A few years ago our smoke alarm inexplicably went off at 3am then 5am revealing that the raging wind, which had possibly triggered the alarm, had turned into a blizzard.
The Beast from the East gave no such warning this year! And given there are only three rows of 4-foot garden fences between us and the Siberian icy blasts from the North Sea, the snow has been pretty intense.
For me there are only 3 things to do when it snows: –
- Check on the neighbours
- Consider wildlife
- HAVE FUN OUTDOORS!!!!!!
Kids of the Wild love snow of any kind, depth and temperature but many people don’t enjoy it. Vulnerable and elderly neighbours might need help getting in supplies and clearing paths etc. Pop and ring the doorbell to check on them.
Dogs will get colder more quickly so remember an outdoor pet coat.
There’s not much we can do for wildlife in severe snow. Many animals are hibernating and those that aren’t hunker down to ride out the storm in as much shelter as they can find. We saw our little wood mouse yesterday, scrabbling in the snow for seeds we’d put out for the birds. We left out straw in case he needed extra warmth overnight!
In prolonged heavy snow it’s a good idea to knock the snow off branches to avoid breakage.
Feed the Birds
Apart from the usual Kids of the Wild response to a snowfall – up at dawn, layers of waterproofs and sledging before breakfast – it also means changes to our bird feeding regime. No longer just food in hanging feeders, the birds now need extra intense fat-building sustenance to survive the bitter nights. Here’s how to help garden birds: –
Clear a patch of snow for ground feeders to access.
Feed little and often so food isn’t covered before it’s eaten.
Put down water as birds struggle for this when everything is frozen.
Feed high-fat foods: –
- Mealworm and raisins both soaked in warm water to maximise moisture
- Crushed fat ball – the ground feeders can’t reach these in hanging feeders
- Apple chunks
- Grated cheese
- Sunflower seeds and bird seed
- Any low-salt leftovers like chicken fat, bacon rind etc
- Hanging fat feeders
Feed the ducks, but don’t give them bread. Read why in my Responsible Duck Feeding Guide.
How to HAVE FUN in the Snow!!!!
Just get out there!
Wear layers (waterproof top layers where possible especially gloves, to avoid snowball fight-induced chilblains)
Take a hot drink in a backpack
And yesterday, as Caroline’s energy fluctuates due to her cancer recovery, I took a hot water bottle in the backpack in case she got cold and needed to be brought home on the sledge!!
Of course she didn’t, she was a non-stop tornado of snow-happy energy. She simply crashed later in a hibernation of blankets, hot chocolate and Star Wars!
Things to do in the Snow
Read about our mini adventure sledging in the dark with a night time camp fire; Snow Fires and Night Sledging.
Here are a few other ideas to try: –
- Snow Angels
- Freeze black paper & collect snowflakes to quickly view with a magnifier
- Snowball fights
- Build a Snowman
- Build an igloo/snow hole
- ‘Skeleton bobbing’
- Snowboard on your sledge
- Freeze water balloons containing food colouring
- Jump in a snowdrift
- Night sledging
- Snow fires
But if it’s all too much, stay indoors!
Keep dry, warm up afterwards and why not post your snow-fun photos to the Kids of the Wild Facebook page, or comment your ideas below.
Enjoy the snow all you families of the wild!