Posts Tagged With: snow

Little Mister Sunshine

(The following was begun not quite a fortnight ago, while we were still waiting for winter to quit throwing stuff, finish packing, and just get the heck out. Other than the potential for a spiteful squall or two, we believe winter is gone. We hope so because a certain somebody shaved.)

One year, on the second day of February, while the rest of the world whooped it up with Punxsutawney Phil, a small group of Vermonters gathered in Waterbury to establish some traditions of their own. Because so much is wrong with the spectacle of dragging a large rodent (everyone knows it’s a “woodchuck,” not a “groundhog”) from its den on a cold February morning, and because this is Vermont, Woodchuck Day participants vote, electing an Honorary Woodchuck to perform the prognosticating.

Also because this is Vermont, the standards are a little higher when it comes to the meaning of shadows. Six more weeks of winter might seem dire enough to the good folks of Gobbler’s Knob when Phil is hoisted before the cameras but if our Honorary Woodchuck’s shadow appears it means we get another twelve.

Having not read the news reports, I am assuming a shadow was cast this year.

Tradition holds that when someone says “Happy Woodchuck Day!” in February the proper response is to shout “Bug off!” so readers may infer whatever they wish regarding the temperament of Vermonters with three feet of snow in the woods toward the end of March.

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It takes more than mild sunshine one day out of four to make it feel like spring, especially when it snows the other three and the temperature is below freezing on all of them. More than one person I know has sworn to let the next snow sit, they’re so tired of moving the stuff around, and no one I know is digging into random piles just for grins, but sometimes we must take matters into our own hands when spring isn’t making much headway and even seems to be losing ground.

Cropped to resemble a random pile of snow, this picture is of a roof:

A Load of Snow

A Load of Snow

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Categories: Humor, Maple Syrup, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mad Marchness

When the lion of winter lashes out like it’s wounded, roaring with cold, and the lamb of spring kicks up wet showers, those who live where the two meet get pelted with ice balls. Back and forth it goes every March, and we know spring will eventually prevail, but so far this year, March belongs to winter.

The Road to Fish in a Barrel Pond

The Road to Fish in a Barrel Pond

When snow is followed by rain and the rain is followed by sub-zero cold, an icy crust develops. When that cold is followed by more snow and more rain, the best term to describe conditions is “glaciated”. We are encased in ice. Continue reading

Categories: Maple Syrup, nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

There Were Going to be No Posts About Winter This Winter

February can be a strange month around here. Poke through the archives of this blog and see for yourself. For that matter, a lot of the winter-time stuff found in these pages verges on the odd, perhaps due to a phenomenon known by some as “cabin fever.” Some others will say they’ve come down with a mild case of the “winter blahs” and a goodly number of folks will become so s.a.d. they must sit near bright lights of appropriate spectrum to survive. Around here we prefer the term “shack nasties” but the irony is that, no matter what you call the way folks feel mid-way through a long winter grind, it can happen even to those who are able to get out of their cabin or shack.

A Giant Drift, Cresting Like a Wave

A Giant Drift, Cresting Like a Wave

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Categories: Humor, nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Meltdown

So there I was, ready to wax rhapsodic as spring returned, but winter threw a hissy fit.

April2

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Maple Syrup, nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Tapping Out

(A new tab at the top of this page (or this link) will take you to a collection of photos and links following the production of maple syrup this spring from the sugar bush of some friends. Their new enterprise is called Bobo’s Mountain Sugar, and the taps are in on Bobo’s Mountain — all 2500 of them.)

In mixed martial arts, tapping out is an act of submission, the end of a fight, and often the result of a violent twisting of arms. In maple syrup production, tapping out is a declaration of victory, the end of a job that no one’s arm had to be twisted to do.

big old tree

The snow was deep when I started helping on the hill above the sugar house, but I waded and floundered and stomped my way along the lines, tapping trees for a few hours each afternoon, doing what I could. The steepness of the hill, combined with thickets of beech and short balsams, had me convinced I made the right call in leaving my snowshoes at home, even as more flakes fell every day. After struggling in the wake of an additional 14+” from one storm, I finally gave in and strapped them on the next day.

