It's cold out there—and looks it, with mist rising off the pools and riffles, and the water itself looking a bit congealed, filled with slush as it flows reluctantly along. Even the sun seemed to take its time rising this morning.
When I stepped outside at 6:15 a.m. to put out scoops of cracked corn for the ground feeding birds, it was still dark and the official temperature at the nearby airport had just been announced at -3˚F, the coldest we've been so far this year. Nothing by Minnesota standards, of course—and not really a serious low for us Buckeyes. But still, cold enough that, having not put on gloves, hat, or coat, I didn't tarry in my shirtsleeves while tossing my feed scoops…nor did Moon the Dog in attending to her morning duties.
For some reason—likely the dryness in the air once the temperature has fallen below a certain point, taking with it any hint of dampness—I'm more comfortable during days of deep cold than when it's a few degrees either side of freezing. Especially when there's little or no wind.
After breakfast, the sun having finally made it above the hill, I went out to make a few photos. THe early light was varnishing the tops of the sycamores along the opposite bank a rich orange-gold.
There were already plenty of birds around the feeders, the usual suspects—cardinals, titmice, chickadees, tree sparrows, goldfinches, and a Carolina wren, to name just a few. But…no squirrels! I'm not sure if squirrels are smarter or lazier than birds, but squirrels never get up early for breakfast when the weather's bad or it's really cold. Instead, they huddle deep inside the high hollow in the patriarch sycamore over by the driveway. I can just imagine the whole dozen or more of 'em curled into one furry gray ball, bushy tails draped around their faces, snug and cozy in their leaf-lined nest—everyone catching an extra forty winks in order to give the sun time to warm things up for a leisurely brunch.
The weather man said yesterday that today would be cloudy—and that overcast skies would remain throughout the next several days. He also predicted last night's low at 7˚F, which means he missed by 10 degrees. Judging by the blue sky, I'd say he's 0-for-2. He did get the day of the week right, though.