Oregon has been having some extraordinary weather lately, though it seems “extraordinary” is losing its applicability as these sorts of temperatures hit more and more often. Lasting snow at the beach is extremely unusual, but there it was, while the Willamette Valley (where my parents live) labored under first snow, then ice.
My mom took this photo from the kitchen window, showing their backyard trees bent low under the weight of ice.
There was no damage back here, but in the front yard, both the pin oak and one of the pear trees lost large limbs. They fell onto the sidewalk and yard, so no damage was done, but other folks weren’t so lucky — one friend of a friend had a tree come through the roof of her apartment into her bathroom.
The ones who really suffer, though, are the birds and animals whose food is either buried under snow or frozen solid.
My parents diligently maintained several hummingbird feeders through first the big snowstorm, and then the big freeze. This entails much more work than the usual winter maintenance, since the sugar water in the feeders can freeze solid in under an hour. Mom regularly got up just before dawn in order to have warmed, fresh food out for the hummingbirds the moment they came looking for it. (My dad said it was the only thing that could possibly get her out of bed that early.) One feeder is hung beneath an outdoor light, which they left turned on all night to keep it thawed, but the others had to be rotated through a “dump out ice block, refill, rehang” routine. Another friend at the coast had even more hummingbird feeders out, and was rotating them at 45-minute intervals.
I am convinced that special karmic points are awarded for such heroic efforts on behalf of tiny little creatures.
But even while people huddled in front of their wood stoves, and birds huddled around feeders, it was impossible to deny the sheer beauty of western Oregon under ice. Uncage the Soul Productions went out with their camera gear to capture that beauty, focusing on waterfalls. I assume they had crampons on their boots…
(Video hat tip to Paulo.)