Ohmygoddess! I was woken this morning by I don't-know-what-all striking against the house with great force, raised up by strong winds that switched around from the south/southeast earlier in the day (bringing balmy temperatures) to the north/northeast - it was probably around 3 this morning. After being drenched by nearly an inch of rain yesterday and the water in the bird bath thawing (!), we are back into the deep freeze today and winds gusting as high as 38 mph in the Milwaukee area.
Fortunately, we were spared a lot of snow, which fell with a passion further west and north - averaging 9 to 10 inches to more than a foot, depending upon location. The further west and north, the worse it is. It is impossible to accurately measure the snowfall here, but since I can see grass (except where the snow is drifting), I figure we haven't got more than an inch. It's been snowing hard off and on; right now my area is in another break. The roads, however, are in treacherous condition. There is black ice underneath the dusting of snow, and the persistently strong winds are causing white-out conditions along with coating over the ice so it can't be seen. I am glad I got the driveway shoveled off yesterday morning or I'd have had to ice-skate to the road this morning to fetch the Sunday paper from my paperbox. As it is, it was crunch-Crunch-CRUNCH
When I got up this morning it was 26 degrees F; it's only dropped a couple of degrees. Because of the strong winds, the windchill is a mere 8 degrees F and tonight will drop to between 15 and 20 below zero F. Walking to the bus stop tomorrow morning is going to be sheer Hell. These winds aren't going away and the temperature will fall well below freezing, leading to windchills consistently in the 20 below zero F range. Great, just great.
What amazes me is the juncos and sparrows. I haven't seen the cardinals or the jays out this morning but the little birds are hopping around and flying. How the hell do they do it? They weigh, at most, a couple of ounces and yet they are not being blown away by these gusting gale-force winds. I put food out under the shrubs along the north fence line which is protected, but they are hopping around the deck, evidently looking for leavings from peanuts! So I crushed up a few and tossed them out. Juncos all over the place. Glad to see them back. Now I know winter is really here.
Can I hang on until December 22nd when the days will start to get longer again? Psychologically, that date is critical to my well-being, because I know the days will start to get longer and, even though I must get through the brutal cold of January and February, the worst is over. This time of year is awful for me and I so look forward to the time when I know that a few more minutes are added to the beginning and end of "daylight." I am more and more affected each year by the dark and gloomy days. Fortunately, we had above-normal temperatures with many clear and bright days in November, that has helped enormously. And, amazingly, the first half of December has seen more days with at least some sunlight! I have made the most of it, knowing how important exposure to that natural light is, even when it's piss-freezing cold.
Oh crap, the snow has started up again. Time for lunch!