Monday, December 19, 2011


The weather forecast called for rain, but it's been snowing since before I woke up this morning. I should have known there was snow on the ground!

My husband wakes up very early. When he lets the chocolate labs out to do their morning duty, he usually comes back into the bedroom and reaches beneath the woolen blankets I pile up on my feet to fetch the chihuahua. Chewy the chihuahua likes to roll himself into a blanket ball in the middle of the night. This morning, when my husband tried to unravel the chihuahua to take him outside, Chewy refused to go!

Around four this afternoon, I realized Chewy had spent the entire day in bed. I came into the bedroom and asked if he intended to get up today. He looked over his shoulder, out the window, at the snow, as you can see in the pictures to the right, then he looked back at me, but didn't move from the bed. He spent the entire day beneath the covers.

I fed the birds four times today. They seem to eat twice as much when it's cold outside. There was a small flock of doves on the patio table when I walked outside. Their lovely slate gray wings contrasted beautifully with the falling snow and when they fluttered up and off the porch it was like watching a living painting in an artist's gallery.

We have new birds in the tree/shrub beside the house. At first, I only noticed one mated pair, but now there are six or more each day. The males have reddish-brown bodies and their tails appear to have a deep blue color. The females are brownish-gray. The males also have black and white striped wings--quite a colorful combination! The females have the same stripes, but the stripes are on their heads. I've never seen anything like them, but I started volunteering for a Nature Watch program and I plan to participate in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count, so I need to identify the birds soon. Unfortunately, they are not as friendly with me as the other birds and fly away before I can get a focused picture.

There is a hierarchy on the back wall, too. There are two varieties of sparrows that live in the shrub. One is the common house sparrow and I haven't identified the others yet. The new birds with the stripes are slightly larger and the sparrows move away from the dish when the striped birds arrive.

The thrashers are larger than the striped birds and a bit pushy. They're not greedy. They will wait for the other birds to eat, but when they think the seed dish is getting low, they fly into the flock and chase the other birds off so they can have their turn at the seeds.

The doves, of course, are much too large for the seed dish on the wall or the feeders hanging from the porch. They can only eat from the dish on the table and the other birds leave that dish for the doves. It's a nice little community. No one ever fights, they just know when it's time to share, and when they need to get out of the way to avoid a mid-air collision with a larger bird!

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