This week, the first week of March, it snowed again. We got 8.5 inches, the #5 one-day snowfall total of all time for Evansville. It began with heavy rain on Wednesday morning, followed by a little sleet, and then thick snow. It was beautiful.
And it created some interesting snow sculptures in my back yard.
It snowed all night. The next morning the city was quiet under its blanket of snow. Here’s what 8.5 inches looks like:
I shoveled walks and then went skiing along the levee.
I’ve been grateful to have access to a 4-wheel drive vehicle, which greatly expands my potential skiing sites. It was bitterly cold after the snow, which meant that I got another nice day of skiing on Friday. I decided to try a short stretch of a levee close to the neighboring town of Newburgh. It was also very pleasant, and I saw the tracks of one other cross country skier.
It was remarkable enough that we had over six inches of snow in Evansville. What was even more remarkable? That the snow we got was *perfect* for skiing.
Most unusual was that the snow didn’t start as rain switching to snow. That meant that there wasn’t the customary inch-thick layer of slush under the snow’s surface to attach itself to my skis in globs and stop all forward momentum. And it was bitterly cold with wind chills below zero, so the snow was crisp and not half melty.
I was out skiing five days in a row and took my camera each day. The Evansville riverfront and the nearby levee protecting the downtown area were a beautiful setting and are not far from my house. I’ve heard that Evansville is one of very few large cities that are on a river but don’t have a city across the river from them, so the view from the downtown is special.
I like the way that my photos capture the different stages of the snowstorm and its aftermath. There’s the gray on gray with the snow still falling, the clearing/clouding before the blast of cold, the crystal clear and bitterly cold and windy arctic blast, the return of snow, and the return of clouds that portended freezing rain and the end of my skiing.
It all began with a Cooper’s hawk. He sat in the magnolia just 25 feet from the bird feeders for over an hour. The sweet cardinal couple let their anger be known–they wanted breakfast. The clouds of goldfinches and juncos were nowhere to be seen. I wasn’t sure who I hoped would be fed: the small birds or the hawk. Snow began to build up on the hawk’s head and beak. And the snow kept coming down.
By the end of the day, we had around 6 inches of snow. Driving was a nightmare, but the world was beautiful and white, for a change.
Schools were closed. I got to go cross country skiing. Tuesday was much the same. Wednesday we got more snow. Thursday the roads were still bad. John and I walked to work. It was hard to stay focused during snow days, especially with no other staff reporting in.
Friday, some of the normal routines started to return. It had been a very strange week. And then the ice storm began. It, too, was both beautiful and treacherous. We got over an inch of rain/freezing rain/snow/sleet by noon Saturday.
I’d been planning to spend Saturday enjoying the splendor of an icy world, but the world had other plans for me. John awoke at 5:00 am on Saturday morning to feed the cat breakfast (or, rather, the cat woke him up demanding breakfast at 5:00 am) and discovered that a recently repaired roof section was leaking and a section of the ceiling had fallen in.
The ceiling has been weeping ever since. I hope that it continues to quietly cry to itself and does nothing more. Half asleep, we cleaned up. I spent the day taking photos of ice formations, shoveling slush from our walks, and sitting with the cat in his warm upstairs fortress.
This time around, the ice made particularly interesting and beautiful patterns on the trees. Even after it had melted off of the branches, it remained as a silvery, grainy, bubbly casing on the trunks. A post on Facebook tipped me off to the fact that you could watch water droplets slide down the trunk under the ice. The droplets on our trees were subtle and very peaceful. I made some videos (plus you can hear the birds and wind chimes in the background).
Plants that are dormant or dead. No snow. No ice.
My seed order has arrived and the packets are tucked away for at least another month. It will be even more time before the abundant goldfinches at my feeders begin to add color to their feathers.
My garden is quiet, and it’s been a challenge to find something new or interesting to share.
But I’ve noticed the sunrises and sunsets have been particularly beautiful. The thin, cold air and the lack of color from the trees highlight the skies. Frosty sunrises I catch while eating breakfast with my cat. However, I’ve seen the most brilliant sunsets without my camera while I’ve been driving across the city.
The cold winds are blowing ever onward. We had another blast of very cold air last week and I noticed a particularly large flock of birds eating at my feeders. In this photo, I think I can see about 50 goldfinches plus a couple juncos eating seeds off our side porch and from the thistle feeder in the background (click the image for a larger photo and you can try to count them yourself). I resorted to spilling seeds on the porch just to have enough area to feed them all.
While it’s been cold, we’ve only had periodic dustings of snow–just enough to show the critters’ comings and goings around our house. I’ve been on the lookout for raccoon tracks, but (thankfully) haven’t seen any. There have been plenty of tracks from a couple marauding cats and, of course, all the birds.
There is beauty in my brown garden.
This year I left the dry astrilbe seed heads and I like their addition to my winter garden along with the dried hydrangea flowers and assorted leaves still clinging to plants.
All the wind in the bare trees has kept my wind chimes in motion. It’s even been enough to activate the little bells that are part of the tree jewelry I made last summer. I got a new chime for Christmas and I’m experimenting to find out where to put it so it will ring. So far I haven’t heard it, so I’ll have to keep working on it. It sure looks nice, though.
Life isn’t only shades of brown, though. Inside my house I’ve got four orchids in bloom and one working its way toward a bloom.
I’m sorry, Evansville, but your February and early March are really not flattering at all. What’s worse, this year it’s stayed cold for extra long, so the grey, brown days feel like they’re dragging on endlessly.
My crocuses have provided some small glimmers of hope, as have the hellebores and now some daffodils, but still, there’s only so much of this that I can take!
A couple weekends ago it was almost warm, so I tended my container garden and planted lettuces and peas. I also started a few more things in the greenhouse. Hopefully they will be ready to go out by the time weather is nice and not sooner.
I’m also getting ready for an art show in Jasper, Indiana, so while I’ve got a bunch of garden photos building up, I don’t have much time to write about them in an extended blog entry. Instead, I’ll leave you with a slide show of the recent happenings in my garden.