Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Snow”

Winter Wonderland Once Again

As stated earlier, the travel bug has not bit us. We hunker down in winter and practice wishful thinking for warmer climates.

All in all, winter is for the birds. Really. That’s what we are doing for entertainment. We have enticed juncos, nuthatches, chickadees, sparrows, finches, a part time dove, and an infrequent flicker to our front yard with seed and such and sit back and enjoy the show.

Took Rocket J. Squirrel a few attempts to reach the feeder

We have a very basic feeder and try to keep it filled; however when it’s 19 degrees, with a brisky wind, finding alternative methods of feeding our feathered friends, like tossing food out the window for them onto the snow is the solution.

The seed buffet has garnered the attention of other critters: squirrels and deer. The squirrels are comical in how they try to avoid going through the snow to get to the food. They traverse on the branches above and tail twitch in frustration that they can’t quite reach the feeder. We spent a good hour observing how one squirrel finally took the plunge and dove into the snow, tunneling a track to feeder’s base to glean dropped seeds.

All you can eat seed buffet

The deer easily amble over to the feeder and lick seeds off the tray. They are not perturbed by our presence at the window.

We think this little guy looks like a burro so we have dubbed it Burrito

The most entertaining morning session was when the squirrel and deer arrived at the same time. The deer held their ground and would not acknowledge the squirrel’s attempts to mosey up to the seed feed. Old Rocket would inch up, tail twitching in anxiety and then Burrito would level a look that translated as “Excuse me?” and Rocket would hightail up the tree and pace the limb waiting, waiting, waiting for his turn.

Showdown at OK Feed and Seed

As for the birds—their territorial flutterings are reminiscent of playground squabbling. There is one white-crowned sparrow who is pro at fluffing up his feathers and chasing off the smaller birds from the seed buffet.

Like little kids playground squabbling

For most, the chosen winter sport is skiing, for us staying warm, while we watch from our chair side seats the front yard antics, suffices. Although, truthfully, after the third snow dump (and it’s still early December) I might just look into those Costco travel brochures that we pass by when we load up on birdseed. I imagine there are birds I can watch from a beachside balcony.

Winter Wonderland Solution

If life gives you snow, make a snowman.

Winter Reset Terms

Valentine’s Day reset winter by delivering eight inches of snow. I would have preferred a FDT delivery of daffodils.

I am in need of spring, that event that is a long time in finally appearing, where greenery festoons the landscape instead of mutations of whiteness. Snow is no longer pretty after three months, after it’s been shoveled, blowed, and pushed about.

February’s snow tends to be fickle. It doesn’t quite have the tenacity of January’s snow days. It’s vacillating between being fiercely winter and nicely spring. It’s as if it is acknowledging March is on the move and will definitely arrive with a spring in its step. Forget about that woodchuck and his shadowy ideas about how long we have to wait for spring. Keep him sleeping, thanks.

Last week’s unexpected snow day led me to build my annual snow guy. My students liked my snowman show and tell photo, and one class named him Perceval–Percy among his friends. 

As the snow continues to fall, and continues to hamper greener days from arriving, I thought it appropriate to dust off my snow terms list:

▪ lookitsnow:  first snow of the season–Nov/Dec

▪ itzsnowing: comment of the day until mid-January

▪ ucksnow:  bridge between Jan/Feb when people begin getting weary of shoveling, scraping, and slipping around in the stuff

▪ snizzle: the on off dance of snow and rain found in late February

▪ snain: a more serious form of snizzle

▪ smush: slushy snow of Feb/Mar

▪ smud: ground showing with snow patches, squashy walking usually around early March

▪ ohnosnow: snow when daffs coming up and flakes coming down in March/April

▪ nomohsnow: snowfall and meltaway tease of April/May

(some days there is the occasional variety to the landscape)

POM: April 27

I live in an area that definitely provides all four seasons–five, if mud, the one between winter and spring, counts. I couldn’t imagine living in an area where reading about snow through a Robert Frost poems is the closest a student would get to experiencing it. Although I am definitely not a fan of snow, it’s tedious place in our seasonal line up reminds me how much I appreciate the wondrous, warm, sunny days once they again make their appearance.

To days and lives spent in the false days of winter provided by glimpses of bad weather here is a poem that explores snow from a different perspective:

The Poetry of Bad Weather

Winter Wondering Land

Our region is experiencing the strangest winter. Usually the first snow hits around Thanksgiving and keeps increasing until even the snow aficionados are satisfied. Not this year. No snow outside. Nada. Nuttin. It felt more like Easter service than Advent Sunday service stepping outside of church recently. Sunny skies, a light, yet chillish breeze, a hint of better weather around the corner. I am not complaining. Not at all.

My idea of winter. See that touch of touch way up on the mountain? image: morguefile

Originally I grew up in the wet Northwest and snow at Christmas was an unexpected bonus. I even participated in the usual winter sports of skiing, skating, and sledding. I moved away and traded the dreary rainy winters for snowy ones. Change of pace? No, temporary insanity. Snow is definitely for the younger crowd. Growing older, having to deal with snow as an adult, the fun factor gets zipped out when one must zip into the expense of snow tires, the heave ho of shoveling snow, and surviving the tedium of four months of various shades and stages of this winter wonder as it passes from winter wonderland to icky icy mess.
Yet, Christmas is a bit more special with the lacings of snow. I’ll concede that point. Look at all those Christmas movies that require snow as part of their plot.
So, out of curiosity I hope you take my snow poll:
Show of hands, please…
“Bring on the snow!”
“No way, no snow.”
“Snow in the mountains only, thanks.”

