When I was a little nipper, even in the dead of Winter, Mom would bundle me up in multiple layers, including a scarf, that made a wide woolen swath across my face, leaving just my eyes and those uneven bangs visible. Then, after donning those horrid brown rubber galoshes with the big buckles, she’d push me out the door while saying “go outside Linda and get the stink off ya!” So, out I went to play in the snow with my pals, who were similarly dressed and we’d build snow forts or snowmen. Hours later, I’d trudge back inside with rosy cheeks, then my folks would admire our efforts from the living room window. After shedding my bulky and snow-drenched layers, I was rewarded with cookies and a mug of cocoa with plump marshmallows hugging the frothy chocolate. Aah, life was so good!
Yesterday, I took myself outside, with snowflakes twinkling down in 24 F (-4 C) temps. It was not as bad as it sounds, as it was a bit misty and that high humidity and multiple layers of clothing made it quite tolerable.
So, … about the snowman pictured up top.
Ever since I saw those two snowmen from our last big snow event (click here if you missed this post), I’ve been thinking it would be fun to create a small snowman and see the house squirrels’ reaction to it. How difficult could it be to build a snowman anyway? I even looked at YouTube to refresh my memory on how a snowman was made since the technique was lost on me, having been many years since my snow-building skills were tested.
We had snow three days in a row, so there was plenty of the white stuff, so I was geeked to do this. I had a mental list of stuff to locate around the house first, like a hat, scarf and the fixin’s for buttons and a face. I did not bother looking for a corncob pipe as none would be found.
My main criteria was that I wanted all the snowman face fixin’s to be edible a/k/a squirrel and bird goodies. I assembled everything before I went out: raisins for a smile, mini Oreos for eyes and buttons, plus a baby carrot for a nose. I took extras of everything in case my not-so-nimble, cold fingers and gloved hands dropped them in the snow. On my last shopping trip, I bought some shelled walnuts and I took a Ziploc bag of these to entice the squirrels to visit the snowman. Finally, I tucked an old hat and scarf into the bag and hung the bag on the fence while I built this work of art. I doled out peanuts to the squirrels so they would hang around after the snowman was done, so I could take pictures of them. (That was assuming I’d finish the snowman before they finished the peanuts … more on that later.)
This would be an easy, fun project (or so I thought).
I was not aiming to build a large snowman – no, just to my knees would be fine. After about a half-hour of trying to pack snow for a snowball to roll and having it fall apart countless time, I lost my patience. (Guess I had more patience when I was young?) The squirrels gathered around me munching their peanuts contentedly, probably thinking I had lost my mind.
I finally got two snowballs rolled and “cemented” together with icy snow and I patted everything down to smooth it out. I stepped back … well, it would do, though I decided Mr. Snowman, with his outstretched arms, appeared to be doing sun salutations.
I jabbed two twiggy arms into each snowy side, noting they were a wee bit out of proportion, as I had anticipated a bigger snowman; I also left the hat and the scarf in my bag. Then I had a devil of a time getting the carrot to stay put, so I resorted to twisting it into the “face” which promptly collapsed. Well OMG – back to the drawing board and another head had to be made! This time I built the face around the carrot nose and lightly placed the Oreo minis for the eyes. I decided to skip the smile as the raisins looked too small (and patience was wearing thin). Next I sprinkled the bag of walnuts around the base to join the many facial features that had fallen off earlier. Grady the gray squirrel had hung out the whole time and I tossed him a few walnuts and said “stay put and don’t climb on the snowman ‘til I get the camera.” He was on his best behavior, (despite giving me the cold shoulder in the second picture).
Where are your pals Grady?
It began to flurry a bit, so there I was protecting the camera lens with my bare hand, awaiting the arrival of the critters. By then the peanuts were gone and even Grady was evidently watching his waistline and suddenly bolted, taking off for parts unknown.
A female cardinal perched nearby looked interested …
… and flew over for a closer look, but didn’t stop by to visit the snowman (or perhaps walnuts were not her thing?).
The persistent and pesky snow showers and concerns about getting the camera wet, finally drove me into the house and evidently the critters to their nests for the rest of the day. Soon I will go out to walk and I’m anxious to see if they finished the goodies off. We are getting several inches of snow and freezing rain later today, so Mr. Snowman will either be covered up with snow or glazed over for the short term by Monday morning.
Hmm – the day was young, now with a hint of sun and salted roads.
The snow flurries stopped, and, with the snowman debacle done, I saw a hint of sun through the door, so I decided to head to Council Point Park on foot. The snow was melting on the road due to all the salt applied in the past few days, so I grabbed some peanuts and set off.
It is one mile to get to the Park and I wended my way through the hood, plodding down the middle of the road like an old horse, mindful of the few cars that zoomed past me. It seemed everyone was content to stay home after two days of slippin’ and slidin’ during both the morning and afternoon rush hours. The snowfall at the Park was picturesque, but it looked desolate.
The icicles were hanging from the Park pavilion and looked like downsized stalactites. There was not enough sun to make prisms, but worth taking note of these raggedy crystalline daggers.
Well, I was on a mission to get the peanut pals fed and a few miles racked up for myself. Unfortunately the perimeter path was not completely clear, but it was not bad. The DPS had cleared the past few days’ snow, but not this recent coating – no worries, as most of it was slushy anyway and I was wearing my lug-soled hiking boots.
Tree trunks and branches bore the traces of recent snow – I thought they looked pretty.
The Creek by the cement landing was totally frozen over with a dusting of snow on top. Not surprisingly, the waterfowl were MIA. What a difference a week makes – well only six days actually. Last Sunday and Monday we climbed to 54 F and yesterday’s high was 34 F (1C).
Likewise, on the other side of the Park near the sideways tree, it looked about the same.
Here’s a close-up of that tree without the artwork in the foreground – sometimes the graffiti makes for an interesting shot though.
The Phragmites weeds and assorted reeds blew gently in the breeze – some were laden with snow.
It looked like a typical bleak February day – last Sunday and Monday were just a fluke!
I was the Peanut Fairy.
As I walked along – no one came to greet me, not even Parker or Stubby. A disgruntled-looking squirrel eyed me from a branch near a nest, probably his safe haven for these cold and snowy nights … and endless gloomy days.
Even the jays and cardinals were at large. It was later than usual, so perhaps that is why, so I made peanut drops at the picnic table and on this park bench …
… because, as you see in this shot taken last week, the squirrels know how to find their treats and the geese don’t know about these two places – yet.
Two times around the Park, meandering around taking pictures plus my round trip, yielded almost five miles – I have to add my total miles to date, as I have them jotted down here, there and everywhere in 2020.
This post took forever to get done this morning as it was long and picture laden. I hustled outside a few minutes ago to feed my furry and feathered friends and will head out to walk once I publish this post – I will catch up here later. Snow is beginning early afternoon. If you’ve hung in until the very end of this long post, all the snowman edibles were gone … he is bare so I sprinkled peanuts around the base … I know my little pals will be there, just as soon as I closed the door. 🙂