November’s Wild Mood Swing

On Friday and Saturday Chicago got the biggest November snow storm in 120 years. Which is strange, because for about three weeks November had been doodling along acting like a nice October. Then suddenly there’s a wild mood swing and it feels like we’re in January.


On Friday it felt like suddenly the world had been transformed into black and white. First there was rain, which froze as the temperature descended. When the snow came, it was wet and heavy.


Perennials, shrubs, and tree limbs bowed under the weight. During the night I was awoken by the sound of branches breaking. Fortunately none of my trees or shrubs had serious damage.


Our bird baths were full of freezing slush, so I emptied the fountain and set up the heated bird bath, which I refer to as the Bird Jacuzzi.


Our ‘Golden Raindrops’ Crabapple was still holding onto its leaves when the snow came.


On Sunday the sky cleared and the sun shone, but it was still cold.


The ice on the branches glittered a bit in the sunshine.


The bird feeders were busy. Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Juncos, and Redpolls were fortifying themselves against the cold.

Has winter made an early surprise visit to your garden?

66 Comments on “November’s Wild Mood Swing”

  1. It’s been very cold here in the UK this weekend too. By cold I mean about 3 degrees! No snow for us (yet) but there was some farther north. What a transformation in your garden. Lovely photos and how wonderful to see a red Cardinal. That’s a corker of a bird to see in the garden.

  2. Winter tried to move in this weekend. We only had rain tho. After the rain the temperatures dropped dramatically. We are due a warm up at the middle of this week tho. It looks like a nice table setting for your birds. Do they eat the grapes? My birds ignore grapes when we set some out for them. Redpolls at your feeder! what a treat. I haven’t seen them very many times ever, never at our feeders. Try to keep warm.

  3. Oh my, that did come unexpectedly did it? That first snow fall is always the best though isn’t it? Except yours did look heavy and probably did some damage. Ahhh, your fine feathered friends love to visit I see, and are those grapes I see as an offering? 🙂

  4. Here in Montreal we are still enjoying an unusually warm November, with sunny skies that are definitely not the norm. Temperatures are meant to fall dramatically during the week, then to rise again on the weekend to 13C /55F. I wish I hadn’t cut the garden back so early!

  5. Glad there was no serious damage! This morning, I woke up to find a dusting of snow in our yard at the little house in the big woods. Nothing like what you got, though! Time to bring in the rest of ornaments and lawn furniture!

  6. Oh Jason that does look cold, we have had similar weather here, I like your mood swing description, very apt. Although no snow storm just a big drop in temperatures, our weather is rarely as dramatic as yours. I hope there is not too much damage in lovely garden.

  7. Last year, we had 14″ of snow the day before Thanksgiving and never saw bare ground again until April. This year has been very different — El Nino winters are usually drier and warmer than average in New England as the big storms come up the east coast and go out to sea to our south.

  8. Wow! I would probably go into some sort of catatonic hibernation if we got that much snow this early, LOL. Out of morbid curiosity I looked up the earliest monthly snowfall on record for our area, and it’s only happened 8 times since 1947 and with one exception were all 2″ or less. The one exception was in 1989 when we got 7.5″ during November — and then for the ENTIRE rest of the winter only 3″ more fell! Talk about a mood swing, LOL

  9. Hello Jason, a few days ago we were given a rude interruption to our unusually mild November weather with a few days of cold and frost – no snow though (we are in the South) – but things seem to be warming up again. The days are getting very short though, going to work when it’s only just getting light and coming home long after dark and they’re only going to get shorter!

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