A January Thing

Every fall I make noise about attending one of the big fly fishing shows over the winter, but by the time I feel ready to deal with a couple thousand anglers, all at once, the shows are over and done. The closest show to Fish in a Barrel Pond is in Marlborough, MA, this weekend, and quite frankly it’s just too soon. You all go ahead with your eager anticipation of the season to come, but some of us are still recovering from the last one. Opening Day will be here soon enough. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the peace and quiet.



The January Thaw is a mostly reliable annual phenomenon, occurring when a shot of warm air moves in from the south for a few days, providing a short respite from the deep chill of winter. Tall snowbanks shrink, drifts settle, and eaves drip, while ice turns to slush and the remains of winter’s First Act seek their own level.

January thaw in Vermont

This year’s thaw came last week, with temperatures climbing to near 50°F a couple of times and a string of three nights above freezing. Quite a contrast to the previous 72 hours, which included a few hours well into the teens below 0°F. The warmest chicken in the coop was the one in the middle on the perch; the one on the end, against the cold north wall, was found dead on the floor in the morning, which was a first for me. Chickens are usually pretty darn tough but, even with a heat lamp and plenty of fresh water and food, it was a rough morning in the coop. Twenty four hours later, though, the survivors were taking full advantage of the warm temperatures and lengthening days, roaming their pen, picking bugs off the melting snow.

The thaw is brief, and another cold snap usually follows, turning melt water to polished ice and saturated snowbanks to concrete. In the space of a week the weather swings wildly, from deep freeze to false spring and back again, and a quick, unscientific survey of the locals finds that moods follow roughly the same pattern. It’s not the short, dark days of winter causing SAD; the days start getting longer as soon as winter begins. It’s the pain-in-the-ass factor, which is both literal and figurative, especially with polished ice hiding beneath fresh-fallen snow on the way to the mailbox.

Spring will be here soon enough. In the meantime, we’ll try to enjoy the peace and quiet.



Sometimes it seems winter dominates this blog, partly because it dominates life in these parts for nearly half the year, and partly because it is when more of my time is mine. Looking through the archives, I find some pretty crazy stuff during the winter months but I also find themes that repeat, in slightly different forms, from one year to the next. I pledge no more posts about raking snow from roofs or moving piles of it with the tractor, so enjoy the peace and quiet.


If you are not already a subscriber to The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond, click that button, over in the right hand column, where it says “Get Fed!” and subscribe any way you want, via Feedburner. Then, don’t forget to check your SPAM box for the all important confirmation email!

That’s a new widget, by the way, another change to these pages, but it’s small potatoes compared to the other new widget, Department of WTF, with Quill Gordon’s Facebook Mug Shot. That’s right, Quill Gordon has a page on Facebook!

Even before this, the official Official Announcement, 29 people have found and “Liked” old Quill on Facebook, more than quadrupling expectations! When I shared this exciting news with some of the younger folks in our village, they laughed and said “Dude”. Then they held up their phones and took my picture, debating the relative merits of #pathetic vs. #rusticrube. I prefer #lateadopter, but they’re right. Twenty nine “Likes” ain’t exactly viral, so click that widget and show Quill Gordon some like. Introduce your friends to Quill, too, so as many people as possible will be around for the Big Surprise Announcement.

Big Surprise Announcement? Stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the peace and quiet.



Categories: +Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “A January Thing

  1. I also hate the thousands of people, the fake-ass corporate fishers whose once a year fishing trip costs as much as my car. It gets unbearably stuffy in there. Although, put thru a thaw, freeze or whatever, I do need more thread and hooks. I’ll be there, 1/2 cocked at 9am on a Saturday morning, as any respectable Swamp Yankee should be. Look for me cursing at Sage’s Tom Selleck. look alike MF’s who think everyone is a beginner. I might get kicked out by 9:30 or 10:00, depending on the deals. In which case I’ll be enjoying the peace and quiet outside sitting on the curb drinking a beer. If you manage to spot me, I’ll hook you up with a SYS dry tied by yours truly.

  2. Nice chairs.

    I actually wish we would get some snow. Not that I want to hurt my back, but bright blue skies with thin patches of ice in the shadows just doesn’t feel like winter. And it still sucks to be out in it.

    • Those chairs are vintage for sure. So are the colors.

      You might find someone to shovel snow for you cheap if you didn’t scare the neighborhood kids so bad, you know.

      • I’ve got four of those in my backyard, waiting for snow. I think one’s a good 50 years old.

        Yeah, poor neighborhood kids. I found one that has no sense of humor. His mother thought it was funny. Now, apparently, he’s terrified of me.

  3. It’s the pain-in-the-ass factor, which is both literal and figurative, especially with polished ice hiding beneath fresh-fallen snow on the way to the mailbox.


    • Nice hash tag, old man.

      There’s a Quill Gordon Twitter account out there, somewhere, tweeting feebly every time I post to this blog, but I don’t think I could work it even if I remembered how to access it.

  4. Victor Salvo

    I saw a tragedy unfolded in the snow. It reminded me of your otter/coyote photos, minus the blood. Looked like some poor hapless sucker had bit it on the return trip from the mailbox.
    Dagnabbit, that was me!

  5. A day without Quill is like a day without Metamucil. Don’t laugh it’s a necessity for us old geezers!

  6. Happy to be one of your first group of Facebook “likers”. Always good to hear from Mr. Quill. Your winter views remind me of what my life was like in Eastern Idaho before my move to Colorado. Might get an extra fishing trip this year!

  7. These pictures of the snow are super-lovely.

  8. bootandcanoe

    Absolutely- enjoy the winter quiet while it is here.

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