Greetings from a snow covered Treehouse! Deep winter decided to pay us a visit on Sunday and I woke up to 20cm of snow overnight with more falling in the days after. I think the gnomes snuck into Vrouw Holle‘s cottage and shook up the pillows real good cause we even had a proper snow flurry and wind gushing snow storm for some days.
There are icicles hanging from my windows partly covered by a pile of snow. One of my cats has very helpfully tried to lick it away but so far she hasn’t really made a dent from the inside side of the window… It’s funny to see how fascinated they have been with the snowfall and how interested they are in observing all the changes of this sudden outside winter wonderland.
A snow storm accompanied by such an amount of snow has become pretty rare in these parts. I have seen beautifully cold and white winters in my lifetime over here and have magical snow memories of years past, but in the last decade those moments have thinned out due to the warming of the earth and I will admit that I had not thought that a week such as the one we’ve just had and with more coming on the way was still in the cards for us.
As someone who loves winter I’ve been having the absolute time of my life here this week and I’ve been getting out there as much as I could and as the work week and covid-19 limitations would allow (there is still an evening curfew over here). I thought I would come here to save these moments I’m cherishing so much and also to share that winter joy with you in this photo-heavy tour of our local woodland.
Care to come on a winter walk with us?
I’ve seen lots of birds this week. They have been so confused about this sudden freezing weather. I worry some might be caught out by the end of it. I’ve spotted a lot of water birds; coots, various ducks, blue heron, Egyptian geese, greylag geese and great cormorants as well as small song birds such red robins, various types of tit birds, goldcrests, wrens, woodpeckers and sparrows trying to gather a meal in the cold.
The day before the snow arrived I made some bird feed cakes for the neighbourhood birds (mostly seeds and nuts with a bit of fat to hold it together). It was heartening to see some of our regular birds make appearances again after the worst of the storm had passed. In the days after they have been making more frequent appearances than usual in an effort to gather a meal and stay warm. I know that as much as I’ve been enjoying this weather, it’s been really tough for them so late in the season.
The frost came pretty much out of the blue. We had a few days of 11 degrees, then one transitional day and then the ice arrived. It’s absurd now to think that I was actually planning to do some early spring garden upkeep these days. When it still looked like it would be freezing mildly I wasn’t planning to do much in terms of garden protection on the balcony but we are dipping deeper in the sub zero temperatures now with minus 10 and 15 a certainty and a possibility to touch the minus 20, so something had to be done.
The tree is still young and everything on the balcony is in pots which makes it all more vulnerable to frost. So what we did was pack the lot as best as we could and put the plants in a more sheltered place. The tree is protected by a twig screen and a sheet specifically made to protect trees and plants from frost. It was a bit heartbreaking to see our flock of regularly visiting birds at a loss as to why their regular sources of bird feed (a coconut shell filled with nuts and fat and a wooden house with a jar of peanut butter) had been moved around so suddenly. Luckily, the perceptive vanguard of the group soon found the new temporary locations and the rest followed suit!
Whenever it looks like this country gets more than a day of frost, it’s not long until all the talk in town turns to the canals and ponds freezing over and the chance of ice skating. Of course, speculation on the possibility of the elusive elfstedentocht could not be avoided… it was to be expected, I hardly would’ve recognized this country if it hadn’t. Luckily the nation was swiftly reminded that we are in fact in a pandemic and all expectations on big organized events are non existent.
That said, I’m really thankful for this window of time. Seeing other people enjoy it has been good too; kids on sledges everywhere, folk skiing in town and people checking the strength of ice on a daily basis. My brother has been sending me daily videos of my nephew’s first sledging experiences and his first forays into building snow sculptures (in the process he has become a big fan of the the Snowman animated short). It feels like a much needed breath of fresh air while we embark on our second pandemic year. Seeing our regular stomping grounds covered in snow and ice was I suppose a much welcomed change of scenery.
We are supposed to be in sub zero temperatures for a bit longer yet so you can be sure that I’ll be out there taking it in as much as I can.
Sending you warmth and snow,