Wednesday, December 19, 2012

First Good Snow, Then Rain

The first good snow of the season fell overnight and into Monday morning, about four inches in total. Then it changed to rain, and our hopes for a white Christmas were dashed. We're entering the third day of rain and dull gray skies, which may continue on and off for another few days. It is these damp days, perhaps even more than bitter cold days in deep winter, that the wood stove radiates the most warmth and cheer.

On these wet days it takes time to pull on rain pants, boots, raincoat, hat, and mitts, while Kodi, dressed in his daily black, waits impatiently by the door. Once I'm outside and dressed for the weather, it feels less bleak. Kodi and I wander about in the back woods, sloshing through the underbrush. Before the four inches of snow was washed away by the rain, I walked through the woods to a favorite fallen pine, one that Kodi and I had visited just four days ago.
If I were a chipmunk, this is where I would live. The still majestic, but fallen, white pine has many secret cavities and crevices to snuggle in when it is cold or wet and places to hide from a fisher or a coyote. And during warm, sunny periods, it offers a perfect perch to rest and groom.

A nice mix of birds visited the feeders Monday morning in the midst of the snow. The suet attracted a male red-bellied woodpecker--perhaps our prettiest woodpecker when seen up close through binoculars, a pair of downy woodpeckers, and a hairy woodpecker. Nearby on the sunflower and Najar seed feeders and on the ground below where 6 male purple finches, along with handfuls of juncos and goldfinches, and ones and twos of white-breasted nuthatches, sweet little chickadees, and common redpolls. I keep an eye out for pine grosbeaks, a more northerly species that is appearing farther south in New Hampshire this season.
The rain and warmer temperatures have chased the birds from the feeders. Whether they are hold up in nearby trees waiting for the rain to stop or finding wild foods more easily, I do not know. All I wish for is more cold, snow and less soggy rain, then the birds will return and our stacks of wood will stay dry.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    I've taken a lot of vicarious pleasure in reading about your new stove. Here it seems like the coldest days are the rainy ones. Our radiator heat helps with that. But I bet it's a whole lot better with your stove. And of course it's much more enjoyable to sit and watch a fire burning in a stove than it is to watch either our radiators or the boiler in the basement. Looks like you've made a great decision in buying and installing the stove.

  2. Ken -- thanks for following along on the blog. The wood stove is so warm. Sure, it is a lot of work and perhaps in 5 or 10 years we won't be so keen on the daily tasks. In the meantime, it feels great to be mostly off oil and using a local source of heat.