First of all, we're in the grip of a really early winter. Usually we have a couple of minor snowfalls in December but the real snow and bitter cold starts in January. This year, things are all mixed up. We have already had 2 significant snowfalls and have over a foot of snow on the ground. It has been absurdly cold for this time of year - well below normal. Temperature records have been set, as well as snowfall. Many people in our area lost power in the two storms but we were lucky and retained power here. Here's how the garden looks now. It makes me pretty miserable.
Our menagerie of critters is well. The chickens do not like the snow and typically stay inside the coop except to go out to the heated waterer. They also like to eat snow. Silly birds! Not many eggs at this time of year, and I don't provide supplemental lighting to boost egg production because I think the hens deserve a break. Here's a picture of some of them pecking at the snow.
This year is expected to be an irruption year for finches on the east coast, and so far, that's proving to be true. If you're not a bird person, you may not know what an irruption year is. No, it's not a misspelling of eruption (those are for volcanoes). An irruption is a significant migration of large numbers of birds outside their typical range. Typically this happens as a result of food scarcity in the normal range. Finches are particularly subject to irruptions when certain seeds are less available. This year, seeds from conifer trees and birches are poor, so finches are poised for irruption moves. If you're interested, here's some information on expected 2018/19 winter irruptions: http://jeaniron.ca/2018/wff18.htm
I'm very excited to have a regular flock of evening grosbeaks visiting my feeders, which is certainly not normal for this area. I'm hoping to see some siskins and redpolls if I'm lucky! Here's a male evening grosbeak.
I have noticed very heavy feeding on all my feeders (currently 6 active feeders) for birds in the past couple of weeks. We have a lot of black-capped chickadees (more than usual), red-breasted nuthatches, goldfinches, blue jays, dark-eyed juncos and both hairy and downy woodpeckers. Keep your feeders stocked - it's a tough winter for many bird species. Here's the flock of grosbeaks at my tray feeder.
I've been busy with yarn-related projects too. I'm quite pleased with how this plain-weave wrap turned out. I used a lot of different warp yarns with a rayon weft.
It's so important to focus on colour when everything outside is bleak, cold and white or grey.
I also finished the first block of a crochet project I'm working on called the Stained Glass Lantern Afghan from Lilla Bjorn. I'm quite pleased with how that's turned out as well.
So, that's a little bit of an update. I'll see if I can write a few more posts in the coming weeks to try to get caught up with all the things I've thought about writing.