When the weather people announced snow for Portland last week, I got excited.
“Lucky me”, I thought! “I’ll build a snowman!”
Anticipating cold temps, I plugged in my hummer feeder heater to keep the nectar from freezing.
Soon, snowflakes were falling, a frigid gorge wind picked up speed
and the hummers kept competing for food.
Suddenly the snow turned to sleet, it got really cold and our windows started to glaze over.
The transition from snow to sleet came at us with lightning speed.
And wouldn’t you know it, the power went off! So much for my heated feeder and bird bath.
Our 6 to 8 inches of snow suddenly were covered with almost 2 inches of solid ice. Yikes!
My poor little friend sheltered in the iced-over plum tree.
Judy’s greenhouse suddenly grew really long icicles and her weather vane stopped turning.
Old seed heads were coronated with sparkling crowns of frozen precipitation.
To keep my feathered friends humming along I changed out the feeder throughout the day.
The grand old Douglas firs in our forest out back iced up too.
And Daniel Düsentrieb had to use his wings to keep his balance!
It got so slick and slippery outside that walking across the deck no longer seemed smart. Instead I put a makeshift feeder hanger right outside the patio door. When I brought the feeder out early in the morning, Daniel Düsentrieb watched from nearby. I waved the feeder and called out to him. He must have been starved as he came right over and started eating while I was still holding the feeder. After that, he came to the door almost every time I opened it, knowing that I had defrosted nectar for him.
By Saturday morning our beautiful maple’s branches were bent to the ground, heavy with ice.
As gorgeous as the ice-covered branches looked, all the ice was worrisome.
The crooked pine tree outside my office window was groaning.
A mourning dove came by to check out what was going on …
… when we suddenly heard explosive sounds both out front and in the back. The weight of all the ice was just too much for so many trees in our neighborhood, as it was for thousands of trees all over the Portland Metro area.
It was Valentine’s Day and over 300,000 homes in our area had lost power. While we were having coffee Sunday morning, thanks to a gas range and a stash of emergency ground coffee beans, I heard an incredibly loud explosion. I jumped out of my seat and shouted “That sounds like our tree”. It was! A huge branch had broken off and was blocking the street. With the help of a couple of neighbors, the Zendog was able to get the thing cut up and moved to the side.
Meanwhile, Daniel Düsentrieb kept a close watch on me and his feeder.
By Monday morning the sun came out and the temperatures started to warm a little. That afternoon I went into the garage to get some soup from the freezer. I felt a few drops of water land on my head. “Strange”, I thought. “I must be imagining it.” Then I felt a few more drops and when I looked up I saw some water leaking through the ceiling and slowly streaming down a nearby wall. I opened up the backdoor to see what was going on and encountered ice up to my calfs. There was also a huge ice dam up on the roof which prevented the melting ice from just flowing down. Fortunately we will be able to get it all repaired. We were lucky to get off so easy. Lots of people had trees crashing into their homes and now the brutally cold and icy weather system is making its way across the entire country.
Wherever you are, please stay safe and warm!
P.S. Daniel Düsentrieb was a character in Donald Duck comic books I used to read as a kid.
I named this hummer after him because of his speed and arial agility.