Okay, folks, I have to confess that I was expecting to be writing much more dramatic weather-related posts by now. Something like: Woke up this morning and couldn’t see the sky — entire house covered in snow!
Or: Erick had to snowshoe into town today to get us provisions.
Or: Had to carry all three girls home on my back through a blizzard.
But here we are, more than halfway through January, and winter has been disappointingly manageable thus far.
Sure, it’s snowed. In fact, it started snowing right around Halloween. And sure, it’s been cold. As I write this, our outdoor thermometer reads zero and temperatures will surely be negative overnight. It’s just that the cold and the precipitation can’t get their act together and coordinate any dramatic, lasting snow. It’s like Congress is running our weather. (They can’t, can they?) Here’s the typical pattern: It gets cold, it starts snowing, a couple of inches of snow accumulate, the next day it “warms up” just enough (36 degrees or so) to melt all of the snow, then temperatures drop again, it starts snowing, a couple of inches accumulate, etc etc.
Everybody we know who’s lived here longer than we have has assured us that this has been a very mild winter. They’ve also assured us, with a knowing look, that the snow is coming. But I’m starting to lose faith.
You may be wondering: WHY DO YOU WANT IT TO SNOW?? Well, for one reason, because when it snows our yard looks like this:
For another reason, we’re SO prepared. We have all our winter gear, our wood stove, our generator, our snow tires, our hot oil undercoating (that’s a whole other post in itself!)…we just need a chance to USE them!
And finally, back when winter was just an ominous season on the horizon, we were told again and again that “The only way to make it through winter here is to get out and enjoy it.” But it’s not so easy to get out (or get your kids out) and enjoy snowless 7-degree temperatures.
The good news is that it doesn’t take us too long to get to some snow that we can enjoy. As I’m sure you know, the total accumulation and longevity of snow is a function of altitude. For instance, since we live in the woods up on a ridge in the Green Mountain foothills, we get slightly more snow at our house than right in the town of Middlebury. Likewise, if we drive 15 minutes up the mountain, there’s even more snow and it tends to stick around after the snow at our house has melted. So last weekend we took this lovely hike on the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail.
And, just because we don’t have much snow outside doesn’t mean we can’t have some inside! A few weeks ago, the girls and I made these paper snowflakes to decorate their room. (The best-looking ones are made from templates that I found here.)
While we’re on the subject of hanging decorations, allow me a little thematic detour. It’s drab enough not having much snow around, but it’s even worse when you have to take down the Christmas decorations that have made the house feel so festive for a month. So this year, we started a new tradition. You know all those Christmas cards, the ones many of you sent us? We hang them up in our dining area as they arrive. This weekend, I had taken them all down and was getting ready to throw them away, when I thought, “It seems a shame to throw away so many beautiful pictures of so many beautiful people.” So instead of throwing them away, I cut out all the photographs (thus removing any seasonal themes), strung them together, and re-hung them. And there they are, so that every time we sit down to a meal we can look up and think of our friends and family.
Who knows? I may even leave them up until next Christmas. Just thought you might want to know that your cards live on, and that at least once every meal, a Gong Girl points up and asks, “Who’s that?”
Finally, since I’m already going off on random tangents, here’s one more: As I was downloading the photos from our camera, I noticed this one, of a blazing fire in our new wood stove:
I asked Erick about it, and very casually he said, “Oh, I just thought you might want that for your blog.”
So, for the record, there is the blazing fire in our wood stove that Erick built. By himself. Probably with his bare hands. Because he is a Real Man. (As if surviving in a house with 4 women wasn’t enough proof).