We took this picture a few days ago as temperatures plunged in our area of the world. We live in the south, so cold here is relative...someone from Barrow, Alaska with 65 days of arctic night when the sun does not rise, would term us balmy and bright!
However, we have dipped into the teens and have stayed at freezing for the past few days, and the windchill on our lake has been sobering. Winter is here...
We have one cat, Legba, who moved himself out last summer to be an outside cat, despite our preferring to have him inside. He is in, this week. I got him yesterday when the cold finally made even his independent heart rethink being an outside dweller. He is in good shape, his weight is good and he obviously is thriving. He is restless even now, but he is simply going to have to tough out being an indoor cat until the weather improves a bit!
We ran the fireplace all day yesterday keeping the house warmer. Yet fall and winter remain my favorite time of year, for the beauty of the world and the fall colors and the blue skies. The constellation Orion rides the night sky, and the mountains beyond our lake are so clear you feel as though you could reach out and touch them.
Down by us on the lake in the little cove that is just above our house, there are seagulls that are wintering there that appear to be about a hundred in number at a very rough guess...in no way do they hold still enough to count! Its an estimate based on how many were sitting on the water and then roughly how many were circling out beyond. We are about 200 - 300 miles from the coast, so it is a little startling to see them here. and they were all swooping and diving - fishing in the lake (this was at and 27 degrees out). They appear to be happy and thriving. Last week, I got to watch a redtail hawk dive on the seagulls looking for HIS breakfast! The hawk missed, which was a little sad for the hawk, but cool for the seagull. But I stood there (frozen) with my jaw hanging open at getting to see that perfect instant. Its amazing that the seagulls and the redtails are here - it's fricking cold out there!
Also, yesterday I observed a small colony of ducks nearer to shore, though I was not close enough to I.D. species. My observation spot is by a tree above the lake at the top of a very VERY steep rolling down slope to the lake edge - there is no beach to speak of. If this was a cliff edge above the lake, instead of a slope, it would constitute about a 30 to 40 foot drop. To get really clear pictures, I am eventually going to have to navigate the scrub and broken ground down the slope to the verge to get close enough for decent photography. I will eventually try this - WITHOUT MacDhu the ADHD wonder dog bounding treacherously around my ankles on his leash I might add! My final exciting bird siting was about 3 days ago - I saw a Blue Heron come in and land on the bank far below me and settle in. My initial thought was that it was a Blue, and then I looked up the breed, confirming what I had seen. Including a picture of one - not one that I took, alas. I doubt it would let me get close enough for a decent shot, unless I was already in position!
My other hesitation in scrambling down that slope is that it is currently about 21 degrees out there - it will not break the freezing mark to day - and we have lake effect wind howling down the valley. So windchill is in the teens. I think it's gonna have to be a little warmer for me to venture down the hill with a camera at this point. The wind is an issue. It would be difficult to hold the camera steady, and I have no doubt, I would shortly be able to add my shivering to unwanted camera motion!
So...life thrives even in the cold and chill. When I manage some pictures, I will post them. May you all stay warm and safe, with hot chocolate and good blankets, as we pass through the cold this season.