Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hard times ahead?

The mornings are still too dark, really, for me to be taking photos for Roundtop Ruminations before I leave for work. But I can’t help myself. The day is brightening, and I don’t really like taking a week’s worth of photos over the weekend. So today’s photo is a bit washed out and certainly gray, but it also marks a small milestone—the first photo taken in the morning again as the days lengthen.

The snow cover helps. Without that, I likely wouldn’t be able to take morning photos for perhaps another few weeks. Today, I am enjoying the last day of “warmth” before the temperature nose dives again. Today, even at my cabin, the temperature will likely reach and perhaps just inch above the freezing mark for the first time since last weekend. And better yet, the wind this morning was little more than a breeze, so I and the dogs actually got a half-decent walk. We all needed that.

Although the snow isn’t deep at the moment, it is already proving to be harsh on the deer around the cabin. Usually they don’t resort to eating my juniper bush until late February or early March. They are already nibbling on it, a sure sign that natural food is scarce as juniper bushes aren’t known as a deer’s favorite meal.

About half a mile or so beyond the cabin is a small field where I counted 15 deer the other night, far more than I’ve seen at any one time there. They poked in the snow with their hooves, looking for the grass underneath to browse. It’s the kind of work that appears to me to be more calorie intensive than it would be worth, but they were hungry enough to do it anyway. Usually, this is the kind of activity I see later in the winter, so if this year doesn’t produce a thaw or three, I predict hard times ahead for the forest’s animals.

I know I wouldn’t be wanting to try and find food enough to keep me alive through the winter in the woods right now.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

You've definitely had it tougher up your way than we've experienced. No warming trend here, even slightly, but not nearly the snow—though we're supposed to get 6 inches tomorrow.

Still I don't think this is a particularly harsh winter for local wildlife. Yet. Of course, I wouldn't want to be out there every day foraging for my meals. It is the most amazing thing, when you really think and understand, how any bird or squirrel or deer, or wild turkey or heron—how any wild creatures survive even the average winter. Talk about a work ethic!

Carolyn H said...

Griz: It is likely a tad early for the winter to be deemed harsh, though I'm definitely in a longer spate of sustained cold earlier in the season than is typical. And that will likely leave even less for wildlife later in the season when they really need it.

Carolyn h

Cathy said...

Now wouldn't be funny and great in two weeks this get back in the 40s.This cold snap has to end soon, especially in poor Florida. I like my O.J at work.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: i've been worrying about my OJ, too. Not to mention the pre-local strawberries that I simply have to have at least once before the local ones are ready.

Carolyn H.