Frozen back home

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.

Ice storm backyard

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.

Ice storm hummer

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.)


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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5 Responses to Frozen back home

  1. Alma says:

    Wow, how beautiful! A waterfall of ice! (Also hummingbirds!) I’m so envious! All the snow here melted away in late January, and it’s been above zero almost constantly since. At this time of year, there’s normally about two feet of snow in untrodden places, with temperature drops down to -20°C at times. February is supposed to be the coldest month in Stockholm. This is the crappiest weather I can ever remember having in winter. Unusual winter weather seems to abound all around this year…

  2. xenatuba says:

    This was the second major snow event in Oregon this year, almost two months to the day after the first one. Due to the ice, there was much more damage from this storm, and there are some areas that only got their power back late Thursday or Friday. Yes, we still have above ground power lines. We are now attempting to make up a 25% of normal rainfall in a week, with rivers reaching flood stage at several points in the Willamette valley. And still, I have friends that say “and how can there be global warming when we’re setting low temperature records and having snow like this?” GAH.

  3. Lisa Shaw says:

    That’s a lovely video with lovely music. It reminds me that Mother Nature is only treacherous when she collides with the plans of man. If you don’t need to travel in it or use electricity or have anything in your yard that could fall and break your house, the ice and snow are just *lovely*. 😉 My parents lost most of a 50-year-old Japanese maple in their yard from this storm. No word on the immediately local hummingbird population, though …

  4. Cathy White says:

    I know nothing about the intricacies of feeding humming birds, so my question is would it be pos. to sit a feeder on a small upturned terracotta pot, with a lit tea light under it. The pot then acts as warmer keeping the food from freezing. The problem would be how to make it freestanding for the birds to flutter as they feed.

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