“Feed the Birds”

With a title alluding to Mary Poppins, evidently in a fine production as a Broadway musical right now (Janet had a friend attend with his family in December), what I am really writing about is, sigh, the big storm. Again…

(I will avoid the usual references to groundhogs trapped miserably in their burrows, particularly since I am writing the day before Groundhog Day. Weʼll let the link be our only acknowledgment of the “holiday.”) Heading toward noon on Tuesday, the storm is coming! All the TV stations seem to be altering their forecasts for the worse. Fun. I was hoping for the weatherpeople to have gotten overexcited, and I guess now that I hoped wrong.

The noon radar, Tuesday, February 1, from KWQC, channel 6 in Davenport — from their Facebook page.

Tuesday morning I scraped away less than two inches of snow from the first gust of frozen precipitation (this storm was supposed to arrive in two doses — a small one followed by the massive avalanche from heaven), including about half the street in front of the house. Of course the plow came through just after I had gotten out of all my winter outdoor clothes, even though I stalled a bit making the bed and doing a few other things inside. So I got redressed and cleared away what amazingly little had filled the very end of the drive and the gutter. (Are our city workers on the plows watching out for us this year? Thank you.)

The little gray-brown birdies eating (before I filled the feeder). Apologies for shooting through the screened window, but the little greedsters do scare so easily…

Then I spent the rest of the morning more or less just keeping up on the weather as the storm gradually encroached on eastern Iowa from the south and west. I read a little, I think a single chapter in The Swords of Lankhmar, checked e-mail and Facebook updates, looked at online radar repeatedly, kept e-mailing weather updates to The Lovely One, and listened to the wind howl past the house. I also watched the birds at the bird feeder.

For about three days after we installed the feeder we had no birds, but tiny gray-brown ones with white breasts (finches? sparrows?) started showing up between 8:00 and 10:00 each morning after that, enough of them, greedy little beggars, that I had to refill the feeder last Saturday. As I watched Tuesday morning, I realized I should fill the feeder again before the storm came in.

So around 11:00, having gotten dressed, I grabbed a two-cup measuring cup (along with my house key, money, losing lottery tickets and MegaMillions and PowerBall play sheets) and climbed into my new boots for a little hike around the house to the feeder. Once the bird-food supply had been replenished and the bag of seed returned to the garage, I trekked off, booted, for Fareway in order to buy some turkey bacon for BLTs someday and more losing lottery tickets (I just wish that money went straight to education like it used to in Iowa; that made my one-in-63,000,000 chance of winning riches reasonable or at least defensible). When I got back, I left the grocery sack in the garage and grabbed my shovel to scrape away what snow had drifted in since 6:00 in the morning (and it was a noticeable amount), figuring I had better be ready for the big blizzard to start in the afternoon.

This morning, Wednesday, I assume I have the snowblower out (in a few hours from the time this post appears) to redistribute, off our driveway and the street in front, the foot or more of new snow weʼre supposed to get last night. (This time delay between composition and posting is getting me a little confused as the snow hasnʼt even started yet, here, at noon on Tuesday, as I dictate.) And I assume Iʼll be going out several more times with blower or shovel to keep our driveway clear. The repetitious self-exhaustion in the winter wilderness is the reason I decided to post this bit of pointless diary, since I figure I wonʼt have much time to create something new (and better) for tomorrow.

Janetʼs planning to come home early from work on Tuesday; I donʼt know when for sure. At least she figured out a way to not get trapped in Dubuque overnight last night. The interesting development will be if she decides even to try to go today/Wednesday. I know most of the schools are seriously planning, unofficially so far, to be closed today. Unofficially, of course, in case the storm doesnʼt quite measure up to the forecast. Janet already had me cancel and reschedule our haircuts from Tuesday night to a little later in the week. Iʼm going to have the driveway cleared in case she wants to leave, but I donʼt think she should, if this mammoth invasion of winter wickedness measures up to its potential. And it doesnʼt sound now like itʼs going to fizzle.

Unfortunately the weather seems to be the only thing lately I have thoughts about, so itʼs the only thing I write about, so itʼs the only thing you have here to read about. Sorry about that.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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