Georgia Kohart, 1-06-14: Making the most of snowy winter days

By GEORGIA KOHART@cnGeorgiaKohart kohart@crescent-news.com Published:

In other parts of the country, like the upper Midwest, the Rockies and New England, our recent snow doesn't amount to more than a dusting. Amazingly, of all the states in the U.S., Alaska doesn't hold the record when it comes to snowfall. That honor goes to New York, with nearly 100 inches - that's eight feet of white stuff - falling on Rochester every winter. Their heaviest snow month is January, while a white Christmas is always guaranteed in nearby Buffalo, a close rival that holds the record for the highest average December snowfall: 27.4 inches. To interpret, if I lived there, I'd be doing my holiday shopping trudging around in snow up to my ... er ... rear.

Buckeyes will find it interesting that third place for the most snow goes to a city in our very own state: Cleveland. Lake effect snow is serious stuff and adds up to an annual average of 47 inches. Denver, Colorado has the longest snow season, often spanning from September to May, but several nearby Midwestern locales are also on the "cities with the most snow" list: Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis and Chicago.

I love January snow, as long as it doesn't put a snag in my plans, of course. March and April snows are not nearly as popular. Snowflakes dance and swirl and then fall onto everyday objects like the picket fence and evergreen boughs and transform them into ethereal and transient sculptures.

On days like this, I keep a close eye on the bird and critter feeders. The cardinals and chickadees find sunflower seeds, while the ground feeding mourning doves and juncos, along with Mr. Bun, enjoy the mix of grains put out for them.

The banty hens are not as resourceful. They refuse to set one foot in the snow. They would stay huddled in their coop and dehydrate if we didn't spread a layer of straw on the snow around their watering font. I am a little worried about how they will fare in the super cold that is predicted in the next few days.

We won't heat the coop, however. Far more chickens succumb to devastating coop fires caused by auxiliary heat sources than cold. When we used to have roosters out in the barn, sometimes their combs were frostbitten. I read not too long ago that a little petroleum jelly applied to their combs offers some protection.

The rabbits -- Beverly and Fizzbit --will do fine. They aren't fur covered just for looks. We often have to thaw out their water crocks in the laundry sink, but that's not much of a bother. The biggest enemy of domestic rabbits is heat.

On a snowy day like this, I feel like I have a little more time. The same to-do list awaits each morning, rain, snow or shine. However, every great once in a while, if I'm not planning on going anywhere and the roads are bad, Tim will take my car with its four-wheel drive to work. It's a good day to enjoy simple, homey tasks. So, instead of just plopping a teabag in a mug. I take the time to get a pretty blue and white tea pot out of the china cabinet and make a real pot of tea.

While the kettle burbles on the stove, I warm the pot with hot water and light the candle in the silver filigreed warmer. On this snowy day I'm enjoying one of my Christmas gifts: Vanilla Comoro tea. My tea kettle is a bright yellow duck. I wish it quacked when it comes to a boil instead of whistling like any self-respecting kettle.

I found a fun kitchen gadget right before the holidays: a timer with a rooster on top that crows. I can hear it all over the house when it announces that cooking time is up. It reminds me of the old saying " the rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods."

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