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Snow has descended on the South, and snow banks that would be more familiar in northern climates have taken up residence on my patio... along with a flock of Grackles that normally reside in the trees between the field and my backyard.

The sub-freezing temps and icy roads are more than a headache - as Vince found out Friday morning on his way to work. Thankfully a minor skid was stopped before he hit the ditch at the end of the road. I was glad his work was canceled Monday and Tuesday as the snow reached further south and the mercury continued to sit in the single digits.

Samuel has had more fun with his snow days....venturing out on his mountain bike and exploring the backyard trees and frozen creeks. Snow days are definitely meant for the young....Sam was the only one brave enough to head outside Monday as the thick of the storm passed through.

And now that I’ve experienced what a wind chill of minus-5 degrees feels like, I can safely say it was better we moved to the South, where winter storms like this are rare.

I wasn’t joking when I said I wasn’t leaving the house for a week, but I did make an exception to cover one aspect that I didn’t account for when I did my pre-storm shopping to stock up.

The birds.

What started as a fun pastime of feeding the songbirds that frequent my yard as I drink my coffee has become a constant flock of frozen flyers scratching the snow in search of seed.

Well, the nearly 10 pounds of birdseed I started with didn’t make it through the weekend once the Grackles and cowbirds that normally flock in the nearby fields discovered where all the cardinals and finches were hanging out.

Forty pounds of seed later, I’m thinking that the Crazy Bird Lady moniker might have to be embraced. Grandson Desmond brought up a fallen limb for decoration, so the patio now looks like a bird resort complete with sled hills, hiking trails and a rest stop.

Having a bit of entertainment in the midst of worrying about flickering power, blown out pilot lights and freezing pipes is, to be sure, a nice diversion.

The dogs are doing their best to tolerate my bird feeding habits, but even the best canine temperament will be stretched when over 30 birds are right on the other side of the sliding glass door.

Barking and chaos is a daily occurrence anyways... the birds are just the latest excuse.

Now that the latest installment of impeachment is over, you’d think Washington, D.C. would be able to find something else on which to focus its attention.

Almost anything would be an improvement over the recurring trial of Donald Trump’s character.

We all get it. Everyone in D.C. hates him with the hot rage of 1,000 suns.

But Trump is gone from the halls of power, banished from any type of authority or influence over our “sacred halls of power,” not that he held much power or influence over anything happening in Congress while he was in office, but that seems to be beside the point.

Of course the Democrats will not stop tilting at this particular windmill, looking to justify a militarized Capitol and political persecution of their perceived enemies. Instead, they just announced a “9-11 style” commission, which I’m absolutely sure will be just as transparent and thorough as the last Congressional commission.

The only expectation I have from that is high blood pressure when we can finally read the ultimately partisan report.

I’m sure that there will be many committee hearings, both public and private, which continue the 24/7 barrage of Trump news for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime we’ll have stories about a return to presidential PDAs and the president’s new high score in Mario Kart to go along with the government employee and social media staffer overseeing the first pets’ Twitter account.

This must be some of that return to normal Biden spoke of on the campaign trail. Emoluments, stock portfolios and foreign lobbyist deals are apparently only necessary for journalistic curiosity and investigation when Republicans are in charge.

Apparently while “democracy dies in darkness,” it seems to do just fine under the blinking lights of an arcade machine at Camp David.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at or by calling (209) 862-2222.