It’s February 4th, a snow day for many people in New Hampshire, including me. This is the first significant snowfall of this winter, producing over a foot, maybe close to 14 inches!
The day has consisted of cups of coffee, leisurely reading, and watching snowplows bustle up our road. The task of brushing off the heavy wet stuff off of my car turned into a monumental chore, lasting 30 minutes. Instead of bothering with my little brush/ ice scraper, I resorted to the kitchen broom! It’s a great workout digging out and even trudging through the yard of drifts.
While Tom’s out fastidiously plowing for our little town, I am watching the glistening snow continue to fall in a winter wonderland. It is my opinion that a pounding snowstorm holds a magical quality about it, one that people not living here may not appreciate. The beauty of nature shows with every flake sometimes ruined by a charging snowplow.
As this day flies by, so does winter. The days are slowly getting longer here and before I know it, I’ll be gardening. This snowstorm will simply be a memory, only thought of when visiting my photographs. Until then I intend to truly appreciate the splendor and peace this brings.
The last few days have been snowy and icy here. It’s a good thing I didn’t plan on any trips on my school vacation, the first week I was busy preparing for Christmas and this week I’m just hanging out. Tom has been in and out plowing, for our town and his driveway clients. He leaves in the wee hours of the morning before the sun rises and I never quite know when he will return. I am sure of one thing…he will return especially for a quick hot meal and the warm bed eventually.
I’ve been happily sleeping until I wake without the obtrusive alarm clock squawking at me. I rise when I rise…whether it be 5 or 6 am, it doesn’t matter. I bundle up in my comfy chair and sip my coffee. The first thing I do upon coming downstairs is turn on my Christmas tree, it is still up! I love having it lit in the early morning and in the evening. It stretches the holiday out for me and I can’t think of a better way to relax in my living room than in front of a colorful pine beauty.
While I’m on vacation it can snow and pile up for I have nowhere to be but here. It’s beautiful to walk in the woods and up our dirt road, an enchanting mass of trees frosted white and glowing in what little sun we have. I do love winter and the change of season. Now if you ask me in late February I may have a negative answer instead.
In October it truly feels like autumn, my favorite season of the year. There is a chill in the air early in the morning and late in the evening sending goosebumps up my spine. Even so, the days are pleasant and bright with sometimes radiating warmth on my skin. Lovely leaves change to deep reds, brilliant oranges and bright yellows while verdant grass and plant life loses its brilliance of green, giving way to the season. Soon all will be rusty brown to be coated with a white blanket once snow falls.
A passing wind storm ripped through our region last week, stripping all the crinkly leaves from their spindly branches. All the trees in our yard are bare, ready for winter and the ice and snow covering. Tom and I spent a weekend vigorously raking them in heaping piles. We loaded them in wheelbarrow loads and on a tarp to dispose of in our compost pile out back. It felt good to be working together as a team taking care of our yard. We labored quietly as the rake scraped scratchy leaves. Chipmunks squeaked back and forth, probably a warning that humans were around. Crows cawed in the distance, a true sign of fall.
October is a time of soaking in the best of the season. Hay bales, propped up scarecrows with straw plunging out, yellow and red mums in crude pots decorate front yards. Pumpkins and gourds lay strewn everywhere while fields are freshly cut of corn and tall grass. Apples fall with a patter from trees, feeding wild turkeys and deer. Little gray wisps thrust from chimneys, leaving a fall smokey scent in the air. It’s one of my favorites as it reminds me of my grandfather’s camp.
Apple cider making is under way as well as fresh baked pumpkin goods. It’s time for fall festivals and church bazaars, fun places to visit and pick up baked goods, grown vegetables and fruits or handmade crafts.
As fall progresses my thoughts are on a festive Thanksgiving and joyous Christmas soon after that. I look forward to spending ample time in my kitchen baking and smelling the fragrant aromas of my labor.
Right now I’m battling something medical with my kidney and bladder. I’m going to a urologist at a local hospital but have been told that there’s a waiting list. I have a firm faith that all will be well. I am strong and able to deal with it. It’s just a challenge to continue to work while this is going on.
It’s hot and steamy July, a month when one usually doesn’t think of frigid New England winters. Yet soon enough it will be upon us and that’s my husband’s mindset. He knows how frigid and snowy it becomes here and his steadfast winter preparedness drives him to find wood.
Recently Tom bought wood from his friend Mike, cut from his land in our town. He’s been hauling in it, cutting it on the wood splitter and stacking it neatly. So far he has accumulated about three or four cords. We will probably need at least three or four more, enough to last about ten months. We primarily heat our house with our trusty wood stove besides the little kerosene monitor we have in the kitchen.
In the last few summers I enjoy going out and working with Tom. He cuts and I stack, which is an excellent work-out for me. Last summer I spotted a huge black and yellow snake living in the wood pile and since then I’m a bit jumpy and nervous about helping. We have far too many snakes on our property and they creep me out!
