Snow Days

An unhappy cardinal surveys the sleet/snow accumulation on the deck railing.

An unhappy cardinal surveys the sleet/snow accumulation on the deck railing as snow continues to fall.

The forecasters predicted my area could receive as much as 6-8 inches of dry snow on January 7, but warm air pushed up from the south, so we ended up with 2.5 inches of sleet and 0.5 inch of snow on top. Normally, this would have disappeared in a day or two, but this time the frozen precipitation was accompanied by record cold. With ice covering the ground at my house, our thermometer registered 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit one morning, and 7 degrees the next morning. Nighttime lows “warmed’ into the teens after that.

After the snow stopped, hungry birds bided their time on nearby bushes, waiting for their turns at the feeders.

After the snow stopped, hungry birds bided their time on nearby bushes, waiting for their turns at the feeders.

Snow plows concentrated on highways; my small road didn’t get plowed until January 10, and again several times on January 11. Wonder Spouse and I stayed home, enjoying the slowed pace of snow days, and entertained by the crazy drivers navigating our hilly road covered by a sheet of ice that had even 4-wheel-drive vehicles sliding precariously.

By late afternoon on January 7, the snow was plaguing Virginia and clouds opened to glimpses of blue skies.

By late afternoon on January 7, the snow was plaguing Virginia and clouds opened to glimpses of blue skies.

Wonder Spouse conducted business as usual via conference calls and computer links. I spent most of my time alternating between reading and wandering around the yard taking photographs. Hence, the rest of this post is mostly photos of a snowy landscape that melted in two days when 60-degree temperatures arrived on January 11.

January 8th dawned at 3.5 degrees, and the thermometer never rose above 26 degrees. I stayed indoors; this southerner is not adapted for such temperatures. It “warmed” to the low 30s on January 9, and the mid-30s on January 10, so I ventured out several times for photos.

I had not seen deer during daylight hours in my yard for several months — until the snow fell. A herd of five braved broad daylight to forage beneath the feeders several times each day.

I enjoyed attempting to parse the tales told by myriad tracks left in the snow. I’ve no idea how one discerns between tiny bird feet. Deer prints were numerous, complete with skid marks on the hills when they punched into the solid layer of sleet lurking just below the veneer of snow on top.

 

The growing beaver pond and wetland on the other side of our creek was bedazzled by ice during the arctic blast.

We were treated to a spectacular sunrise the next day.

Warm sky colors belied the frigid air temperature.

Warm sky colors belied the frigid air temperature.

I walked out to survey the road at the end of our driveway.

Sunset on January 10 was so vivid that even my southeast-facing view of our floodplain was highlighted by a pink evening sky, which appeared just as a nearly full moon climbed through the trees.

Finally on January 11, warm southern air surged in, and the great melting began, as you can see by the slumping ice on the solar panels on our roof.

Despite bright sun, our panels were unable to generate any power until the ice finally slid off them.

Despite bright sun, our panels were unable to generate any power until the ice finally slid off them.

My final shot is blurry, but I could not resist the power of that almost-full moon, as it admired its reflection in the melting creek waters.

Warm blessings to all those currently winter-bound.

Warm blessings to all those currently winter-bound.

  1. #1 by carolnewnam on January 16, 2017 - 7:24 pm

    Your photos are wonderful. Living around the corner from you, I knew exactly what you were experiencing. Walking several times a day to check on the chickens, I too tried to figure out what animal made the tracks in the snow.

    • #2 by piedmontgardener on January 16, 2017 - 8:03 pm

      Thanks, Carol! Yes, it was quite a week. It almost seems like a dream, now that all has become mud. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. #3 by Meredith on January 17, 2017 - 6:04 pm

    I enjoyed your photos!

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