Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year Everyone. So far it's been a pretty typical Minnesota New Year's weekend. Here's what the thermometer told us at 8:00 this morning.Today we're not expecting to get above zero, but that's OK because we have plenty of warm clothes, lots of wood for the fireplace and we don't have to shovel cold! Plus the sun has been shining all day so at least it looks a bit warmer than it actually is outside! Sounds like the rest of the week isn't going to be quite as cold -- at least our daytime highs are predicted to be above zero!

Sophie's getting a lot of use from her sweater during these cold days. I can tell she doesn't mind wearing it outside because she's very cooperative when it's time to put it on her. She used to growl when I put her paws through the armholes, but now when I get her dressed, she actually lifts her paw for me to put the sweater on. Good Doggeh! (I'd knit her some socks too if I could figure out a way to keep them on her feet!)
Here's a picture of the one clever starling that's figured out how to get suet from the log feeder. The bird scoots up inside the cage and puts one foot on the cage and one foot on the log to eat its fill of suet. It's really awkward looking, but very effective for the starling......and so far, this is the only starling who's managed to do this.


This morning when I was out filling birdfeeders, I came across something very interesting in the backyard......something I haven't seen here for quite a few years......and something so exciting that I ran back to the house and yelled for Mr. Johnson to run and get me my camera really fast! "What could possibly be that exciting for her?" you're asking yourself. Well, here's what it was -- a decapitated rabbit!To the best of my knowledge, there's only 1 predator that would leave a decapitated rabbit and that's a Great-Horned Owl. I know there are GHOWs in the neighborhood even though we haven't heard them hooting lately. Several years ago, I found a number of decapitated rabbits in my backyard and at that time, I had to ask someone what was going on because I had no idea what animal would do that.

We have an overabundance of bunnies in the backyard again this winter, so hopefully the owl will remember and visit my backyard bunny buffet again soon. I only wish I had been able to see the owl with this bunny last night because this took place about 20 yards outside my back door!


Anonymous said...

That's a pretty chilly reading for the AM, we only had -20.
That's an impressive bunny pic, a great horned owl. WOW, in your yard. I love to hear them hoot on cold winter nites.


Richard said...

My thermometer read about the same as yours but the 2 different weatherbugs said -27. Actually didn't feel that cold out to me but then I didn't stay out long either. Suppose to be just as cold tonight.

Gaelyn said...

Oh brrrrrr, that's way toooo cold. Sure glad Sophie has a sweater.
Hope you get to see the GHOWL in action. Just part of the web of life.
Stay warm and enjoy what sunshine you can.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can't whine to you about how cold our weather was for the CBC we did today. Ha... What excitement to have a GRHOOW in your garden. That is one way to keep those pesky bunnies in control. Happy New Year. Try to stay warm.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
Our thermometer might be a bit off -- at least it doesn't agree with what the "official" airport temp was.

Hi Richard,
The sun shining and very little wind makes a lot of difference in how cold it actually feels, don't you think? (so does staying inside knitting all day!)

Hi Gaelyn,
I'm just looking forward to when the temps get back up into the 20s again!
I'd love to see a Great Horned Owl in the daytime, but I've never spotted them in the neighborhood.

Hi Lisa,
Glad you had good westher for your CBC. Our cold weather gives me a chance to get all my nice wool sweaters out of the closet again!

Deb said...

Brrr!!! Our thermometer read about -14, but the one by the cabin was lower. We have an abundance of rabbit tracks in our yard, I kind of wish a great horned owl would show up here!

Mama Pea said...

Once again you had it colder than we did in NE Minnesota. Our temp first thing this morning was just -16°. But we also had a wicked wind which made it really awful to be out.

Why wouldn't the GHOWL come back to take the body of the rabbit, too? Surely he (the owl) could carry that off without too much trouble.

Vondi said...

Re: Sophie's booties... Knit long suspenders going up the outside of her legs and attache them to a button on top of her shoulders. We have tiny toy fox terriers... wish I could knit. That's what I'd do for them. They have mock suede and shearling lamb coats. Cute but no booties... Those tiny feet and legs worry me.

And yes, in the cold weather they, too, willingly come and stand for their coats to go on.

Jayne said...

LOL... and we are whining that our highs will only be in the 30's this week. Yes, we're just wimps! So, I have a stupid question Ruthie. Why would the owl only decapitate and not take the body of the rabbit to eat?

Taos Sunflower said...

Now there's some cold temps, girlfriend!!!! Yikes!
Love the dog sweater. Why do you think the owl left the body behind? Nosey in Taos.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Deb,
We have so many bunnies in the backyard....there are usually at least 2 at every ground feeder tray for most of the night. I'd rather have the owl get them than have my neighbor shooting them though!

Hi Mama Pea,
I'm amazed how much nicer it is when the wind isn't blowing. It definitely makes those sub-zero temps much more bearable.
I'm checking with some experts on the owl's eating habits and will do a blog post when I get a more definitive answer to the question.

Hi Vondi,
I've seen the sled dogs up north that wear little polar fleece booties with a velcro strap around the ankle. I could probably come up with something pretty similar in a knitted bootie too.

Hi Jayne,
It's typical Minnesota January weather, but I can remember back in the 70's when we used to have days & days when the temps never got above zero, so this is really pretty manageable for us. And to be perfectly honest, I'd rather have cold than the hot & humid summers you have in Georgia!

Hi Martie,
We're really going thru the wood with keeping that fireplace stoked, but I'm thankful we have a warm house and temps are predicted to moderate a little bit in the coming week.
I'll let you know when I find out more information on the owl's eating habits.

Stephen said...

Happy New Year Ruthie.

A little bit of excitement occurred this AM here. We saw a red-headed woodpecker. The down side is that it was spotted on the ill Walnut Tree in the back yard, along with my being too slow with the camera!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Stephen,
Red-Headed Woodpecker?? AWESOME! That would be so exciting for me too. And a dead or dieing walnut tree would be the perfect spot for a woodpecker to excavate a new home! Keep your camera handy and be sure to keep me posted on future developments--especially if this woodpecker returns with a mate in spring!

Heather said...

Happy New Year, Ruthie! Wow, I thought it was cold here, but we haven't gone below 0 yet, so I guess we're doin' all right! Sophie looks so cute in her sweater. I'm sure she really appreciates it in such frigid temps. So the GHOW decapitates the bunny. Why just the head? Why doesn't it take the whole thing? Too heavy to carry away quickly? I would guess it's too dangerous/risky to just sit there and munch on it... do you have any more info about this particular feeding habit?

RuthieJ said...

Hi Heather,
Sophie especially likes the fact that her sweater was custom-knitted by her mom! I definitely think blue is her color, don't you?
Hope you checked my most recent blog post for answers to the strange owl eating habits. :-)

Larry said...

Wow-don't want to mess with those Great horned Owls.You won't catch me hopping around in a bunny suit at night where there are GH Owls!