Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back to Winter

The modest January thaw lasted about a week, causing a lot of ice and snow to melt away, although not completely in these parts. Today, the daytime temperature is hovering in the mid-teens, nighttime lows will approach zero degrees for the next few days, the wind is going to pick up, and snow is on the way. We are back to full-on winter.
Our wood stove is burning through a lot of wood, and firewood dealers in the region are running low on supplies. We might need another dry cord; not such good planning.

The six female turkeys have returned to the yard, visiting two to three times each day. (Our neighbors continue to put out food for them.) They didn't come much during the thaw, when temperatures were in the mid-40s.

Black-capped chickadees and their mixed flock mates--tufted titmice--were busy in the yard today. They ate seeds at the feeders and gleaned insects from the hardwood trees. To stay warm they foraged and shivered and puffed up their feathers. At night they will huddle together in a cavity somewhere; however, some may not live till morning.

I'm thinking that our town road agent is also stressed by these winter conditions. Every year his salt and sand fund is scrutinized for potential budget cuts. Those doing the perusing are looking at last year's expenditures to set a budget for next year (not the current winter). So, this winter's road budget was set more than a year ago. It is hard to predict a year out how many times the plow trucks will be sent out to make the roads safe for human travel. Maybe, like the chickadees, Rick the road agent has some winter coping mechanisms.

Meanwhile, I sat by the wood stove and ordered vegetable and flower seeds and potato tubers from Fedco and tree seedlings from the New Hampshire State Forest Nursery. Only three months till planting time.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    Isn't the return of winter the best time to order seeds? I was just thinking the other day, not knowing that another storm was on its way, and now here, that it was about time to start inventorying seeds and ordering them.

    There is no greater act of optimism I think than ordering seeds. Not only optimism but a sense of sun and warmth in the cold gray and white of winter.

    Good luck with your fuel situation.

  2. Hi Ken,

    We got through the night without much snow from this latest storm--I"m glad that we don't have to clear the driveway, but I wouldn't mind a little more fresh snow in the woods. My mind toggles between wanting more winter and itching to grow things.