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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spring harbingers

When we put the horses in last night it was -12F (-24C) and the wind was picking up pushing the windchill to painful limits. When I woke up this morning (no, this is not the opening lyric of a blues song) the wind had done its job and driven the predawn temperature to -25F (-32C). It's friggin' March for god's sake! At least the wind had died down and the dog lasted for about two minutes before attempting to walk on some combination of three legs. Put the dog back in and went with Stitch to let the horses out of the barn. It was 0F (-17C) in the barn and their noses were a bit frosty, but the sun was coming up and would give them some comfort.

BUT, there was a definite harbinger of spring yesterday! I know, if there are no pics it didn't happen. Well, guess what? I grabbed a couple of quick shots just to prove it. The ravens are starting to build their nests and already looking for and finding insulation. Our mare, Vedas starts to shed about the first of the year and is now blowing her coat. The ravens know this after years of observation and decided to take advantage of the situation while keeping their feet warm at the same time.
I apologize for the picture quality as I didn't have a long lens and I was in a hurry, but you can get the basic gist of what was going on. So now we have  documented evidence of another symbiotic relationship between species. Not that I haven't seen horse hair in bird's nests, but this is the first time I have seen them take it directly from the horse with the horse's approval. ("My name is Vedas and I approve this evidence.")

The big lake has nearly frozen entirely which doesn't happen very often. This is what it looks like on the way to work.
I like the way the Mountain Ash berries stay so red. They are a food source for a lot of birds, but I have never tried one. At these temperatures I would probably break a tooth if I did.
A few days ago it warmed up enough to snow. When I got to work it looked like icing on a cake when I looked up at the hills across highway 61. The humidity had made things a bit frosty to add to the effect.
But all good things must come to an end. By the end of this week it might warm up to freezing and the melting process will begin. Will we have epic flooding or will it be a gradual melting, refreezing, more snowing, occasional raining kind of spring? I would guess the latter, but I'm not in charge so I guess we'll just have to wait and see. 



18 comments:

Pixel Peeper said...

A pre-dawn temperature of -25ยบ a harbinger of spring...oh my, I'm so glad right now I'm in Florida.

(Check back with me in August on my thoughts and feelings then)

The hardest thing about the end of winter morphing into spring is that it never is a straight line. There are always some wonderful, gloriously warm and sunny days that make your heart sing...and then the St. Patrick's Day blizzard happens.

Stay warm!

jenny_o said...

Yes, it's March but it's only the SECOND DAY :)

It's neat that the ravens are collecting hair straight from the horse. Do you think she enjoys having it picked off? When our cats are shedding they love to be brushed.

Tom Sightings said...

Okay, after reading your post, I am not going to complain about our relatively balmy +20 degree F temperature this morning, even tho' "It's friggin' March for god's sake!" P.S. Love the pics of the ravens.

Missed Periods said...

You caught the ravens in the act! Have you ever thought about becoming a private investigator.

Missed Periods said...

Can you please mentally replace the period with a question mark in the second sentence of my previous comment? Thanks!

Jono said...

PP, You're right about the straight line. It can change drastically in a day.

jenny-o, I think she does enjoy it. If she has an itchy spot she will point to it with her nose. She has trained us well.

Tom, We were in shirt sleeves the last time it got to 20.

MP, I have always tried to fly under the radar and I can always correct punctuation in my head. If you ever need a proofreader I am still free. For punctuation I would always rely on your judgement, though.

Vicki said...

We have had the mildest winter...I think average temps would be in the plus and this little town in the north has had no real snow since Xmas....hardly any ice around now...very different to last year.

idratherbeiniceland said...

I can confirm that mild winters lead to crap summers...

Jono said...

Vicki, and you're much closer to the Arctic Circle than me. Thanks for all the cool videos, btw.

irbii, then I am due for a nice one. Had a boreal owl on the bird feeder this morning!

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

I love the photos of the ravens on the horse! I have a little wren's nest that I saved from my mother's barn from years ago. It was made mostly of the mane and/or tail of her old horse.
Stay warm, Jono!

Mr. Charleston said...

Makes me shiver just looking at these photos. Can't believe the horses are shedding at its -17.

Jono said...

Dawn, any nests I find around the farm have someone's hair in them. Can't be mine, though. It fell out long ago.

Mr.C, shedding is triggered more by photoperiod than conditions, but they are still plenty warm.

Vagabonde said...

These are real neat pictures of the ravens on the horses back – I have never seen that before. Your snow pictures are also beautiful. We have had some snow but it is long gone and our weather has been going from 70 F back to 45F then back again – yesterday I saw some trees all in bloom though.

Agi Tater said...

Beautiful photos. It's too warm here, too cold there. The snow is melting so fast that our neighbor was pumping water out of his basement last week. The local ski resorts aren't happy ...

Jono said...

Vagabonde, I had never seen them actually on the horse either!

AT, Another strange winter for the books.

Ahab said...

Vedas must be a very patient mare if she lets ravens walk all over her back. Fortunately, the baby ravens will have a warm nest thanks to Vedas' loose hairs.

Jono said...

Ahab, She is quite patient which is a breed quality and makes them so good for therapeutic riding programs.

Sioux said...

Jono--You had me with "Shat."

And thanks for the offer, but I don't imagine any man would want to read my story. However, if it ever gets published, I will be glad to send you a free copy...and then you can decide for yourself.