Drinking Coffee On A Snowy Morning

I’m sitting in my chair sipping my coffee as I watch the birds at the feeder.

Damage to tree from Pileated Woodpecker

I love watching the birds at the feeder in the winter. I don’t put the feeders out in warmer months because they can attract bears so I wait until the weather turns cold and the bears hibernate. When the feeders are out we get chickadees, goldfinches, tufted titmouses (titmice?) and blue jays visiting. Because we live in a forest, we also have many woodpeckers: downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and pileated woodpeckers. The pileated woodpeckers are huge–about the size of a crow. They do a lot of damage to the trees, but I still love to see them. The first time I saw the damage from a pileated woodpecker’s shredding of a fallen tree, I thought a bear had ripped it apart.  With all the woodpeckers in our forest, it’s a wonder we have any trees standing, but I still love to see them all.

Besides birds, we also get wild turkeys and deer at our feeders. I haven’t seen any turkeys for several weeks–maybe not since early November. I’ve seen a few deer, but this year the feeders are on the post up close to our house and I think the deer are nervous about coming so close. They get spooked if we move.

It’s been snowing today. We’ve had snow almost every day since last week so I think that winter has finally settled in to stay. We are supposed to get several inches of snow over the next couple of days–maybe as much as a foot. The US National Weather Service is also warning of frigid temperatures and blustery winds beginning tonight. EJ and I love the snow, but I’m always glad when my guys are safe and snug at home. On JJ’s way home from work on Saturday night, he says he spun around twice on slippery roads–I mean, he once made two complete revolutions before coming to a stop.

Our snowblower

It’s my self-appointed task to snowblow the driveway. I say it’s “self-appointed” because EJ would help me–or even do it for me–but I hate to leave it for him to do in the dark after a long tiring day at work so I try to clear the driveway during the day. I clear it so my guys won’t get stuck in the snow and so the USPS, UPS, and FEDEX delivery people won’t refuse to deliver packages. Snowblowing the driveway is not a terrible chore. I get tired and sweaty and rubbery legs, but I just think of it as an intense exercise workout. I did have a bit of a problem when I cleared the driveway on Friday. Halfway up I slipped and the snowblower fell back on top of me. I got it back up and continued snowblowing, but then I fell again with the snowblower on top of me. I imagined slipping under the blower and getting my legs chewed up and lying there bleeding until one of my guys came home to help me (if they didn’t accidentally run over me because they didn’t see me) and I decided it would be best to quit for the day. I fell once or twice again until I got the snowblower to level-ish ground at the top of the hill. Later I told EJ, “You might have noticed that the bottom of the driveway was cleared and the top of the driveway was cleared, but not the middle. This is what happened….” This is the first time since we’ve moved here that I’ve fallen when snowblowing so I don’t expect it to happen very often. Because frequently falling would totally suck.

Although I love the snow, winter, driving up and down our steep driveway in winter makes me nervous. I think I wouldn’t be so nervous if I had more experience, but JJ has driven the Buggy (our Xterra) to school and work since we moved north, so I don’t often have the use of it. I had packages to mail at the post office–one for my friend and one for a Etsy customer who ordered a pair of beautiful dragon gloves. JJ got home from school early Friday afternoon so I went out before he got out of the Buggy and pleaded, “Would you please, please, please please, oh, please drive me to the post office? Please, please, please, I’m begging you, please, please, please.” He did, although he laughs at me, especially when I grab the safety handle above the door as we drive down and up the driveway.  This is a video I took last year of JJ driving me up the driveway:  Dashing Up The Driveway. You can see how scary it is–but even though it’s scary, I’d rather have JJ or EJ driving up the driveway in the winter than me. Anyway, I did get my packages mailed on Friday and I arrived safely home.

We had a quiet weekend. Saturday we rested while I crocheted. Although it’s too soon, I also looked for dogs at various on-line animal shelters. I saw a group of adorable puppies at one shelter, but I was cozy at home and didn’t feel motivated to make the more than hour drive there. I have always thought that I would love to have a Bernese Mountain Dog because I think they are gorgeous! But I just read that they only live an average of about 7 or 8 years, and I think that is too, too short of a time to spend with a dog. I miss having a dog but I don’t know how to choose the next one. I miss Danny. I feel his presence by his absence–no filling his food dish, no taking him outside, no vacuuming up clumps of his hair from the carpet. 😥

Saturday evening, one of JJ’s friends/previous co-workers from the local grocery store stopped by with her parents and children and delivered some Christmas cookies. I thought that was very sweet. We had often seen the young woman at the store, of course, but this was the first time we had met her parents or children. They seem like nice folks. I hope to make my family’s traditional treats for them next weekend.

Sunday I did chores while EJ worked on his own projects. JJ came home from work in the evening with tales of apprehending a shoplifter and banning her from the mall. Security guards can’t actually arrest anyone, but they do hold them until the police get there.

Ugh. I stopped writing this post long enough to walk to the mailbox. I found a note in our mailbox informing me that I have to pick up a package at the post office. This is a difficulty for me since EJ and JJ have our vehicles during the week and they usually don’t get home until after the post office closes. Since I don’t have a vehicle, I have to wait until they are free during the day. JJ’s schedule is more flexible than EJ’s, but I have to work around his school and work schedules. JJ doesn’t get home from school today until later, tomorrow he works all day, and the earliest he is free is Wednesday. Since the post office will try three times to deliver a package and then return it to sender, I am writing a note for them which I will leave in the mailbox. I totally understand that no delivery person–not post office, UPS, or FEDEX–wants to risk driving up our long steep driveway in the winter and I have tried to let them all know that they can put packages in the big green wooden box at the bottom of the driveway. I will remind the post office of this in my note. I did move the box a bit closer to the end of the driveway today. We are trying to make it easily accessible to delivery people but also keep the box out of view of passersby on the road–because we have read that thieves like to steal packages, especially at this time of year. I also try to keep our driveway clear of snow…there was only an inch or two of new snow this morning, so the mail lady shouldn’t have had a problem pulling into the driveway to put items in the box today.

This frustrating transportation problem is why we have told JJ that he needs to buy a vehicle of his own by mid-June–or by the time he moves into his own apartment, whichever comes first. Well, actually JJ is hoping to buy the Buggy that he always drives, which wouldn’t solve my transportation problem but would help his. EJ is hoping to fix up his old pick up truck–and then I will use the Suburban when I need it. I can’t drive the pick up because I’ve never learned to drive a stick-shift.

I just wrote that I haven’t seen wild turkeys in quite a while, and then I glanced out of the window and saw a huge flock in the yard. You can’t see all of them in the video, and I wasn’t able to get a complete count of them, but I think there must have been about 50 of them. The turkeys like to eat the seeds that the other birds drop from the feeders. Some of them were beginning to walk away as I filmed this video (second of two). I liked how they waded through the snow.



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