|winter sunrise at the ridge|
I couldn't wait to see what I had captured on the game cams this time. More bear maybe? Unfortunately, I had aimed both cameras toward the sun (one somewhat toward sunrise and one directly at sunset). So most of my photos turned out to be abstract sun glares.
There are a few photos of the constant parade of does and young deer parading through my yard. I am starting to call my yard "the nursery". I still don't have any photos of the big buck that scrapes up my trees. And sadly, my Japanese maple will likely die as the bark is completely scraped away.
It was so cold and windy that all the birds had made themselves scarce. I walked to the bottom of my land (a steep hill in the woods) and found bluebirds there. But none up near the nesting box. Despite the lack of birds, I made a rope and bowl bird feeder, filled and hung my glass bird feeder, and hung a suet feeder for the woodpeckers.
The rope and bowl feeder was made with things I had laying around up there. And I filled it with meal worms specifically for the bluebirds. Eventually I'll buy a "real" bluebird feeder.
I don't know what time of year is best to clean out the nest box. I didn't even try during this trip because everything else was so frozen shut.
As I was packing up to leave, I noticed an entire flock of Eastern Pheobes landing to peck around in the grass in my yard. I thought of my daughter-in-law. I believe she said that Eastern Pheobes are her favorite birds (is that sarcasm?).
One of the best things about cold weather camping - keeping warm with the wood stove and cooking at the same time. I made a wonderful roast beef and potatoes barbacoa meal.
|YUM! Barbacoa beef and potatoes on the woodstove|
I'm getting good at getting that wood stove going in a way that lets me sleep for hours at a time. Instead of waking up freezing every two hours. That sleeping bag is also the best for my needs. It turned out to be one of the best purchases for The Shack I've made. It is roomy enough for me and both dogs at my feet.
The cold side of The Shack was 20 F degrees most of the time. I didn't move the thermometer to the warm side, but it was almost - not quite - t-shirt and jeans warm. During the day. During the night it was "see your breath" cold if you were outside of the sleeping bag.
Frigid Weather Lessons Learned:
I take care to not leave liquids there to freeze and bust the container, then leak as they thaw. But I didn't realize that everything else freezes.
My game cams weren't wet...but they were frozen shut. The locks that secure them, frozen shut. The fireplace lighters I use, frozen. They only provided a very sluggish flame after I warmed them under my clothes. I almost didn't have a way to light the wood stove. And, don't think that in the heat of the summer you will wait until the cold to wash the windows. If it's too cold, the vinegar water just freezes to the glass!
I had so smartly stacked much of the wood on the deck, just outside of the sliding balcony door. Not thinking that the door would also freeze shut. Good thing I had that pile of wood inside. The rest I just carried around to the other door.
Does it sound like a miserable time to go camping? Really, it's not. The dogs have their jackets. I wear my layers. The sleeping bag I chose was perfect for us. The night sky is clear and the stars are close and bright. There are no bugs. I can walk in the woods with no fear of snakes. And there are no spider webs to walk into. I didn't bring home any poison ivy itchies.
I'm glad to be back to the apartment, only for the hot running water. I look forward to the day I have a real bed and hot running water up on my ridge.