Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February on Ice: There's a War Out Back

For some reason, I have done only one blogpost this month of hearts and flowers after putting up 26 last February. It wasn't for lack of enthusiasm for blogging. Now I know the reason. My psyche knew it was time to prepare for warfare.

It certainly sounds like a battleground out back right now. Large popping and cracking sounds are preceding the falling to the earth with a thud of large limbs and even whole trees. My stand of cedar trees -- my pride and joy and my cardinals' favorite haven -- is being decimated.

Yes, an ice storm is wreaking havoc here along the Grand Strand near the Atlantic Ocean. This is the second one in a month, but the latest is by far the worst, at least where we live. The sounds of trees breaking in two are ominous and nausea-inducing. It reminds me of the great ice storm of '51 when I was a kid in Tennessee. Yes, this one is a long way from reaching that level of devastation but we have another night of freezing precipitation -- and the wind is picking up.

Wonderdawg Wants to Counterattack the Ice Monster!

Remembering our feathered friends, I have ventured out on the ice a few times to keep them well supplied in seed. Their feeders are encased in ice, so they are mostly picking their food off the ground now, under protection of trees. At this point, we have to hope the trees will continue to be there to offer protection; that Nature will spare them further damage.

It is hard to believe that the Great Backyard Bird Count starts Friday, Valentine's Day. We will certainly participate, but we may be wielding a saw in one hand and binoculars in the other while doing a lot of clean-up outdoors. I am just praying that we can save as many of our precious cedars as possible.

I have often wondered what kind of destruction a hurricane could bring to coastal Carolina, never dreaming that an ice storm could be the most imminent threat.

Senior Superdawg is terrified of the snap, crackle, and pop sounds, which remind her too much of thunderstorms or summertime fireworks. Dasher, the 3-year-old yellow lab visiting us for a few days, was also startled at first, but now is growling at the woodsy chaos, as if to warn the Ice Monster he has sharp fangs. I am wondering what to do now when the pups need to make a necessity trip outdoors. I will worry that a large limb might fall on them. They'll just have to take their chances.

Needless to say, the daily walks have been suspended. We're praying that thawing will begin soon, and we can get back on the trails -- after clearing them of broken limbs.

I hope to have further updates. Meanwhile, here are a few pictures:

© Robert G. Holland 2014

Sparrows and Warblers Ignore the Icicles


Daddy Cardinal Peeks  at Feeder From His Cedar Perch


Beautiful Cedars Are Sadly Suffering

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