Weather changes frequently in Washington Parish

Published 10:15 am Sunday, February 3, 2013

It seems like we go from Springtime to Winter, sometimes in one week’s time. About the time we get used to the winter weather, it suddenly becomes warm again. It might be strange but we all like the pretty and warm days even if it is supposed to be cold now.

At least we don’t experience the changes the folks up north do, from some real cold days to blizzard-type freezes. That would be hard to get used to and it must be hard on those people, but they seem to get by and keep living up there. One problem that we would have a hard time with is the snow and ice on the roadways. It takes a lot of luck to drive under those conditions and many never do learn. Some of the people we call ‘Yankees’ used to say we couldn’t learn how to maneuver in our southern states like they did up there. Maybe they didn’t realize we watch the news and see all their wrecks and snow-bound vehicles. Maybe there were just a lot of southerners in “Yankee Land.” It certainly does take a certain amount of knowledge and skill to drive under those conditions, but a lot of luck is helpful, too.

The season changes seem to affect the birds and animals, too. The raccoons added their extra fur in August and September and prepared for winter. Now they are doing most of their activity during the night hours when it is cooler. It won’t be long before they will begin to shed the heavier coat as the warmer weather comes along and they will remember where the bird food is.

The birds are a little more able to adapt in that they fly south to warmer climates. From the little humming birds to the large northern geese they all move with the weather. The little hummers usually come back in the first part of March, but were several weeks late last year. Some have suggested that only males were coming and without a female bird to tell them where to turn they just didn’t find the usual path back.

A few of the birds stay put, like the red birds, or cardinals, and the mocking birds. One old mocking bird has made his home in a big bush in our yard and he stays down in the bush until it starts to warm up, comes out and hunts food during the day and then goes back down into the bush for the night. He spends a good bit of time every morning cleaning his feathers with his beak. Birds have a supply of oil or wax-type material they can rub their beak into and then spread it to their feathers to make themselves waterproof and have a sleeker set of feathers. Maybe they learned something from our ladies or maybe the ladies learned something from the birds, who knows?

We see a lot of other birds that are passing through to a warmer climate. A large group of robins spent several days in our area but kept moving on. Many species come and go, like the mourning doves, the large white doves and the small Mexican dove.

Most birds have mates and they try to stay together all the time, a lot like the human species. Doves and geese are two birds that join for life and if one dies the other stays single and will be chased away from feeding by a mated pair, similar to some animal types. Dogs and cats are two types that get ready for cold weather, too, especially the few dogs that still live in the yard. As we were growing up we had several dogs that spent the winter under the house where it was fairly warm from the fireplaces and wood burning heaters. A few years later the houses began to be built on a concrete slab and that eliminated that option.

One of our first dogs after we were married had a pretty little house in the fenced in yard and when it got really cold in north Alabama we put a heat lamp and a canvas door on the house and he stayed warm. Cats were a different story and lived wherever they wanted and being they were apparently from another planet they made their decision.

The Lord provides for the animals, winter or summer, and helps us along the way also. May He bless you all today.