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On the Bright Side: Bluebird in the Snow 

Yesterday was an icy cold, snowy day for many of us here in the Southeast.Today our temperatures are in the 20s after an overnight low of 9 F. Yesterday's snow caused hundreds of wrecks and incredible traffic snarls. What was predicted to be a dusting for us turned out to be a 2-inch snowfall. That doesn't sound impressive; but within an hour, layers of slippery ice and compacted snow covered the streets. Many thousands left their offices and tried to get home or tried to reach their children at schools, only to be faced with impassable roads.

My own brother finally got to his home in the wee hours of the morning today. He had to park his car and walk the last mile. He was fortunate. Others spent a miserable night in their cars waiting for help. Even helicopters were sent to rescue some whose cars were stranded on the interstate.

Northerners may wonder how such a small amount of snow can create such problems, but here in the Deep South we are ill equipped without snow plows or snow chains for our cars. Some have 4-wheel drive, but even those vehicles had difficulty with treacherously slippery roads and routes blocked by accidents. We do have some trucks prepared to dump sand on overpasses, but yesterday it was too little, too late.

On the bright side: I was fortunately at home with a blazing fire in the fireplace. I was delighted to capture several shots of a bluebird who was eating berries from a tree near my kitchen door. He was a ball of fluff as he, too, was trying to stay warm:

Snow doesn't happen every year here, so I had to document the event. I put on two pairs of socks, sweat pants over my jeans, two sweaters, a thick scarf, a toboggan, and a heavy, hooded coat with a fury lining. No gloves, because I can't manage my camera with gloves. I waddled outside, and I was glad for my cane for extra stability. (Due to nerve damage, I still have not weaned myself from the cane, six months after hip surgery.)

I know that snow scenes around my garden are not very impressive, compared to others farther north, but here are a few shots I took as I briefly braved the frigid air:

The creature on the lower left, above, is an ancient rubber lizard that long ago was a plaything for my children. For over fifteen years, he has lain on a big rock in the front garden. He looks ferocious, but he only eats the bad guys. You may also be interested in my post from a couple years ago,  A Snowy Monster and Other Things in My Garden.

Now, I must get out some cooler clothes, as we are supposed to be up in the 60's this Saturday. Little bluebird, warm weather is coming!


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Reader Comments (25)

Cute bluebird photos! I understand the "not prepared for" issue. When you don't experience a certain type of weather much, it can be overwhelming. And I don't think any of us can really prepare for ice--it's impossible to walk or drive on. Your winter photos are fantastic! I'm more of a wimp than you are, and I live in Wisconsin! ;-)

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

Your hard-earned pictures of the bluebird are wonderful! I'm glad he was able to find sustenance in your garden. The morning news was full of stories about the hazards of this most recent snowstorm - it's lucky that you were able to avoid the roads. Can you imagine how coastal southern California would respond if we ever got snow? We have a hard enough time here when it rains!

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

It is indeed impressive, considering how rare snow is in your area. Doesn't it transform the look of everything? Even an inch or two makes it look so different. The bluebird shots are wonderful!

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Your bluebird pictures are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them. I'll be so happy when this cold weather breaks.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara H.

Snow, when it falls can be a nuisance. Most of England is ill equipped and heavy snowfall can wreak havoc much like what happened there. I personally rather not have any at all but don't mind it at countries that embrace it and rely on it. At least it looks pretty anyway!

Very cute bluebird btw! :)

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Beautiful photos! The top photo would be a great Christmas card! I, too, was glad to be snug at home, not needing to get out anywhere during this bitterly cold spell. In Huntsville, we just got the promised dusting but even that turned icy. Glad we finally get above freezing today!

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

I have lived in WI, CO, ME and now "North Country" but also spent a brief time in MO. I know what a little snow can do without the benefit of the big snow plows and SALT. Salt seems to be the only thing that keeps the roads passable. In CO they would sand but it would just become a slushy mess. In Canada they stopped using salt and my husband and I were lucky to make it home. Albeit strange, your garden looks lovely in snow! Snow tends to bring out the bones of the garden. The blue bird is extra special. Hope everyone is home safe and sound soon with a blazing fire!

Oh, poor little bird! I would hate to have to stay out in that weather! Glad to hear your brother got home fine. It looks like a big mess on the news. We didn't get much of the ice and snow here - just cold. The photos of your garden in the snow are beautiful (well, except for the lizard. He's not exactly beautiful, just plain scary peeking out like that!). We generally get our worst weather in February. Makes me wonder what it will bring this year!

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

Beautiful photos of your bluebird, I hope he managed to keep warm. Snow can be a real problem when it comes unexpectedly, we don't have enough over here to warrant buying all the machinery that would be needed, we just have to rely on the roads being gritted with sand and salt.. Hope you stay safe and warm!

