So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Spring arrives – or does it????

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Like much of Europe, we in the Lungau have had an early beginning of spring with lovely warm temperatures and the snow going. I think I’ve resented it a lot this year as it came late, then was wet and heavy. If it had been a long cold winter I would have adapted but I was already thinking spring when it came at the end of January!!!!! Typical Brit.

Last week, I walked around the corner of the house in the sunshine and was hit by a blast of perfume from the violets and there was a butterfly feasting on them.  I’ve never had daffodils actually blooming here in March before, we usually get them in May!

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BUGGER!

 


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More bird watching mysteries

Siskin or Serin?

I still think there’s something up with the birds in the Lungau.  Usually in April my table and the ground under it are cleared by Jays and a Lesser spotted woodpecker and I’ve yet to see them.  There’s a few more Green finches, occasional Chaffinches  and a beautiful Siskin who comes every evening.  There’s even more Marsh tits than usual, who sit in lilac bush while I’m pegging our washing and shout for food.  The usual Sparrows and Great tits and Blue tits are here though. The Blackbirds are singing like there’s no tomorrow in the evenings which is wonderful.

They are all going mad for the fat, I’ve never seen the Sparrows go for fat balls but they are permanently on them, likewise they are trying to get the peanuts out of the feeder, where I thought their beaks aren’t the right shape for such feeding.  Edith has also noticed less birds this year, and she’s on the other side of the Lungau.  Could it just be that they knew the bad winter was coming and all flew further afield?  I’ve a great respect for the instinct of any aninmal over humans!

I’ve also noticed one of the Great Tits has a white streak on the back of its head, like a coal tit, but its feathers are blue and yellow, most odd, I’m trying to get a picture of it!

The birds are also feeding far more in the evenings, where as usually its the mornings.  I suppose I’ll go on putting stuff out but tail it off towards the end of the month. Still, they’ll all soon be nesting if not already, and then they’ll disappear to the mountains in May – or maybe not!


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Early birds

Not seen him this winter either

I’m writing on March 25th, although this blog will go out later. I can’t believe it, and we’ve just had our first thunderstorm of the year.  Even knocked the power out briefly!  This warm weather makes it so easy to get to think that it’ll be warm and sunny all spring, now its dark and gloomy and raining, but the garden needs it. I’m not going to be caught out this year planting stuff too early! This is our sixth spring here and I’ve never seen the like!

Also amazing, yesterday I  just saw a family of  Alpine Martins flitting around the eaves of the house, one was sat in a nest right up in the eaves, I hope I didn’t scare them off, it would be great to have some here.  But so early,  the swifts and swallows don’t usually get here until late May, early June. I’ve given the garden birds all the tail ends of the winter’s fat balls out of the nets on the table, they’re going nuts about them.  I’ve also  had to stock up of bird food as the shops now are stocking barbecue stuff, and I’ll need reserves for another month or two yet!

Does this all have any link to the ash in the atmosphere or the sun spots?  Thing is we’ll never really know, I just think its more of this wacky weather which started last spring!

I did my second office in the new job and am beginning to see a rhythm to the week and how I will fill the hours. There was ample evidence of a dog there – when I asked the boss, she said it’s an afghan puppy, maybe I need to go a bit earlier next time to see it!  Still, if I do the offices twice a week,-especially with the dog hair, I will get my hours. I just need one more day filled! And compared to the Burg, I have FOUR hoovers, and ones a Dyson!!!!!!!!


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Clouds

I understand that England is experiencing a very warm winter and things have gone a bit odd here too.  Since last week the weather has warmed considerably and we’ve a prediction of +20 for Austria later this week.  It just felt all wrong that suddenly there was the sound of water cascading down the drain pipes and warnings everywhere in the town of roof falls of snow.  The roads came under water where the drains are blocked by snow or frozen.  Apparently this sudden warning isn’t good for your body either.

Then this weekend, things cooled down, to nightly -1 or -2, but still warm by earlier estimates.  On Sunday it began to snow and we had about 2 inches by the morning, and temperatures of +5.  Of course, Linda couldn’t let it lie and melt, she was there by 7.30, and then complained to me that it was melting as soon as she put it on the heap………..

The snow is now what I call play snow, great big flakes being blown down to us from the mountains, which is cute but not making big heaps on the ground.  Maybe it will be an early spring after all, but for the skiers there’s still shedloads of the white stuff on the mountains here.

What I hate the most  when it’s thawing, is the amount of ice.  Our yard is like a skating rink, and at work the other day I stupidly went on a huge patch and couldn’t do anything but slide backwards till someone caught me!  This was at St Martin which I’ve now packed in as she only called me in once this month – it wasn’t worth the petrol money

The main point of this blog, is to say on Friday as the warm front came over us, we had great examples of Altocumulus lenticularis clouds which people often think are spaceships.  As I picked up Dave from work, there was the most stunning sunset and I only had the Mobile with me, so I now have permanently moved my new camera to my handbag!


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The cold!

Looking down Taferngasse

This coldwave which has hit Europe and Madling is something extra-ordinary.  No one here can remember it staying so cold for so long.  After about two weeks, it’s becoming almost usual for it to be -10 each night.   The temperature difference between sun and shade can be extreme.  On the sunny side of our house it can read +10, on the  shady -10 at the same time. The snow keeps on coming, although we haven’t had the extreme dumps some areas have.  Its still our ambition to open the porch door and have to dig out!  Its even too deep for riding in some places, what looks ok to ride across can be deep enough to tip up your horse!

Our place

Its effect is on us is that we’re probably going to have to order more wood, and of course the increased heating costs.  On the body itself, you cease to register the depth of cold, except when your nose hair freezes.  Most surprising is that you don’t actually need to wear more, if you have your outside clothing organised in boots, coats and outer trousers.  It’s nice to think we need more calories as its cold!  But the most effect we’re feeling is tiredness, it really takes it out of you after a while.

Its funny though, sometimes the effects are amazing as ice crystallizes out into the air as warm air hits some cold in the sunlight.  I’ve been reading Shackleton’s book of his fated expedition and his accounts of how the light changes in seconds and the mirages and colours make me want to visit the Antarctic with my camera.  I’m also reading Rosie Thomas’s ‘Sun at Midnight’ set there too.  Is the cold becoming so second nature  I wont be able to handle the heat – oh for a chance to try!!!!!!!!