Full disclosure: March is not my favorite month. It’s a month of walking through mud to get to the icy places where you’re in danger of falling if you don’t take tiny baby steps, covering about 6 inches at a time. Then you cross the ice, and slip in the mud and fall down anyway. Besides, the month itself is too damn long, and is full of yearning for a real spring that hides just behind the clouds, and teases you relentlessly.
Ah, but, there’s also a lot to be thankful for! It’s a time of more daylight, and returning Sandhill Cranes, and Chickadees singing their haunting spring song, Whoo hee! Whoo hee!
This week it’s all photographs again (I’m going to make it a monthly feature), and why not lead off with a Black-capped Chickadee?
The chickadee was at a friend’s feeder (thanks Nancy and Jim!), along with another of my favorites, the White-breasted Nuthatch, who gets “cool-factor” points for being able to walk straight down a tree trunk as easily up walking up. Both species tend to travel together during the winter–more eyes and ears to keep a look out for predators (mostly hawks, owls and shrikes).
And look! Flowers! No kidding, these are Snowdrops against a house, encouraged by a southern exposure. These are at friend Donna’s house; our few Snowdrops got manged when we remodeled, but I am not going through another year without planting a bunch for the farm. (And Skip got to work sheep briefly while we were there. Thank you Donna!)
We took the dogs on a walk yesterday to Brigham Park, blithely wearing our spring jackets and light hats. It had been 40 degrees the day before, sunny and no wind, and I kept having to take off layers while walking the dogs. Whoops, because the temperature the next day may have been 40, but it was damp and windy and was really, really cold. Jim and I apologized to the dogs and kept the walk short.
But the woods look hauntingly beautiful, don’t they?
I also tried this weekend to get a good shot of Skip’s mighty mane. He is in full winter coat, and is looking a little movie-starish. (Please do not repeat that around him.) I never quite got the shot I wanted, but he does still look rather elegant.
No elegance here, with his ears flopped up all skiwampus (that actually is word, but I had to look up the spelling). If you find his left front leg after the snow melts let me know; it’s apparently fallen off.
Here’s a paw update from Maggie: Both dogs are doing well right now. Ironically, it was Maggie’s paws that ended up suffering the most from what I am guessing was “frostnip.” She ended up with deep cracks in the large pads on her back paws, which my vet believes were from nip or bite, one or the other.
Maggie has endured me massaging all number of things into her paw pads, but I can tell you that Udder Balm, which is truly good for cracked pads, was detested by both her and Skip. I have absolutely no idea why. It wasn’t having their paws massaged, and I doubt it wasn’t the feel of it, which was no different than what I am using now. My wild guess is that they hated the smell. But Maggie seems to be very happy with Queen Bee’s Lotion Bar. (Which is for hand and cuticle care and made locally at an alpaca farm. What’s not to love?)
Queen Bee’s is the only thing I’ve found that can salvage my dry, miserable hands during the winter and after gardening. It’s made of Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax and Vitamine E. The dogs react to it as if I smeared food onto their feet, so no wonder they like it. I just keep massaging it in before they can lick it off and Maggie’s paws are healing beautifully. (I’m still waiting on some of the boots I ordered, more on that when they come.)
On another note, most of the flowers inside are long gone, but my “Christmas Cactus” is in full bloom. I’m usually late to the party, so blooms that are two months late are par for the course. But I couldn’t be happier to see some color, I’m just happy to see such vibrant color.
The second to the last word is from Skip, who just about never gives me a ‘side eye,’ but here he is after I got out the Udder Balm last week. Yeah, that’s been retired.
The very last word goes to all our friends in Texas, who have been through a dystopian nightmare practically beyond belief. My oldest sister, who lives in San Antonio, tells me that many of their friends JUST got drinking water back a few days ago, and I hear that some people are still without it. Between the frigid temperatures, lack of electricity, flooding from burst pipes, lack of food, inability to get medicine… it’s been a nightmare for so many. Here’s a link to a list of places to send help. If you’re in Texas and have a favorite non-profit who is helping all the people and other animals down there, please let us know. I myself would add the Red Cross, who I know has been working non-stop, and the ASPCA who evacuated dogs and cats from shelters and transported them to the northeast.
Also, I know it wasn’t just Texas that was affected–please tell us your stories no matter where you live, along with ways you think that the rest of us might be able to help. Let’s be careful out there, and take care of each other as best we can.