More Bossy Birds & The Fine Art of Snow Shoveling in Fawnskin

Above: Steller Jays are bossing me now.

The one thing about the tube feeder is that it is safe from the squirrels and the Steller jays. It is strategically hung so that the squirrels cannot jump or stretch to get it nor can they drop down from a branch and thieve either. The Stellers are too big to use the perches. Many spend lots of time attempting to flutter up and grab a seed or two–too much work.

Anyway, I heard a jay and went out to investigate. One was hunkered down in the tree while the other screeched in frustration. So, taking pity on the guy–I knocked off the snow on the railing and scattered some seed on it. At the moment he is snacking, but if I head out to take a snap, he flies away.

Must not be the one that perches on my rocker and peers into the window. When that guy can’t see me, and the door is open, he perches on top of my storage shed to search me out.

Funny, I have an admirer from the avian clan.

Above: Ice is beginning to form on Grout Bay.

Today I noticed that the ice is beginning to form on the surface of Grout Bay. The mud hens are out but the skies are pretty clear otherwise. It has been snowing most of the day and the only stirrings I hear from the birds are from admist the trees.

Above: The vintage bird feeder that now sits empty because of the renegade squirrel.

I usually wait to shovel out but HM is heading over later today and I hate ice on the stairs. Besides, the snow has been piling up that you can hardly see them. At least the stuff is light and fluffy.

A few years ago I wrote a piece called The Mountain Folks Guide to Winter. A funny but educational piece for newbies to the mountains. I won’t reprint it here but here is what I’ve learned about snow shoveling over the years:

  • Have a good shovel made for snow specifically–it makes life easier.
  • Have a good solid old fashioned shovel to cut and slice those nice berms our pals leave blocking our driveways and paths.
  • Move snow downhill or off to the side, if you don’t, when it melts, it will create one heck of an ice blanket.
  • Don’t forget to clear stair railings, bushes, or tree limbs above pathways–the snow on the railings will fall onto the stairs and the other stuff might fall on top of you–leaving you looking like a snowman.
  • If the snow stops and the sun comes out, make sure you get shoveling because if the stuff starts to melt it gets heavier.
  • Corallary to above: Don’t be lazy, if you wait to shovel and leave it for the next day, the freezing temperatures make you wish you had shoveled previously and you’ll find yourself using words in your vocabulary that probably shouldn’t be there.
  • Snow blowers are awesome for parking pads but make sure your friends don’t tromp through the snow first because packed snow can clog the blower…do we hate visitors who drive in and pack down the snow in snow filled driveways?
  • Get out early with the blower if you live in a place where there is wind–otherwise you end up covered with snow from the blower. OR strategically blow so the wind helps not hinders you.
  • Leaving some snow on walking surfaces can be useful for safety if there is already a slight melt.
  • Salting or using snow melt on stairs where ice forms pays off with less risk.
  • Make sure you clear off any overhangs or decks–especially if you are active below them–otherwise the melt becomes an ice pond.
  • Help your neighbors. It is a good time to be social and the work goes by quickly.
  • Be nice to the operators of the snow plows and cinder trucks, hot cocoa and coffee might make you a friend…and you KNOW you don’t want to piss them off!

Above: Some of the 44 Stairs before the shoveling–so much fun especially up hill!

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