Good portions of the United States have had a miserable and dangerous time this past seven or eight days and portions of Kentucky have been trashed by repeat rounds of ice and sleet. The Twitter account of Chris Bailey, our local weatherman, is full of downed trees and power lines, blocked roads and ice-sheathed everything, along with bizarre videos of sleet pouring off of roofs like barrel-fulls of ball bearings. Several friends were without power or power and water both, though the main damage has been to the east of us. The snow and cold will linger a few more days.
Outdoors, all is quiet except for the birds. Our street has been white and rarely traveled for over a week.
At our house, we avoided a power outage this time, and the main concern has been feeding the birds, because everything is covered thus:
With two layers of ice on the ground, and most of the branches still encased, the birds can't get to food too easily. The below picture was at high magnification. The branches aren't blurry -- that's ice.
We put out multiple feeding stations: the hanging feeder for the titmice and finches, cardinals, chickadees and sparrows; pans under the porch overhang and sprinkled over the snow for the robins and starlings -- who fussed at each other until realizing there was plenty of food for all -- and bluejays, and crows. I spread peanut butter and seed on a pinecone and hung it next to the arbor vitae for the wee birds, but the bigger birds found it until driven away by a squirrel, who hung upside down on it and chomped away.
Here robins and a starling, feathers all puffed out against the cold, share the feeding pan in a protected spot next to the back door.
I took a walk this afternoon to take in the quiet and the sounds of the cardinals calling and a downy woodpecker somewhere up in a maple. Walking proved to be less than a silent affair: