Monday afternoon, there were lines at the gas pumps and at the grocery store, as if we lived in the city. Most everybody in town has been taking the weather predictions seriously ever since our big ice storm 2 years ago. This time we skated. A small layer of ice now covers the landscape with a light snow on top. Most noticeable, however, is the cold. Even Barley, the snow dog, is happy to get back inside after our brief excursions out of doors.
Wild creatures have been stocking up, too. Our regulars, 7 deer and 4 Tom turkeys, are coming around more often, looking for corn, and scores of birds hop and peck around the feeders. Yesterday afternoon 3 pair of mallards dropped into our pond for a little swim. They must have found something good to eat, because their heads kept bobbing under the water while their ruffly backsides tipped straight up in the air. They were gone before dark, undoubtably on to larger waters that wouldn't freeze overnight.
At the pond this morning, mourning doves flew away as we approached, crying the high pitched trill that signals distress. I felt like an apology was due for displacing them from their shelter in the willows, but by the time we had rounded the pond, they were already flying back.
The open spaces are mostly vacated on this cold night, and the roost trees, bedding areas, and dens have already filled up. At dawn, it will start all over again.