Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Thaw

It's been weeks since this thermometer has registered any temps above freezing, but here's what I saw this afternoon--OK, the sun is shining directly on it, but the actual air temperature was in the upper 30's. WOW! In Minnesota, this is sweatshirt weather! We're even planning to roll out the grill and cook some venison steaks outside for supper tonight.

It was so warm, the possum even woke up and came to dine underneath my bird feeders. I was happy to see its ears, toes, and tail were intact (not frozen off during this frigid winter). I thought the possum lived under my brush pile, but just a few minutes ago when I was downstairs doing some laundry, I saw this possum slowly walking towards the utility shed in my neighbor's backyard, so now I know for sure where this one is living.

Even Sophie and Penny enjoyed a little nap in the sunshine this afternoon.

The weather service is predicting another nice day tomorrow and then back into the deep freeze again for a few days. I was glad to hear tomorrow's going to be nice because we're going to search for a snowy owl that's been spotted in nearby Dodge County. That's going to be way more interesting than any old Super Bowl pre-game show (at least in my humble opinion!)


Lisa at Greenbow said...

That last photo looks so soothing and restful.

Richard said...

42 in the shade here. Sure was nice out.

TatteredSpinner said...

I love that last picture; I wish my dog and cat would get along well enough to lie in the same patch of sun. And I'd rather look for snowy owls than watch football, too!

Mama Pea said...

We hit a high of 25 (above so we can't complain!) here (NE Minnesota) but have been experiencing FREEZING DRIZZLE all day. Ish! Everything is covered. The only good thing is that the stuff on the ground isn't slick but rather like small, crunchy pellets. It's still slippery, but could be worse.

Lynne said...

We drove up to Hasty today and along the rural roads nearly every driveway had a dog sunning itself.
This weather today was better than drugs! (as if I would know)

Gaelyn said...

Having a heat wave. The opposum is wonderful. Looks like it's sporting a whitish/gray winter coat. Wonder if the neighbors know it's living in their shed.
I love your Sophie.
Have fun birding tomorrow. You're right, it sounds like more fun than football.

Anonymous said...

Finally got the Christmas lites off the railing and put up white ones. It has to be above freezing before I can do this.

Sophie and Penney are really soaking up all the rays [I bet it felt so good for their old bones.

Hooray for the oppossum coming out today in the sun.


Red said...

Pretty darn good picture of your possum! Only time I see them are in the dark along the top of the fence where they freeze and play dead.

First time I ever saw one, I thought it was a monstrous rat that came from the sewers... sadly, I wasn't all that young when that thought crossed my mind.

Diane C. said...

Nice pictures, all of the animals look happy and healthy. Possums do look like gigantic rats! I've never seen one during daylight, guess it wanted to soak up some warm sun.

Ruth said...

We missed our January thaw this year. We had three hours in January where the temperature was above freezing (33F one afternoon last week) Hope you find your snowy owl. We have so many around this year. last weekend 50 were seen in the region.

Mary said...

Find that Owl! Who cares about the Super Bowl. Both of my teams lost two weeks ago and I don't care.

Glad you are having a heat wave. It's about time.

Deb said...

Wasn't it wonderful? I feel alive again!

That is so funny you have an opossum visiting your feeders. As far as I know, they haven't made it this far north...yet.

Hope you see the Snowy! That is my dream for this winter.

KGMom said...

Ruthie--a sunny warm day mid winter is nice.
Love the pics of the possum--such a close up. HA--you checking his ears, toes and tail.

Kallen305 said...

It sounds lovely. I have a possum living on my property but it only comes out at night. Great pictures of him.

Enjoy the warmth while you have it and remember we are half way done with winter now.

troutbirder said...

Indeed you are lucky to be that close to Sax Zim. Ive been there once during the great gray influx several years ago. It's close to seven hours from the southeast corner.

troutbirder said...

Geez Ruthie. That was idiotic. It proves it not good to be looking at more than one blog at a time. I've seen that owl mentioned on the MOU listserv several times and locations and thought of heading over that way myself. My birding partner (Mr. Science) has been babysitting his grandchildren for weeks as his daughter is ill. I am stuck going to a Super Bowl thing tomorrow which I hate... why I do it is another story... which I wont post however.

cindy said...

Vern and I went to see the Snowy Owls today. We saw the Dakota County owl along the fence line on the east side of the road. Way out, there's a pile of rocks. We saw it on the ground and on the white post by the rocks. Just north of there, there is a row of evergreen trees where we saw White-winged Crossbills and Common Redpolls. There are two houses next to each other across the road. The one with the 79 year old lady has a thistle feeder. We also drove over to the Mower County Snowy Owl. Another far away look, but a much whiter bird. Check for directions on the listserve. Two Snowy Owls...Two counties on a beautiful day. I'd give you directions but I don't have my map in the house. Good Luck. BTW the Dakota owl..there's a little rise along the fenceline make sure you are on the south side of the fenceline when looking, it could be sitting just below that rise. Have fun!

Beth said...

