20 January 2008

Winter Checklist

Well, winter has truly come to my part of the world. It has been about 20 degrees F in the mornings, with plenty of frost and fog; fortunately, this last week has been very sunny, too. Somewhat unusual, as we're more accustomed to rain, sleet, overcast skies, and mist.

A nice winter checklist seems in order:
* Feed the birds. I like to put out black sunflower seeds, thistle seeds, and shelled peanuts. The peanuts haven't been as popular this year, but the birds have gone mad for the thistle seeds. (Mixed birdseed, in case you didn't know, is pretty much rubbish; birds stick to one kind of seed, and most will rummage through millet and whatever else is there to get the sunflower seeds.)

* Break up ice where you find it. This is another bird-friendly tip; birds really need fresh water in winter.

* If you have a garden, let it sit a while. Raking the ground clean removes an insulation layer from roots that might not appreciate sudden exposure to cold. I know I don't like having my blankets taken off me in winter! Don't be in a hurry to prune back or trim dead branches and stems. Aside from the visual interest you might get, birds and other critters can use such litter for nests and hiding places. (Besides, it's really more natural looking...)

* Take a walk once in a while. It needn't be long or miserable. If you've got a spare hour in the afternoon, a brisk walk all bundled up really does the trick. Look around ~ there's a unique beauty to winter that I would necessarily call "stark". Frost creates lacy whorls on streets and sidewalks; trees stretch their naked arms up to a brilliant blue (or flannel grey) sky; and coffee, toast, and jam never taste quite as good as after a wintery walk...

No comments: