We’re in the heart of Winter, but Winter does not have my heart … of that you can be sure.
Oh… some of the songs might make you wistful for Winter’s beauty on a snowy night, like Gordon Lightfoot’s pensive “Song For A Winter’s Night” which has always been a personal favorite of mine.
And … the traditional Christmas songs paint a pretty picture of the snow:
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” … Nipping at your nose? That’s a polite word for freezing your nose off, especially with our forecast slated for Tuesday and Wednesday when we will dip to below -3F (-19C), and a wind chill of -30F (-34C).
“Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, over the fields we go, laughing all the way.” … Laughing is not the description I’d use to describe the commuters, the outside workers and the shovellers, who will deal with the nearly half-foot of snow coming our way tomorrow. And did anyone ever ask the horses if they enjoy traipsing in the snow when they could be munching hay in the warm barn? Just sayin’.
Even the merry little snow globe; it’s pretty to watch the flakes floating down … turn it the other way and the flakes are gone. If only it was that easy for the snow to disappear.
The Currier and Ives prints on our Christmas cards also paint a pretty picture of the snow and Winter … but, I still don’t embrace this season, and am counting the days until Spring’s arrival … 51 more days, and that’s no guarantee that it’ll feel or look like Spring – last year we still had snow and cold temps at April’s arrival.
But I have digressed bigtime from weaving yesterday’s walk into a blog post.
But … here I go again with my tale about last night.
Last night I was getting ready to write my post on yesterday’s long-awaited walk at Council Point Park. I had fired up the computer and was dwelling on the impending cold overnight, as we inched toward zero (-17C) and a -8F (-22C) wind chill. A light dusting of snow was expected as well. I walked over to the kitchen sink to run the water in each of the double sinks. I’d been letting it drip all day, but thought it might need some oomph … it had some oomph all right. I heard a noise and the unmistakable sound of water gushing onto the cupboard floor – the doors were open to direct heat to the pipes so I quickly assessed the situation. Oh joy … the left sink pipe was hanging down. I reached underneath and propped it up with my one hand and shut the tap off with my other hand.
Then I said bad words.
Well, that was a quick fix (my actions, not the words), but eventually I had to pull my hand away, and soon the right pipe was similarly hanging down and water was flowing from it onto the cupboard floor.
Yup, I uttered a few more bad words.
I propped up the whole contraption with a thermos bottle and Googled Quint Plumbing, my new go-to place since my multiple plumbing fiascoes in 2017. I was pretty wound up when I called Mike, the owner, who calmly told me his guy on call had two jobs ahead of me and gave me Bill’s number to see if he could squeeze me into Saturday night’s queue. Bill was friendly and agreeable and said he’d be here in about an hour and a half and asked what I thought he should stop and get at the shop, in case he did not have it on hand – “was anything broken?” he asked. I resisted the urge to say “bubblegum” and instead said “plumber’s putty” – the pipes were all new and installed in June 2017.
Bill knocked at the door at 9:55 p.m. The light dusting of snow that was supposed to start around midnight arrived early and it was snowing like crazy as I opened the door to let him in. A crust of snow had already collected on the visor of his cap just from walking to the door from his vehicle. It turned out the seals/gaskets were bad and he had brought new ones and slipped them in and assured me “no putty was needed” … he applied all the force he had with his channel locks to get everything tightened and let water gush from the tap to assure me it was not leaking. I was happy and soon he was on his way, thankfully with no more emergencies left on his agenda.
The plumber left at 10:45 p.m. I’ll bet the neighbors’ tongues were a waggin’ about that one. Maybe they were asleep. It was about past my bedtime as well, even though it was a Saturday night. I was still incredulous about the whole catastrophe, but couldn’t dwell on it for long – I had to get on my hands and knees and try to dry out the cupboard.
Mom’s pearls of wisdom rang in my ears: “always keep a dishpan under your sink pipes to avoid disaster” – it caught some of the water, but it still leaked out when the pipes just collapsed. The bigger disaster would have been if the pipes fell apart in the middle of the night and the water was trickling into the cupboard and out onto the floor.
By far, the better part of yesterday was my walk to the Park.