The warmer temperatures are headed our way--I can't wait. We haven't been above freezing since before Christmas.

Jayne said...

Hope you get your Snowy Owl Ruthie. Can't wait to see the photos. :c)

mon@rch said...

Thaws? I make it through the winter knowing the warblers will be back in the spring!

GoWildMarie said...

Hi Ruthie. I just discovered your charming blog. A link came to me via an e-mail alert to "Bird Feeding". I love your nature tidbits. I feel right at home. Come over to my site and say hi ( I'm going to become one of your faithful followers since we're state neighbors and all. Nice to meet you and thanks for sharing a bit of you. I have enjoyed my visit.

cindy said...

Ruthie, Egads!!! I told you Dakota's DODGE County..I am so sorry. Hopefully you found the birds despite my help!!

Cindie U. said...

Here's my possum story: one summer night, I was behind the barn holding a flashlight for Ed while he was doing something. I felt someone brush past my bare leg and assumed it was one of the cats. I bent down, calling "here kitty, kitty" as I moved the flashlight along the ground, trying to find my cat. Boy, was I surprised to discover it wasn't one of the cats, but a POSSUM. Not only did I scream, she growled at me, before scuttling off. Ick.

PS. Why is it spelled opposum and pronounced possum? Our language is so weird.

Kelly said...

...I hope you find the Snowy Owl!!! I would love to see one someday.

Shellmo said...

I love how your sweet pets found a bit of sun patch to lay in! So sweet! Here's hoping for warmer weather ahead! (it hit 25 degrees in Northern Michigan and i was ready to start the grill too!)

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Lisa. I was sitting by the window knitting--the pets never let me get very far out of their sight.

Nice while it lasted, wasn't it Richard? Now we're shivering again.

Hi Tattered Spinner,
Kitty wasn't quite a year old when we got Sophie the puppy, so they enjoyed playing together when they were both the same size and still get along well 11 years later.

Hi Mama Pea,
I hate freezing precip in the winter! And you're right about it could be worse--after seeing the ice storms that Indiana, Kentucky and those other states got last week.

Hi Lynne,
I agree--it's amazing how a little sun and warm weather can improve one's attitude.

Hi Gaelyn,
The neighbor's yard is basically a junkyard and I'm pretty sure they don't know or care what's living out there, so that makes it a good habitat for all sorts of wild creatures.
I love Sophie too--she's a good cuddler.

Hi Mom,
I'm glad you got to enjoy some time outside on Saturday--even if you were doing chores. I'm sure you were glad to get those lights down finally.

Hi Red,
I usually only see them as road kill too. They move so darn slow. I was really surprised the first time I saw one out in the backyard. Sophie thought it was a cat and took off after it before I could stop her. She scared that poor possum to "death" and I got to take a good look at it "playing possum" before it came alive again and ambled away.

Hi Diane,
I usually only see the backyard possums at night too. This one must have woken up awful hungry to venture out in the daytime.

Hi Ruth,
Our January thaw waited until the last day. According to the record keepers, this has been our coldest January since 1979. I'm glad it's finally over and we're that much closer to spring now.

Aw Mary, we never found that owl. Hopefully it's still around next weekend and we have some time to try again.

Hi Deb,
It's nice to have some of the snow and ice chipped off sidewalks. And if nothing else, having the sun shine into the house all days keeps the furnace from running (I got my gas bill on Sat. and it wasn't pretty!)

Hi Donna,
My mom used to have a big ol' grandaddy possum in her backyard and its ears were all frozen off and his tail was only about 6 inches long. Minnesota winters can be pretty hard on those un-furred extremities.

Hi Kallen,
I was pretty surprised to see this possum out in the daytime. Maybe I can substitute a possum for a groundhog to help predict when spring will arrive! Either way, I think we've probably got at least 8 more weeks of winter here in Minnesota.

Hi Troutbirder,
We never did find that owl. I hope to try again next weekend. It's really flat over that way--reminded me and Mr. Johnson a whole lot of the old pheasant hunting areas south of Spring Valley.

Hi Cindy,
I'm glad you got to see both of the owls. I would have been excited to see those crossbills too. I'm hoping we can try it again this coming weekend.

Hi Beth,
I hope the warmer weather has gotten to you by now. It was really nice while it lasted--I even got to skip the long johns for one day!

Hi Jayne,
No snowy owl photos yet.....hopefully next weekend!

Hi Mon@rch,
I'm waiting for warblers too, but did hear the cardinals singing "what cheer" on Sunday morning, so that was encouraging.

Hi Marie and welcome to my blog all the way from Neenah (an area I'm familiar with from visiting grandparents and relatives there). I look forward to visiting your blog and learning more about your Wisconsin backyard.

Hi Cindie,
Your possum story made me chuckle. That must have been one heckuva surprise for you AND the possum!

Hi Kelly,
No luck with the Snowy yet, but I'm not giving up.

Hi Shelley,
My animals love the sun. Our other dog used to lay in the sun until she was panting--then she'd get up for a little while to get a drink and cool off and in 10 minutes, she was right back in the sun. They're so funny.