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Pat’s Bits & Pieces– January is here and so is winter!

Pat Maurer, Review Correspondent

Christmas is over, another year has come and gone, and now we can start the annual countdown to spring again. This is the week to put all of the decorations away and take down the tree again and pack it all away for another year.

Time to cuddle up by the fire, read a good book and start the countdown to spring again.

By the way there are only ten weeks – 75 days – until the calendar says “Spring Arrives.”

Not so long, right? And inside is the best place to be til it arrives for this old gal. After a couple of trips to town for pictures, I am glad to be back home inside with the fire blazing away here in the office.

As I was driving back home just a bit ago, the sun was shining and it was snowing like crazy at the same time…

I am simply not a winter person anymore. It is 15 degrees out there right now (Tuesday afternoon), and feels much colder than that when you have to go out, (the computer says the wind chill is minus 11 degrees) but it’s still much warmer than this morning’s low of eight degrees when Jack checked at 7 a.m.

And the forecast for the rest of the week is for much more of the same with high temperatures at 14 or 15 degrees through Friday, lows of -1 to 9 degrees, then a warming trend (don’t get your hopes up – it’s only into the 20s and only for a couple of days) for Saturday and Sunday.

A positive note – with December 21st behind us now, the days are finally getting longer again.

One benefit of this time of year, and daylight savings time, is that I can sleep in a bit and still enjoy the sunrise. January doesn’t have many redeeming qualities for me, but I think mid-winter sunrises are perhaps the most beautiful of the whole year.

In January, the sun comes up late, but once it starts, it is full daylight in a very short time with our typical gray cloudy weather taking over most of the time. So that brief time of frosty pinks and blues, so still that you almost think it is a painting, is even more special.

While it lasts, it is a quiet, serene, almost magical time of the day, full of colors and sometimes with clouds of steam rising from the river to dress the trees and bushes along the edge of the water with a lacy collection of frost. It is a great time to relax with that first cup of coffee, or even a good time for a frosty walk – if you are brave enough.

Once the sun is up, the birds arrive for their early morning “feeding frenzy.” We sure have a lot of them around the feeders this winter. Jack is filling the feeders about every other day and if he forgets, the birds come right up to the window to remind him. He has even had chickadees light on his head while he is filling them! With the snow on the ground, guess they are really depending on him keeping them full. Sitting inside and watching them, it makes me wonder how in the world they keep from freezing out there…

Winter came pretty early this year. We have had snow on the ground since November, a change from a few years of pretty “mild winters.”

This is the month of brittle cold, but we can always hope for a traditional “January thaw” later on in the month. Time to fort-up and try not to develop cabin fever.

I have plenty of things to do around here to keep busy for the next couple of months. We are planning to replace the floor in the bedroom – have even had the material to do it for several months now. Also I still have Alea’s quilt to finish – hopefully before her birthday arrives in March, so I will have to dust off the sewing machine and get busy on that too.

If I keep busy, hopefully the next few weeks should go by pretty fast.

After a few more weeks it will be my not so favorite month of February again. After that we can start thinking about (and wishing for) spring.

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