Motor Mill on the Turkey River

(Nov. 30 addendum to all you winter haters: You’re welcome! My earlier declaration that winter is here must have prompted today’s heat wave. I’ll take credit. But I reserve the right to say “I told you so” when the Arctic blast hits before next week is over!)


Not according to the calendar – but this November seems to have caught people and critters by surprise.

Our resident chipmunks, which normally don’t like cold feet, are still foraging under the bird feeder in a fresh blanket of snow. Guess they’re trying to fatten up on spilled sunflower seeds to get ready for hibernation. But they’d better not delay much longer. The TV weather guy is calling for below normal temps well into December.

Stoking up on sunflower seeds

Opossums typically try to sleep away the cold, too. But its tracks in the snow prove that at least one ‘possum remains out and about after this week’s storm and chill winds.

The fresh snow is littered with basswood and maple seeds, and the oaks are still clinging desperately to many of their leaves. The trees weren’t ready for the wintery blast, either.

Basswood seeds

We had tried to prepare for the season change by picking the last broccoli and kale and Brussels sprouts before we rolled up the electric deer fence. It didn’t take the deer very long to inspect our work, however. When the hungry whitetails realized the fence was gone, they quickly pruned every remaining leaf right down to the woody stems.

To wash down the meal, the deer returned to the bird bath, where they stood nosing the ice and looking toward the house in disgust. You’d think the human who lives there would have the charity to provide heated water!

Hey in there! I'm thirsty!

Our Amish neighbors still have a few shocks of corn standing in the field – and even the conventional farmers haven’t fully completed the harvest. You can bet the turkeys and deer have got those fields spotted for winter foraging.

Snowy shocks

Ice is creeping out from the banks of the river, and little crystalline rafts clink and swish as they’re swept along by the current and over the riffles.

Icy river

Let’s face it:

Iowa winter has started.

Don’t wait for the solstice to make it “official.”

Instead of grumbling about the cold and snow, why not feed the birds, try on your skis, or photograph the winter wonderland? It’s less than four months until spring!

How long until spring?
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