of fact, yesterday I found one of my purple primroses blooming in the backyard. They love the cold temperatures and will bloom in the early spring and then also may re-bloom in the fall. The cold temperatures won't bother some of your plants like the primroses and also if some of your spring bulbs have already started to show up.

Purple Primroses blooming in February 2016. 


Are we going to have an early spring? I'm thinking that we probably will. A friend of mine that lives closer to Syracuse has already had Robins and Redwing Blackbirds in her backyard. If you have any birdhouses around your place now is a good time to clean them out. Some of the male birds that migrate usually return first before the females and look for suitable nest building sites.



If you like to try your hand at starting your own seedlings now is the time to order or purchase your seeds. I usually don't plant many seedlings. I really don't have the room for them. It's much easier for me to purchase the plants from the nurseries in the spring. I have started perennial and annual seeds right in the ground in the spring after the ground warms up and the danger of a frost has passed. Don't start them too early or a late frost will kill them after they start to sprout. Some annual seeds take a long time to germinate so those wouldn't be feasible to start outdoors in this area. Check the package for the length of germination and the also how long before the first blooms appear.



Now that the days are getting longer, and there's not much snow around, I'm getting excited about spring. It won't be long now. Time to get all those indoor projects done that you haven't gotten around to yet. Once that nice weather comes you won't want to be inside!



"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again."
~ Lewis Carroll 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass



Thanks for stopping by. 
Feel free to leave a comment.

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures and very nice writing. I enjoy your blog Sue. Good work. Keep it up....

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    1. Thanks so much, Martha. I really appreciate it.

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  2. Always fun to look and to read...love the Amish picture of the hay wagon and gosh that woodpecker what a nice clear shot - just love visiting NY thru your eyes...oh and love your snowman bird feeder - was surprised you didn't tell us what you made that out of?

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    1. Thank you, Carol. I'm glad you liked it. Ted took the photo of the Amish hay wagon. You can always hear them coming down our road because the metal wheels make so much noise.
      We've had a lot of fun taking pictures of the birds over the years. The snowman bird feeder was a Christmas gift I got for Ted and the birds love it (got it from Walmart).

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  3. Beautiful scenery and photos, especially that first one, Sue. We too have had less snow, although we got a few inches today. This weekend is headed to 0° so who knows what lies ahead. It does not feel like spring this week. You are keeping busy with your bird visitors. Nice to see the variety.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. My husband took the first photo of our Amish neighbors riding past our house. We have several Amish families in our neighborhood now, and they have also recently built another Amish school about 1/2 mile from us.
      We did get some snow last Thursday and I was glad of that to help protect our plants during this past weekend's very cold below 0 temperatures. Yes, I'm enjoying our different bird visitors this year. And I can't help but think if it's because of climate change that we're seeing different bird species.

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  4. so nice Sue! guess winter is being good to you both? Nice pictures. Be in touch. Linda

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    1. Thanks, Linda. So far the winter hasn't been too bad, but we got some snow last week and it's a good thing because we got below 0 temperatures over the weekend. I'm glad for the snow because it helps to protect the plants during a heavy, deep freeze like that. Crazy weather though. They're calling for maybe ice tomorrow night, but then higher above freezing temperatures next weekend. Take care and it was good to hear from you.

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  5. Wow you have had less snow than us....and luckily we got snow again. Seems we are up to 7 feet now...although there is only 3 ft now....with the frigid air, I was glad for snow. I see you got snow too finally! Now what will happen. They are calling for ice Tuesday. Yikes!

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    1. Yes, I'm glad we got that snow last week to protect the plants from the Arctic freeze we went through this weekend. Watertown, NY was the coldest place in the US on Saturday. I didn't bother going out, but took lots of photos of the birds from inside.
      Who knows what's going to happen next- yes, maybe ice tomorrow, and then it's supposed to get above freezing next weekend.

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  6. Your photographs of the winter birds are lovely Sue and I especially love the first photograph, which was captured so beautifully! It has been an unusual winter here on Long Island as well. We are following a similar trend with mild temperatures all the way up until the end of January, then winter arriving suddenly bringing 22 inches of snow. There were three more storms after that, but if you look outside here today it is 55 degrees and looking like spring...never know what is coming next!

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    1. Thank you, Lee. Yes, we're still getting crazy weather here. I think you might have had more snow than us this year. We have had some pleasant days and I've really enjoyed them. You can just feel and smell the spring air. And when the sun is out that is an added joy.
      Now I think we might get another round of rain or snow in the next few days. Hopefully it will clear out by the weekend.

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  7. Sue, beautiful photos and post! I just LOVE that Lewis Carroll quote!

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    1. Thank you, Ann. I'm glad you liked it!

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