The snow is slowly melting as we transition into spring. This comes as relief to those who have to live and work in challenging conditions. It also reminds me of something.
As the snow and ice recede, it reveals an old friend. I am always surprised at how high the roads are in comparison to the ditches. I keep our driveway and yard pretty clean during the winter however there is always some accumulation. The snow on the road is hard now and melts slowly whereas the transition area from road to ditch is already melted so it really shows the accumulation on the roads. As that hard-packed snow slowly disappears, I can see gravel which is something I’ve seen little since last fall. It’s a nice reunion.
I have not seen such congested forest area since the winter of 96-97. I have consistently observed drifts up to eight feet tall on the edge of the woods. The rabbits in the area have never seen trees from this perspective as they hop along just above the line of birdhouses and feeders. It is so odd to tilt your head to the same angle as used during bird-watching as when you watch rabbits. Anyway, that snow is now receding and it’s good to see the base of the trees and rabbits living at their proper altitude.
Bird-feeding around here is not based on need, what I mean is I don’t wait for every speck of food to be eaten prior to providing more. The snow will cover food up and sunflowers that are pulled out of a feeder may not be recycled by the ground feeders. For these reasons, our birds and rabbits are on full feed-I fill feeders at least every other day during the worst of winter. I figure that as the snow melts, any excess food will reappear and some will be edible to either the birds, the rabbits or the squirrels. By the way, I purchase scratch feed for chickens to leave in little piles on the ground, it’s less expensive than bird food and doesn’t contain any millet which the wildlife seem to waste.
As temperatures increase, sleeping wildlife awakes. The drifts in our back yard have been about six inches higher than the bottom of the first-floor windows. This has allowed Lisa and I a fantastic view of the raccoons and rabbits as the come up from the river or woods for food. Raccoons are the party boys of the animal world-they obviously revel in the food and water and leave an incredible mess. Our food and water dishes are heated, it’s the best way to keep everything palatable. Lisa noticed the other day the the raccoons are standing in the heated water bowl while they eat. I guess everyone likes warm feet however it requires that I wash the bowl out daily. Our new stray cat drinks from the raccoon foot bath so I want her to get a nice, clean drink.
The snow melt and transition to springs manifests themselves in many ways. These actions do remind me of something more than just the fact winter is over. They remind me I am alive.