A blog post was bubbling around in my head about my trip but it had to wait as I lost my zeal for recreating my five miles walked, the resourceful Grady and making peace with Parker and his pals after my long absence from that venue.
Way to go Grady!
It was 8 degrees F (-13C) when I set out for my walk on Saturday morning. Sure it was bitter cold, but there were no worries … no flurries, no snow or ice … just great walking weather, provided you bundled up.
I donned multiple layers when I headed out, but reluctantly decided to leave behind the camera, as I didn’t want to damage it in the frigid cold. The thought running through my mind was my late friend Marge telling me “always carry your camera with you – you’ll see that perfect shot and then you won’t be able to capture it.” I hesitated once again, but left it behind.
All I had to do was grab my coat and lace up my shoes so I reached out the front door and dropped 10 peanuts onto the porch, then hustled to get ready and out the door.
I got outside, and unbelievably, in the space of 8-10 minutes’ time, all but two peanuts remained on the porch and peanut shells littered the porch. I chuckled to myself thinking “those boys were hungry.” Since the weather was clear, I backed the car out of the garage to drive to the Park and give it a run. While the car was warming up, along came Grady, past the car, slinking up the porch steps, where he grabbed a peanut and then he surprised me. I watched as he scrambled up the bricks and along the brick ledge … he went all the way to the other side of the ledge where he perched as he ate the peanut.
“Well, that a new one on me” I thought. Was he evading the hawk, or me? Of course it was the hawk … (at least I think it was).
Was he doing that for my benefit to take note of an alternate feeding spot just for him? The other squirrel could never get his fat body up there … way to go Grady!
Of course, if I had the camera it would have made a terrific photo for up top of this post …
I made peace with Parker and his pals.
I took a large bag of peanuts with me to make it up to Parker and his pals as I’d been absent from my favorite nature nook for eight days. As I crossed the parking lot, I shook the plastic bag so they knew I was coming. Parker was MIA at the parking lot, but came bounding over near the pavilion area where I lavished peanuts and apologies simultaneously. I got onto the perimeter path and was happy to see there were only the occasional icy patches. That rain and warmer temps we had on Wednesday afternoon did wonders to clear the asphalt path.
One by one, squirrels started heading out of their nests and scrambling down the trees to ground level. I gave them each a pile of peanuts, which they eagerly started munching, not hiding, right away. I figured the ground was first too snowy from the half-foot of snow on Saturday the 19th, then too frozen thereafter to dig for peanuts, so they were starving. The second time around the “wildlife side” I noted the peanuts were all gone, and only shells remained and a passel of my furry friends were back to greet me. I indulged them and once again wished for the camera to record them happily munching away.
The Creek was frozen solid and a light covering of snow had drifted on top of the ice. Not a duck, goose – or even a seagull was in sight, so likely they flew down to the Detroit River, where the current is swift and they could still have access to vegetation beneath the water.
The Park is wearing its desolate look. Not enough snow to look picturesque, dead leaves rattling on tree branches and the tall, wheat-colored phragmites waving at me in the wind as I strolled by them.
I left the remaining peanuts on the picnic table under the pavilion roof in case I didn’t make it down today … I was glad I did so, as I didn’t get there today, though I planned on it. We had two inches of snow and it was slick when I went out to run the car.
Before I walked into the house yesterday I put five peanuts on the ledge for Grady to find if he was still out and about. I looked out later on Saturday and all the peanuts were gone. He’s a pretty smart cookie that little squirrel … he made sure he climbed up there so I could see him and give him a new spot to put his treats. The sucker that I am bought into this idea hook, line and sinker.
I walked five loops, and would have gotten in a six-mile walk, but I wanted to avoid shin splints from walking too many miles as I’d not walked in over a week. Usually when I’m unable to walk in the Winter, I go downstairs on the exercise bike, but it was too cold to be comfortable down there. I shut the door from the cellarway to the kitchen to keep it warm so it feels like you could hang meat in the basement.
I returned home, keen for a coffee to warm up and cupped my cold hands around the cup as my entire body warmed up slowly. So, perhaps I made a boo-boo in that I didn’t tote the camera with me, so I’m using one of Jill Wellington’s photos from her Winter collection instead.
[Image from Jill Wellington and Pixabay]