Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This Morning’s White Fluff

What a beautiful sight this morning—just a flake over two inches of fluffy white snow. Yes, I fired up our snowblower and cleared our long driveway—and part of a neighbor’s too—quickly, in an hour and a quarter.

The wind was starting to pick up, blowing sheets of fluff from our neighbor’s pines. I paused a few minutes to record the fluff before the wind whipped it into the next county or the sun, which was rising above the eastern line of white pines, softened it to mush. Fat chance of the latter, I thought, with high temperature today forecast to reach about 32° F.

In the back yard I paused to admire geometric snow designs in the niches of a red concrete-block retaining wall. The wall faces south, so the red concrete likely will absorb enough solar heat to melt the snow designs before the sun surrenders again to a frigid night.

Then I photographed a coneflower seed head with a fluffy white cap that disappeared in a gust of wind as I watched.

I don’t deadhead or cut perennials to the ground after hard frosts in October or November. I let them stand. I think they add character to gardens during the bleak winter months.

Ellen enjoys watching chipping sparrows dine on the seed heads of our fountain grass in early winter. The small birds hop onto a seed head and peck away as the long stem slowly curves to the ground. Several species pilfer seeds from the coneflowers in fall and early winter—goldfinches, house finches, song sparrows.

But I suppose birds weeks ago have eaten all the fountain grass and coneflower seeds. I’ve got to think about cutting back last year’s perennial remains someday soon—perhaps some warmer day—in February or March.


  1. What a sharp fella you are, Bob! A fun use of alliteration in your fascinating story today. :)

  2. Oh, I could feel the cold air, and hear the finches twitter, too. I love this piece you wrote.

  3. Thanks, Gladys. Fluffy snow must turn on my internal poet, or at least my rhyming, gene, maybe because I can just happily snow-blow it away in a few minutes. Wet snow definitely turns it off, perhaps because that takes a lot of work.

    Since we have some snow cover today, our black oil sunflower seed feeder has been extra busy. At one point three pairs of cardinals were jockeying for position. Spring must be just around the corner because the mail cardinals are getting redder and redder, almost phosphorescent.