A Farewell to Snow

Miserable cardinal

It started suddenly and at a faster rate than I’ve ever seen. Within an hour, several inches of the white stuff coated every surface. This confused cardinal is sitting on top of the bird bath attached to my deck railing. Poor guy.

snow hawk

All the birds seemed as surprised as the humans who got stuck in massive traffic jams in my state. This Red-Shouldered Hawk had been patrolling the floodplain and calling to his mate. For the longest time after the snow started mid-day last Wednesday, he just sat on that branch, as if he didn’t quite know what to do.

freezing rain icicles

 

By late afternoon, the snow changed over to sleet, then freezing rain, as evidenced by the small icicles dangling from the deck rail. This was fingernail-biting time. Would the icing stop before enough accumulated to pull down trees and power lines?

almost 1pm Thursday

My suet feeders have never been as popular as they were during the ice storm. It was every bird for itself out there.

feeding frenzy

 

Fortunately for us, the sleet/freezing rain stopped late in the afternoon before power outages were widespread in North Carolina. I gather that parts of Georgia and South Carolina were not as fortunate. My condolences to the powerless. The birds used the lull in the storm action to fuel up, as if they knew this was but Round Two of a three-part storm system.

after rain and before last snow

 

Thursday morning dawned dark and icy. Soon the last round of heavy snow would begin. We got six inches on Wednesday. We were warned that 3-4 more inches would collect on top of ice-covered surfaces. It hit hard and fast again.

final round of snow

 

Snowflakes instantly clung to every icy surface they encountered, making for a spectacular display.

snow clung to icy surfaces

 

Even ice-covered tree trunks used the snowfall to dress in their wintry best.

Friday sunshine

 

But the weather seers were wrong, thank goodness. We only got about another inch or so before the snow headed north. Friday morning brought sunshine and the beginning of melting. Branches were bare of ice and snow by later afternoon that day.

Despite temperatures in the low 60s during the day, you can still find piles of snow on the shady sides of roads and forming mountains in parking lots. My yard is a study in microenvironmental variability. The cold north-facing side that backs up to tall cedars is still covered in an unbroken blanket of white — thinner than it once was, but still slippery.

Warm rains and above-freezing nighttime temperatures should rid us of the last remnants soon. And just in time. All my vegetable and flower seeds have arrived in the mail. It’s past time to set up the greenhouse for spring sowings of greens and peppers, along with the flowers that take longer to grow to transplanting size. I’m off to plan and prioritize, eager to get seeds in potting soil.

But I must wait to prepare the beds in the vegetable area. They are still covered by lingering snow. I’ll share what varieties I’m trying this year in another post soon.

 

 

 

 

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