December 14, 2020
When I got home the Cardinals were swarming the backyard feeders. The light rain that had been falling all morning had let up and even though the skies were not clear, the birds seemed to know it was time to stock up on food. We had three or four cardinals on each of our five feeders. A wren would sneak in occasionally or a Jay would power its way to the seed, but the cardinals were using the feeders to prepare for the possibility of bad weather. I am always amazed how animals are so attuned to the same weather that I fail to notice.
When I fished one of our local ponds recently, I remembered the snake we constantly battled during the summer. As soon as our bobbers hit the water the snake arrived, even coming ashore when we caught a fish and forcing Melissa to use her pole to push it back into the water. When it got cooler, the snake disappeared. When I looked online, I found that rather than hibernating, snakes and reptiles enter brumation. While reptiles do sleep during brumation, they also wake and need to forage for food and water, before returning to brumation. Reptiles in brumation use less energy and can go longer between feedings. Snakes prepare for brumation anytime from September to December and this can last until March or April, depending on the weather pattern. I guess this gives us a few months to prepare for the snake to start chasing us again.
As the afternoon wore on the cardinals were proven right. The light rain turned to a heavy wet snow. While the cement pool deck never got cold enough to hold the flakes, the ground was covered with more than an inch of snow. As the sun started going down Melissa went outside to check the succulent beds. The mesh has been effective in keeping the plants warm as the temperatures dropped. The mesh was even effective with the light rain as it passed on through and the plants were safe. We were not as prepared for the snow, especially as wet as it was. The weight had drug the mesh down and it was laying on the taller plants. Luckily, we were able to carefully scoop the snow off and reset the stakes holding it up. It is getting down to the low 20F tonight. We have prepared, now we wait and see.
Thoughts: Following the Ebola scare America had ramped up our stockpile of PPE and devised ways to quickly identify and contain possible health threats. The risk of a potential threat has defined as high by health agencies for several years prior to the pandemic outbreak. When it happened, we were not prepared and did not react until months too late. However, the lessons learned by researchers meant they were prepared. When the pandemic hit, they went into overdrive and produced several vaccines in a matter of months. The long wait came with testing and approval. Now the rest of us need to catch up on our personal preparation. We are not through this yet. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.