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Thursday, February 05, 2015

    I sure got fooled when I went outside this morning at 9 o'clock to measure snow.  I looked at the thermometer attached to the kitchen window and it read 13 degrees.  That, compared to most of the days we've had lately, seemed like a step in the right direction.  I was outside only a few minutes, however, when I had a vague sense it was considerably colder than that.  I measured 5 inches of new snow and collected a core sample, cleared the snow where I measure each morning and hurried back inside.  When I made my report, I checked first the outdoor temperature on the weather station, and then the little mercury thermometer outside my office window.  They were both registering a tad below zero - and with wind chill the weather station had a reading of -13 degrees.  I had forgotten to take into account there was a bit of sunshine this morning - clouded over from time to time with snow flurries - but apparently enough warmth to elevate the temperature on our deck  thermometer I'd first checked before going outside.  By noon, when I was ready to hike up the hill, even that errant thermometer was showing 9 degrees, and it's steadily heading downward even with sunshine this afternoon.  
    We have lovely blue sky with a few clouds scudding by and a lot of horizontal snow coming off trees and blowing across the landscape.  It's going to be another very cold night, and the forecast is pretty much stuck in time with snow showers and cold temps into the weekend.  No January thaw or February relief so far!
    Here's something that will make you smile, just looking at the picture - and maybe you'd like to hasten spring by making some plans for the summer and have this nice "party barge" ready and waiting to launch as soon as the ice melts away.  It's nice to think about, isn't it?  It's also posted on the main website under "For Sale" items if you want to have another look later.  Seems like a good deal with the trailer and cover included.
    In the meantime, here is a schedule of events for the Cabot Library that will help while away some of these cold, snowy days.  Click to enlarge the image.
    I was reading this morning in an archived issue of The St. Johnsbury Caledonian dated March, 1884, about a heavy snow storm that had blanketed the area.  There were 15 foot drifts on the road leading to Peacham from West Danville, and even the trains got stuck and had to have "shovel brigades" clear the track of snow in spots between St. Johnsbury and West Danville and in the Walden area.  Farmers who were not on main roads were isolated for about a week before roads were opened to reach them.  In Crawford Notch, the track was completely blocked for over a week.  There were no serious problems, apparently, except for the trains being late with mail runs.  
    One man, described as an "old timer" told of how when he was young, sheep were used to pack the roads in winter.  He said "sweet hay" was dragged in front of them and they were "encouraged" to follow, and milling together as sheep do, they were effective in treading down the snow - dozens of small hooves acting as tampers, I guess. If that gentleman was an old timer in 1884, he was probably remembering roads in the early 1800's, and in this region they were few and far between at that time, as well as poorly kept.
    Right now I'm sitting in the sunshine and watching the snow blowing off the big spruces along the hill in back of our house.  There are clouds of snow at regular intervals, pushed by winds registering between 5 and 8 m.p.h. on my somewhat sheltered anemometer - it's on the roof, but there are tall trees blocking the north wind.  I'm sure the wind is much stronger at higher levels or down on the pond where there is little protection as it blasts straight out of Canada.
    Another night to be sure animals and humans are indoors and safe, out of the weather.

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