Technically It is still Fall

I couldn’t resist posting today, 12/13/14, the last day of this century that the date is sequential. And, unbelievably it is still a week until winter begins. While we have been enjoying the early start to the season, some of our relatives have already fled to the warmer climes or will be doing so soon. As for us, we are heading to Wyoming for a ski trip with family over the Christmas vacation. As they say, if you live in the northeast, you better like snow.

For those of you who don’t like to venture out in this weather, I hope these pictures at least convey how beautiful it can be. Cheers!

Signs of Fall under the snow

Signs of Fall under the snow

Cooper9397

trees9378

A Red Bellied Woodpecker came to call

A Red Bellied Woodpecker came to call

Redbelly9352

Winterbirds9370

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Mud Season

We are now in the month of February. Pawxatauney Phil has seen his shadow and 6 more weeks of winter are predicted. Given the way the climate seems to have shifted this year, I fear that means we will have a longer mud season rather than snow. Yesterday the temperature reached 60 here, 25 degrees above normal. The hard frozen turf had started to thaw, becoming squishy under my feet. The little piles of snow and ice had melted, forming murky puddles everywhere.

By this afternoon, the ice should have melted.

There are only two things to do- walk on the road and avoid them, or don your boots and old jeans and embrace them.

When I taught preschool, I always took my students outside, even if it was muddy. I knew that most parents would prefer not to deal with muddy children at home, but would not object to washing snowpants or boots off as long as the kids were clean and well-exercised by the time they went home. My own son often spent hours roaming the wooded area behind the house, tramping through muddy puddles in search of frogs.     Much to my annoyance, he could care less if his pants and shoes were caked in mud. At least I was able to train him to strip down in the narrow entryway we call our  “mud hall”, leaving his shoes, socks, pants and coat on the rack or tray.     

I never had to worry about my daughter getting muddy. She would hold the frogs in her hand if he brought them back to the yard, but she would not chase them into the mud if they got away.      She preferred to let her brother do the dirty work.

Everyone has their own level of tolerance for such things.  When I looked up other posts about mud, I found two that caught my eye (see related links below). They both have pictures of people frolicking in the mud. I certainly enjoy the cool nourishing feeling of a mud mask from time to time, but mud wrestling does not appeal to me.

Unfortunately, my dogs have no concerns about splashing through the puddles or digging in the mud. They don’t consider the consequence that they will need a bath, which they hate. So that leaves me with the dilemma. Do I let them run off leash, sniffing and enjoying the thrill of the mud;       

or do I keep them on the road where the best they can do is follow the mailbox trail?   

I better stock up on some doggie shampoo. It’s gonna be a long mud season.

Check out these sites for a laugh:

http://elenamaimonis.wordpress.com/2012/01.26/laugh/

http://www.townofguilderland.org/Pages/GuilderlandNY_Recreation/MudMania

A Winter Weather Poem

Early this morning, there arose such a clatter;

I sprang from my bed to see from where came the chatter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, pulled up the blinds and threw up the sash.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a v-shaped formation of honking Canada Geese!

They passed overhead, wings rapidly beating as if to warn me that winter is coming

I pulled in my head and turned around, knowing there soon will be snow on the ground

So today my task is to prepare, my family’s cold weather wear

thermals and snowpants, scarves, hats and mittens

jackets and snow boots and  other warm things.

The problem with kids is that they keep growing,

and you don’t want to be caught with the wrong size when it’s snowing.

And unlike the geese, we do not migrate

So I must head to the store before it’s too late.

First Snow

There is nothing like the excitement of the first snow, even though it signals the beginning of winter. It creates a beautiful blanket of white which prompts me to run around with my camera and capture the solitude of the moment.

It had rained most of the day, but the temperatures continued to drop and by late afternoon the precipitation had switched to snow. The flakes grew large and heavy, sticking to the grass and bushes. Once an inch had accumulated, my son dug out his snow boots and heavy gloves, determined to build the first snowman of the season. He raced out in his shorts and t-shirt to make the first snow angel and then got rolling snowballs. The snow packed nicely although he had to cover a lot of ground to gather enough snow. He set up in the front yard, where the commuters could wave to him as they returned home and give him credit for the first snowman of the season. Once he achieved the shape he wanted, he came back in to get supplies for the face. Chestnuts became the eyes and nose while apple slices formed the mouth. By the time he was done, he needed to warm up by the fire. I offered to make him some hot chocolate.

After it got dark, the whole family put on bathing suits and went in the hot tub. We had so much fun catching snowflakes on our tongues or tossing a snowball around, occasionally dropping it in the hot water where it melted before we could save it.

This morning I went out to admire the way the layer of snow glistened in the bright sunlight and observe which of my plants had succumbed to the change of season.

 

 

Something about they way they lay there, buried under the lush blanket, looked very serene. I think that is why the first snow is so special. It creates a sense of peacefulness and gives us permission to stop what we are doing and enjoy the moment. It only comes once a year.