For the past week we have been having bitterly cold weather. Everything is frozen solid outside, and all of the plants with green leaves have that sad, beat-up, leathery look that they get when it’s freezing. In fact, they’re a good gauge of temperature because as soon as it warms up they start looking normal again. The air is perfectly still, the sky is perfectly clear and blue, The Olympics are perfectly white, and the sun is doing its best to peek over the southern horizon and shine horizontally on everything for a few hours a day.
The winter solstice is only two weeks away, so it’s not surprising that the days are short. What is surprising is all of the dry, cold weather we're having. Normally it’s cool, cloudy, and wet this time of year, but not freezing! Global climate change seems to have turned the Pacific Northwest into Siberia.
The saddest thing of all was seeing a little female hummingbird early this morning trying to drink at the feeder outside my window and realizing that the sugar-juice was frozen solid. I hope she managed to go up the street and find nectar in some of the winter-blooming flowers in the neighbors’ yards, but I’m afraid they were frozen, too. I brought the feeder in, thawed the liquid, topped it off, and put it outside again hoping the hummingbirds would find it before it freezes again. From now on, until it warms up, I’m going to bring it inside at night.
[Photos of Fairbanks, Alaska at noon on the winter solstice and a hummingbird at a red plastic feeder just like mine are both adapted from Wikimedia. Trisitella hoeijeri photo is mine.]