Winter Flannel...

Winter gray in Austin. Stark and cold, yet somehow, still intriguing. And foggy -- it's rather erie. I was psyched for another warm day, but it appears today will be warmer, but I'm not sure yet about the Sun's appearance later. I'll cross my fingers and hope the sun comes out.

I'm always fascinating by the creatures who weather the winter -- outdoors -- with no heater, no gas fireplace or blankets or fuzzy slippers. We pile on and peel off as the weather dictates, but the wildlife around us simply endures.

My husband's family raises Belgian Draft Horses in Indiana and while I do believe that they are a hearty bunch, it still seems really cold up there for them for a very long time!

And even here, where it's more temperate, I think about our wild birds. Scrawny shrubs and ruffled feathers don't seem to me to have much capacity to warm them up, but they're here, chirping and flitting about, minding their business, seemingly impervious to the elements on most days.

So, we feed and water them, and I admit, I talk to them and worry about them. And I wonder about the chitting and chirping between the two male cardinals who seem to be fighting for our yard and woods territory. Wish I knew more about their behavior -- one of them has been our neighbor for 4 years. And then, there's our newest neighbor, a squawky scrub jay that is tough as nails. No one messes with him -- least of all me!

I admire them all, and hope that this Spring, our resident cardinal couple, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, have some babies we can watch for a while.