Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Warm Winter Adventures

This winter has been unusually warm for New England. To have an idea of just how warm it has been, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has declared it the 19th warmest January on the globe--in Vermont the daily temperature averaged 6 degrees warmer. Last winter we plowed our road every three days in January. This year we have plowed three times total (and one of those plowings was a freak October storm that dumped 14 inches!).

The lack of snow and 40+ degree days have allowed for longer adventures in the woods around our house. In January we tracked a bear! We've discovered a bald eagle living along a stretch of the Connecticut River. We watched the geese return to us in February. We have also taken to cooking dinner over out outdoor fire ring. A shelter is slowly being erected on our hill. And we have made a lot of sweet birch tea.

While Thag is at work, Yub Yub and I have taken to frequent long hikes in the woods. Her outdoor skills have grown immensely without having to take a break for bitter temperatures or snow so deep she couldn't walk in it. She can accurately identify and follow deer and squirrel tracks (often spotting them before me). She can also identify buckthorn (a common invasive) without any leaves--breaking off the stems and declaring, "I'm helping the other plants find space." Every day she seems to learn a new bird call or tree species.

We know this winter has been bittersweet for others, but our little family has been making the most of this mild weather and the opportunities it offers.

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