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

Thank you everybody for your comments! I appreciate them very much! HolleyGarden, the bluebird, as well as a companion, were both taking shelter in a nearby bluebird house. I was concerned about them, and I was happy to see both of them this morning, back to eating those berries! Deb

January 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Beautiful pictures of the bluebird in the winter scenery.
Keep warm !
Greeting !

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEla

well, the snow looks lovely but I'm well aware of the 'it doesn't happen regularly here so we're not going to prepare for it'. Happens all the time in Southern England and of course here in central Italy we usually only get snow at altitude. Be careful Debbie, and bad hip and a cane are not a good combination with ice and snow.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Glad you and the bluebird survived. I really like snow but not to drive in, it is the cold and the ice that I could do without.

I love your bluebird pictures!! All of your pictures are really good. :-)

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermichael

You captured such beautiful pictures of that blue bird. I've only ever seen them for the first time last summer at the farm. They are gorgeous.

Here's to that unexpected snow fall leaving without any more damage.


January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

I enjoyed your snow pics and one simply must capture snow when it so seldom snows in the south. My sister lives in Atlanta and it was horrible up there but her employer shooed them out at 1 pm the day it started to snow. I half-wished it would snow for us, too, in North Florida but it didn't.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Lovely pictures of the birds and the winter scenery, your description of snowfall and everything that comes with it sounds just like here in London! Over here it rarely snows and usually just once or twice – some winters we have no snowfall at all. But when we have a day pr two with big snowfalls like we had last winter it creates havoc and standstill and the hole country is at an emergency situation.

I wondered about your dressing-up for going out….I understood everything you were wearing, except ‘toboggan’ ? Over here that means a sled you can sit on downhill on the snow, what does it mean in America? I totally get it if you brought a toboggan to have a ride on in the snow, but from what you wrote it seems you were wearing it because it was cold…. now somehow that doesn’t seem logic :-)

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

Hello Helene! In the dictionary toboggan is a exactly what you describe, but for some reason here it refers to a warm knitted cap. I have never had a real snow sled. When I was a child, on the rare occasions we had snow, we would improvise with cardboard boxes, rubber rafts, and trash can lids! Deb

February 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Hi Deb
I totally sympathize with your area receiving snow. I know that you don't usually get it so how can you clear it and cope? It's tough.
Also very sorry to hear there's nerve damage after your hip replacement. That stinks.
But on the happiest note - I adored the chubby little bluebird. Glad he made your day - he made mine!

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

Luckily we didn't have the traffic disasters here; snow was forecast and everyone was forewarned; plus, a big plus, we didn't have ice under the snow. DH's office just started at noon on Wed and Thurs and had no office hours Thurs night. We'd gone a couple of years without snow. I have to laugh when I remember how I thought we'd rarely if ever see snow when we moved to Smithfield, about an hour south and east of my home town of Durham. That hasn't been the case at all. I thought that because Greensboro, a city an hour west of my home town, got so much more snow than we did that the inverse difference would apply to Smithfield. We've even seen a full foot here, while my hometown got 2. I am always in awe when I read in your profile that you've gotten 3 feet before! The most I've ever seen in my life at once was a storm in Durham that left 2 feet, and another when we lived in western PA that also left 2 feet.

Your bluebird looks very cute but very cold. I'll bet he was happy to have those berries!

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

So pretty with the bluebird in the snow! I remember a similar event happened in Raleigh when I was teaching there several years ago. They let the schools out later than they should when the snow started coming down earlier and harder than they thought. Roads were a wreck and it took people hours to get home. Many ended up in hotels or in their cars overnight then, too (though it wasn't quite as bad as this current storm). I remember following a bus home from the school, and that poor bus was sliding all over the road from the ice. After that, the school board was much more quick to cancel school if snow was forecasted! The South just isn't equipped to deal with all that ice. I feel bad for everyone who was stuck for so long in that weather.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

The bluebird looks as shocked as the people are around there. We don't have bluebirds in this area, not enough open space.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Deborah I am sorry to hear your recovery is slow and of the nerve damage. Your snow scenes are as impressive as any here...and I think even lovelier as they are so rare. Your bluebird is adorable. Mine endure lots of snow and frigid sub zero temps...yours will be so happy with the 60s.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

I'm glad you're safe and sound! When there are no plows to salt and sand, black ice becomes treacherous. We've experienced the same thing up here. I haven't seen any bluebirds yet but they could have come by when I'm at work. Bluebirds nest in the same house every year. Chickadees and sparrows try to claim it as their own, but the bluebirds always kick them out. Excellent photos! The snow does look pretty!

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

totally divine photo of bluebird in the snow. And very unusual lizard - reptiles usually hibernate in the snow! (lol)

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercatmint
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