February 1980


Two large, healthy-looking POLISTES QUEENS have emerged from hibernation. One is crawling on the stairs, the other in the upstairs hallway. I noticed them when I was setting up the humidifier (belatedly) to soothe Bob’s and my ravaged membranes. It’s below zero out — a cold snap. Hope my polistes queens can go back to sleep. They’d never make it out there in today’s weather.

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Bob spotted a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH moving around in the maple outside the kitchen window this morning. He also noticed two GOLDFINCHES in the weeds while he was washing dishes. He says this is the time of years birds start shifting around. SUGAR MAPLE BARK is cracked and split unevenly with edges that curl away from the tree and can be flaked off. RED MAPLE BARK is looser and peels away in long strips.

Heard a WOODPECKER DRUMMING this morning. Heard one a few days ago too. Bob says this is usually the time they begin. It seems early to me.

Heard a CHICKADEE singing a FEE-BEE SONG at 9:45 this morning. It’s about 20 degrees out, overcast, still very little snow.

Took my walk (carrying 10 pounds) at 2:00 p.m. today. Beautiful clear day — 40 degrees on my thermometer, which is in the sun. Melting ice dripping from the roof. Here I am at Poet’s Rock on February 6. There’s only about an inch of snow on it. LATER: When I’m walking along like this, kind of poking, I can’t help thinking that this is the pace human beings were intended to move at.

Tonight I walked 2 miles with 10 pounds at zero degrees yet again. The stars were much better tonight. Sky clear, more stars visible. ORION was spectacular. Wore my new woolens — pants and jacket. $50 worth of survival clothes.

Tonight I walked 2 miles with 10 pounds at zero degrees again. Stars medium. Got a good view of ORION through my binoculars when I got back. It’s right behind me when I’m looking at the BIG DIPPER.

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