If, as they say, snowshoes make the impossible difficult, it was a very hard afternoon. Without my snowshoes I had sunk to my knees; with them I still sank to my knees and had to high-step to clear the holes I’d made, with the decks weighted down with snow. Lifting a leg, expecting 25 pounds of resistance but getting none because the snow slid off, resulted in a few sharp blows to my chin and twice I kneed myself in the ear when my right foot sank deeper as I lifted my left. Continue reading

Categories: +Uncategorized, Maple Syrup, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Another Nice Day to Live in Vermont

More than a foot of snow snuck in the first part of this week, in the form of several small batches, so when Wednesday’s already grim Winter Storm Warning included the words “locally higher totals possible” it was a good bet Fish in a Barrel Pond would get its fair share.

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Categories: Maple Syrup, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Where The Storms Have No Names

The Weather Channel (not the National Weather Service) has decided that winter storms need names, in the same way hurricanes and typhoons need names. Blizzards and hurricanes don’t care what they are called but evidently TV producers feel their coverage is more compelling if we are able to somehow humanize dangerous meteorological phenomena, which is interesting because effective propaganda generally dehumanizes the enemy.

We humans name all kinds of stuff that need not be named, and I myself admit to the occasional anthropomorphic fit. A chicken I called “Tiny” was snatched away by a bear last spring and I once knew a tapir we called “Jim” because it was easier than saying “ear tag #P379″ but the closest I’ve come to naming weather would have to be “that awful cold snap in ’92″ or “the huge freakin’ blizzard during lambing in ’05.”

This most recent storm was given a TV name and many people will use it when they look back on this historic nor’easter. They got hammered and maybe it will help to have a name to shout as they shake their fists at the sky, but step away from the news and the roads and the towns and it was just more wind and snow.

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Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Snow Wraiths

The Outdoor Blogger Network’s most recent photo prompt is “The Look of Winter.” A week ago I would have posted a photo of brown woods and green ice. Today, I post this:

Fish in a Barrel Pond, January 13, 2012

 

One 1250th of a second. A random snippet of time, an instant, now long gone — never to occur again — but preserved forever in cyber space. Weird.

That image says something, conveys a feeling, suggests a mood, but it is just one tiny note in an opus. This little opus here is a bit more than 150,000 notes long:

 

Categories: nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

And So This is Winter

As if on cue, rain started to fall shortly after I began writing A Pause in the Wobble the other day. As I wrote, the ice went from being hard, like thick glass, to something softer and more pliable, like plastic, as a giant puddle formed across its surface.

The rain that fell could only spread out across the level sheet and the mild air kept it from freezing, creating a lake on top of a lake.

(True story: I once had to transport a queen-size bed halfway across the state of Vermont and then across a mile and a half of ice on Lake Champlain. Used a pickup truck and, of course, it rained. It rained a lot. It rained so much there was six inches of water standing on the ice when we got there so I walked the entire way, slipping and splashing, looking for holes, while Mrs. Gordon and her brother followed slowly in the truck, doors open and seat belts off, just in case. Kind of like Ice Road Truckers, but with a lot more screaming. Mrs. Gordon was a little upset, too.)

The images above are just not what one would expect to see in Vermont a few days before Christmas, but as quickly as things changed the other night, they changed again last night and these are some pictures I took when I went out this morning: Continue reading

Categories: nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Thanksgiving Day Angler

Some members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society seem to spend more time grumbling about the conditions than they do fishing (see It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over, for example). I do not mean to imply that guys like Dr. Marcus Feely are the norm, or even a majority, but sometimes it seems that way, so it always does my heart good when folks show up ready for anything, even cooking paella outdoors, in a snow storm (See Pictures from a Fishing Camp: Season’s End).

The camps have been closed for nearly a month but members may fish from the main dock, if they wish, until the lake is covered with ice. Not many of them do, and after more than a foot of heavy, wet snow fell on Wednesday, I figured fishing was done for the year. The lake remains free of ice, so casting is still possible, but after struggling to get chains on the tractor, clearing the dooryard and digging paths to the barn and the chicken coop, digging out a spot for some yo-yo to fish from was not high on my agenda.

Imagine my surprise then, when I returned from a walk in the woods yesterday and found that not only was someone fishing, said angler had brought along his own snow shovel and cleared the dock (well, most of it).

When he turned to me and said, “Grab your rod, Quill, I cleared you some space, too!” there was only one appropriate response.

Fish in a Barrel Pond, Thanksgiving Day, 2011

I am thankful for anglers who are willing to shovel a foot of snow, warm gloves, and the little brook trout who took a tiny pheasant tail nymph on such a lovely day.

 

 

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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