Hello! We've endured bitterly cold temperatures and over two feet of snow this week, but there's better weather today. And I don't need to look at The Weather Channel or Accuweather.com to know this.
Instead, I took note of increased squirrel activity in our backyard this morning. Most days this week I'd only seen one or two hardy squirrels foraging around on our back deck for food; I keep a "critter mix" on hand for them. When it's very cold out, they'll stay inside their tree nests, and who could blame them? But today I saw several scampering around on trees. Tossed out another scoop of critter mix (sunflower seeds, peanuts and dried corn) and waited for my furry friends to take notice.
A minute or two later, I had my first visitor:
I usually bother to shovel just a small section of the back deck for tossing out food, but over time the squirrels make small paths through the snow to get to it. Above, an Eastern gray squirrel is enjoying a snack.
But after a short while he was chased off by a smaller but more aggressive competitor:
Above, the black variation of Eastern gray squirrel. Before we moved here in 2002, I hadn't seen black squirrels since we'd left East Lansing, Michigan in 1988. them. However, around here I usually see more black than gray squirrels in our yard.
To add insult to injury, the black squirrel climbed up to the deck railing to root out a peanut the gray squirrel had just hidden:
While he was up on the deck railing a small flock of sparrows swooped in to eat some of the critter mix still remaining on the deck. So nice to see signs of life outside again!
It's also nice to see the sun and current temperatures above 20 degrees. Looks like we'll have a break from snow shoveling today, which is fine with me. Instead, I'll enjoy the crocheted snowflakes my late mother-in-law had made for me years ago:
Above, some of the snowflakes dangle from a display piece I made several years ago from a length of vintage wood trim (found in our garage), eye screws, framing wire and clothespins. I'm much happier seeing these snowflakes than the ones I'd seen outside much of this week!