Walter Scott: Don’t eat the yellow snow

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Drakesville, Iowa.

Columnist Walter Scott

Thursday and Friday, the temperatures stayed well below zero and the wind chill factor sent it down to 30 and 40 below. A good indication of how cold it is outside is to see how close to the back door we have yellow snow.

If it is only mildly cold, the dogs will go out to the nearest tree or car tire. As the temperatures drop, they travel less and less distance to do what needs to be done.

By Friday afternoon, the yellow snow was less than a foot from the door. Nothing was moving outdoors, unless it absolutely had to. We did not see any deer, turkey, and very few songbirds.

Saturday morning, everything changed. It was as though spring had suddenly arrived. With 20-degree temperatures at 6 in the morning, it felt like a heat wave. By noon, the temperature was 40 and the world had come alive again.

Deer must have bedded down together for a couple of days to keep warm. When they came out to get something to eat, drink, and celebrate the warm weather, they came out in groups.


We saw several herds of deer consisting of 10 to 15 and many more with five or six in a group. They were all browsing or grazing, and some were just playing.

A few miles down the road from our house, a friend has a very tidy home with an immaculate lawn. I saw about a dozen big old gobbler turkeys walking around on it, scratching and eating.

I think they may have been aerating his lawn for him. I am not sure he wants it aerated at this time of the year, but he will not have to do it in the spring.

When I got home, a gobbler was taking a leisurely stroll across our driveway. He looked at me and just kept on walking, not letting my interruption spoil his enjoyment of the nice day.

A group of hen turkeys were down the hill milling about the pasture while songbirds again flitted about. The change in 24 hours was remarkable.

One day, it seemed like a barren frozen tundra where nothing lived. The next day, with 80 degrees of improvement in temperature, it was almost like spring with the world coming back to life.

Nearing the house, I was happy to see, most of the snow had melted, including the unsightly yellow patches. Jag, who had to be coaxed out of the heated garage the day before was running around, looking for squirrels. Billy, who spent most of two days sleeping on the couch, was running around the yard playing catch by himself with his mostly deflated soccer ball.

Since it is only February, it is too early to think spring is here. We must enjoy a few pleasant days while we can as winter will be back. When the cold returns and the winds blow, the snow will again pile up.


Just remember the words of wisdom I learned from my grandfather; don’t eat the yellow snow.

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