Winter arrives

There’s only an inch or so of snow on the ground around our house, but there are icy spots on the back roads and when I went to the doctor’s this morning I passed a car in the ditch, which apparently didn’t quite make it around the curve the night before.

Guess winter is here again, although the calendar doesn’t say it actually starts for another week, incidentally on the same day (December 21) as the end of the Mayan Calendar and some say, the end of the world…

With only a week before the world is supposed to come to a halt, or just ten days until Christmas, whichever you prefer to use as a measurement, it is the cold season again in mid-Michigan. The thermometer has been dipping into the teens leading to some very frosty mornings and we have seen a few snow flurries, heavy but not lasting too long, at least not yet.

The birds aren’t taking any chances on the weather though. That first snow flurry brought out a “flurry” of visitors to our feeders. For most of the afternoon Sunday, and most of the days since, the activity out there has been ferocious, with cardinals, finches, sparrows and chickadees all vying desperately for their share of the spoils.

And if the goodies run out, they let Jack know in no uncertain terms that he had better get out there and fill those feeders again. They flutter around the sliding doors peering in at us and even sometimes  “thump” the glass to get our attention.

Even the squirrels have taken to looking in through the window to see if Jack might be getting ready to replenish their free lunch out there. We sure have plenty of those characters around this year, one black, several greys and even some feisty red squirrels who try to scare all the others – and the birds away from what they think is their own personal holiday buffet.

It is pretty entertaining to watch them all. Seems like they are just like us humans when we hear a prediction of a big storm coming and try to stock up just in case we do get a blizzard or something.

 As a matter of fact we could probably save a bundle on what we spend on bird and sunflower seed if we could just find where the squirrels have their stash, since they seem to empty those feeders about every other day now.

They are pretty entertaining, but I haven’t had much time to watch the outdoor show lately. I have been working “like an elf” around here to get ready for the family holiday gathering on the Sunday before Christmas.

In my last column I told you I had my decorations up and the Christmas shopping and wrapping started. Well except for the stuff that was ordered and hasn’t arrived yet, the packages are all wrapped and under the tree. I also have cookies made and all eight dozen decorated (thanks to daughter Lisa’s help Tuesday afternoon), and the fudge, peanut brittle and sugared walnuts all made and divided up into the usual Christmas “goodie” packages for each of  the families.

It made for a pretty hectic weekend that extended right over into Monday and part of Tuesday as a matter of fact, but with some help from hubby Jack (he handles the messiest clean ups without a complaint) I have got it “almost” all done now, although I would like to add a few more cookies to the holiday selection before the big day.

Pretty good for someone who traditionally finishes up on Christmas Eve… right?

I still have this feeling that I am forgetting something important though.