The Language of Snow

Snow balls

Snow balls (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Just when I thought winter was truly on the way out that dratted phenomenon known as spring snow arrived.  It’s the “ha ha gotcha” of winter.  Not nice.  I had visions of puttering out in the yard, placing my yard ornaments and maybe even putting out the hammock.  After all, the temps had reached a searing 50 degrees.  The natives were donning shorts in anticipation.

While I have one word for snow: “yuck” the Inuits apparently have over a hundred.  Then again it could be a hoax.   If you are in need of describing snow maybe you can find one off this list:

The Eskimos’ *edited*Hundred Words for Snow

by Phil James

Fresh powder snow, snow crystals.

Fresh powder snow, snow crystals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

tlapa           powder snow
tlacringit      snow that is crusted on the surface
kayi            drifting snow
tlapat          still snow
klin            remembered snow
naklin          forgotten snow
tlamo           snow that falls in large wet flakes
tlatim          snow that falls in small flakes
tlaslo          snow that falls slowly
tlapinti        snow that falls quickly
kripya          snow that has melted and refrozen
tliyel          snow that has been marked by wolves
tliyelin        snow that has been marked by Eskimos
blotla          blowing snow
pactla          snow that has been packed down
hiryla          snow in beards
wa-ter          melted snow
tlayinq         snow mixed with mud
slimtla         snow that is crusted on top but soft underneath
kriplyana       snow that looks blue in the early morning
puntla          a mouthful of snow because you fibbed
allatla         baked snow
fritla          fried snow
gristla         deep fried snow
tidtla          snow used for cleaning
ertla           snow used by Eskimo teenagers for exquisite erotic rituals
kriyantli       snow bricks
hahatla         small packages of snow given as gag gifts
semtla          partially melted snow
ontla           snow on objects
intla           snow that has drifted indoors
nootlin         snow that doesn't stick
rotlana         quickly accumulating snow
skriniya        snow that never reaches the ground
bluwid          snow that's shaken down from objects in the wind
tlanid          snow that's shaken down and then mixes with sky-falling snow
talini          snow angels
blontla         snow that's shaken off in the mudroom
tlalman         snow sold to German tourists
tlalam          snow sold to American tourists
tlanip          snow sold to Japanese tourists
protla          snow packed around caribou meat
attla           snow that as it falls seems to create nice pictures
		in the air
sotla           snow sparkling with sunlight
tlun            snow sparkling with moonlight
astrila         snow sparkling with starlight
clim            snow sparkling with flashlight or headlight
tlapi           summer snow
krikaya         snow mixed with breath
ashtla          expected snow that's wagered on (depth, size of flakes)
tla-na-na       snow mixed with the sound of old rock and roll
		from a portable radio
trinkyi         first snow of the year
tronkyin        last snow of the year
shiya           snow at dawn
katiyana        night snow
tlinro          snow vapor
nyik            snow with flakes of widely varying size
ragnitla        two snowfalls at once, creating moire patterns
akitla          snow falling on water
privtla         snow melting in the spring rain
chahatlin       snow that makes a sizzling sound as it falls on water
hootlin         snow that makes a hissing sound as the
		individual flakes brush
geltla          snow dollars
briktla         good building snow
striktla        snow that's no good for building
erolinyat       snow drifts containing the imprint of crazy lovers
chachat         swirling snow that drives you nuts
krotla          snow that blinds you
tlarin          snow that can be sculpted into the delicate corsages
		Eskimo girls pin to their whale parkas at prom time
maxtla          snow that hides the whole village
tlayopi         snow drifts you fall into and die
truyi           avalanche of snow
tlapripta       snow that burns your scalp and eyelids
carpitla        snow glazed with ice
tla             ordinary snow

Since we, as in Anglo-Saxons (hope that isn’t offensive to anyone), lack the same depth of expressives, I’ve come up with my own:

In my region there are three recognizable seasons:

  • no snow

  • snow

  • mud

Snow terms to consider adopting into the English language:

  • lookitsnow:  first snow of the season–Nov/Dec

  • itzsnowing: comment of the day until January

  • ucksnow:  bridge between Jan/Feb when people begin getting weary of shoveling, scraping, and slipping around in the stuff

  • snizzle: the on off dance of snow and rain found in Jan/Feb

  • snain: a more serious form of snizzle

  • smush: slushy snow of Feb/Mar

  • smud: ground showing with snow patches, squashy walking usually around Feb/Mar

  • ohnosnow: snow when daffs coming up and flakes coming down in Mar/April

  • nomohsnow: snowfall and meltaway tease of April/May

I’m hoping the smush will quickly melt and we can get Spring back on track soon. Until then–

Wishing for Blue Skies
Cricket Muse

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