Posted by: atowhee | January 28, 2015

WINTER?

It’s late January.  Mid-winter says the blind calender.  Smalls insects form dust-like swirls in sun-warmed air.  One evening recently a bat fluttered past my windshield after dusk.  Our local species are mostly supposed to sleep the winter through, a few migrate.  Grass in the valley is now over a foot long where the soil is good.  At 5000′ weeds are green and growing where there might be snow in a more normal year.  Near the weeds a kingfisher works Keene Creek that is ice-free.  A walk in Ashland brings the dogs and me to a seasonal pond, lured there by the repetitious chorus of the Cascade frogs.  They float with eyes and mouth just above the water line.  They do not read calenders.  At 6000′ on Mt. Ashland I spot a fresh mushroom growing out of the duff beneath the firs.  Vinca bloom right outside my door.  Hyacinths are now bursting forth from the ground in my garden.  We’ve not seen a snowflake at our house for ten months.  Our artichoke plants are now 18 inches tall.  Canada Geese can be seen right now swimming in open water at 4500′.  Mt. Ashland has had two weeks of downhill skiing since the spring of 2013.  One birder has seen a Band-tailed Pigeon in her garden already, at about 2200′.  Winter?PREEN RAVN1 PREEN-RVN2A pair of Ravens enjoying a little mutual preening in preparation for a breeding season that may begin any day now.  Normally this season the breeding is left to Red-tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls.JAN CROCUSI’ve read that our daily high and low temps this year are running 13 warmer than the long-term averages for this time of year.  We could be living in New Zealand.


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