Here was the view outside my dining room window at this time, last year:
And here it is today:
(Sorry, my CF card is shot on my camera, so you will have to visualize. Our sidewalk is bare, and you can see the ground around the base of that tree. You can see pavement where the street is, and there is grass on the edges of the field across the street. There is a little snow, interspersed amongst the grass, in our yard.)
There is no snow, in our front yard, at all-Sunday and Monday's warm temperatures melted the few flakes we received on Saturday.
Minnesotan's are losing self esteem daily. We can't brag about how much snow we have shoveled, or how many cold days we have endured. The Winter Carnival has had to cancel the snow sculpture contest, and the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race has been canceled too. Ice fishermen are stuck at home, when they would rather be sitting out on the cold lake.
Snowplow drivers are looking for other projects. Places that sell snowmobiles have pretty much already given up, and are looking to motorcycle season instead. Ski hills are so tired of making snow, when normally this time of year it is free, and plentiful.
As a gardener, I am wondering what this strange winter means for my plants. While I do cover them with a nice layer of leaves at the end of the season, they are not sporting their usual blanket of white during their winter sleep. When it turns colder this week, their fragile roots will be far more vulnerable, and considering the drought of the fall they were already distressed. Will any of them even come up this spring?
I have heard that the birds are even confused, and have been staying longer in certain parts of the country on their migrations to warmer climates, as they don't see a need to leave.
The squirrels in my neighborhood have been out and about and busy all winter. Normally in January they are holed up with a nice cup of cocoa.
I am of mixed emotions-while I am grateful I have not had icy sidewalks to worry about falling on, or snow filled roads to drive on, it just hasn't felt like winter. Which is kind of okay, but I worry about the natural order of things here in Minnesota. We have lost our badges of icy honor this year.
But it IS only the middle of January, and it IS Minnesota. With a solid 3 months of winter possible weather still ahead on the calendar, I am sure we will get ours.