When we go on our summer country rides and back dirt roads I appreciate spotting stacked wood piles. It means someone else is planning ahead! It’s amazing to see who still burn wood here. With that said, I’ve heard that many have resorted to burning pellets. It may be convenient and maybe cheaper but you can’t stack bags nor admire their beauty in someone’s yard, right?
Forgive the picture quality, it was through a closed window. See what visited us the other morning? We were having our coffee in the living room and spotted a couple of does in our side yard. They’re so graceful and fun to watch this time of year! I feel beyond blessed to live with these beauties!
the weather could be snowy and frigid yet the next day could be warm and mild
There’s a Northeaster forecasted when spring is supposed to have emerged ( this happened a few weeks ago)
People wave to you on the road if you know them or not
leaving food outdoors leads to wild visitors in the night
you are on a first name basis with the post master, the police chief
and the town clerk
Spring brings eager smiles, light hearts and open windows
Most days there is a hushed presence of nature
only to be interwoven
with soft twittering bird songs
and serene owl hoots
This is the country melody
that we all are mesmerized by
You know when you are in NH
When a tranquil peace hovers and rising mountains
Sugar maples, white birches and thick pines surround you
The busy world continues its crass noise
yet life here is slow and meaningful
country living with a stillness that
keeps one centered
If you haven’t visited New Hampshire in the northeast of the United States, you must deep in the summer or in the pleasant days of Autumn. It’s a chance to escape the rat race and explore the White Mountains and nature at its best!
While browsing through last April’s posts, I stumbled upon this post I wrote. It’s about how New Englanders thrive in all the seasons and the extremes. It takes a strength and pereseverance to live here, to remain content while the harsh conditions can test your endurance. As winter shuts its door and welcoming spring gradually begins, I wish to share this once again.
Amid mounds of glistening snow and icy sheets that glaze driveways and roads, I choose to walk. I’m sure heat worshippers think I’m crazy! It’s that I simply enjoy the crisp cold air, inhaling the freshness. This energizes me and reminds me that I’m alive! Everything is clearer and crisp. Distant white capped mountains stretch in the distance as the dazzling trees are dressed in bridal whites. Fiery sunsets paint the sky with rich peaches and promising pinks, an amazing accompaniment to this white world surrounding me.
While walking in winter, I spy animal tracks winding in yards and spiraling into the mysterious woods. Curiously I attempt to break the code and discover which animal had tread there. Deer? A fox? Possibly it’s a little white ermine such as the one that’s living in our yard and sometimes in the attic.
Cars race by, slipping in the snow. Even bulky trucks barrel on this quiet country road, as fuel deliveries are being made to stoke people’s furnaces.
I slip on a pair of mittens and comfy hat. Then pull on fuzzy socks and laced up boots. A parka is zipped up. Sometimes a woolen scarf wraps me in like a present. My house key lay buried in my pocket. I’m on my way…walking down the hill towards the bustling town and then up another winding slope to my road. Months ago this walk exhausted me. It left me gasping for air and I had to intermittently stop to regain my raspy breath. Since I’ve exercised mostly every day and mastered this walk, I no longer stop. My strides are longer, more fluid and my breathing healthy and not rushed.
I do not walk during snow storms per my husbands sage advice. Plow trucks take much of the road. Cars slip and slide, sending slush and snow at any passer by. Ice patches are hidden by white cover, easy slipping conditions.
I don’t really think during these treks. Instead I notice my surroundings, the houses, the cars and the animals tracks. I breathe deeply. I exhale warm puffs. As I approach my little house, the grayish column of smoke twists up from the chimney. I can already feel the houses warmth. As soon as I jingle the key in the lock and thrust open the barrier, a sultry heat wallops my face. Instant comfort. Our black cat, Smokey, saunters to the entry and greets me with his mewing and rub up against my frigid legs.
I hear the stove crackle as I tear off my wintry layers. This completes the winter walk experience and I sigh with a happiness, a general contentment that I live in New England and actually thrive because of it. I was born of strong stock, of Vermont families that have lived and loved the winter. So I continue the tradition and always wish to do so.
Have you walked in a winter landscape lately? Do you have a habit of walking and noticing every little detail of your surroundings?
Sometimes Tom and I take night rides around our town gawking at deer or whatever wildlife is out and about. A few days ago we were traveling up steep King Hill Road when an owl swooped over our car and landed on a nearby tree branch. It’s wingspan was quite expansive and at first it was quite hard to figure out what type of bird it was!
Tom put the truck in park while we watched the owl in the twilight. It stood absolutely still, probably about ten feet away from us. It was too dark to take a picture but it’s image is burned in my memory, it’s small stature, it’s wide alert eyes, it’s calm demeanor.
There’s something special about owls. When I see one I feel that magic is around me. It’s absolute beauty and composure amazes me, sometimes bringing me to tears.
It was a special wildlife moment that happens, taking my breath away! We were instantly mesmerized and what was really a minute or so, seemed like ages. I thank God for these creatures in my town and the opportunity to see them!