We have good news and not-so-good news. The not-so-good news is it's snowing - and no, it hasn't warmed up a lot, but right now I'm seeing 20 degrees outside my window. We could get from 3-6 inches, and I believe some of the cities south of us will be getting more snow on top of what they're still trying to deal with. All
Boston needs is another 6 inches to break all-time records for snow in that city. I'm reminded - I misplaced this photo sent to me by Cousin Ora, but it's still interesting, I think, so I'm using it now.
Now on to the good news. You can now go on-line at www.joespondvermont.com and buy Ice-Out tickets. The on-line payment page was activated today, March 1st, and will be available until midnight (11:59:59 p.m.) April 1st. The page looks different than it did last year, but we think it will be easier for you to fill out your choices of dates and times you think the block will fall through the ice and the clock will stop. You still need to purchase ten tickets if you pay on line, but there are no added fees to do that. If you want fewer than 10 tickets, go to the page for printable tickets, fill in however many tickets you want, print them and send them to: Joe's Pond Association, P. O. Box 111, West Danville, VT 05873, along with $1.00 for each ticket. Just be sure you have them in the mail before post offices close on April 1st.
I've had some folks tell me they're not expecting to see open water at Joe's Pond until at least the Fourth of July - but I think that's a bit extreme. It could be the ice will hold into May, which hasn't happened since 2007 when the clock stopped at 4:45 p.m. on May 1st. It is altogether possible that spring will break around here in mid-March or early April and be hot as July in Florida and that would make short work of all our ice and snow. Only time will tell, and even then it's anybody's guess exactly when the block will slip through the ice and disconnect the clock.
We haven't put the block and flag out yet - it's way too early, too cold, and yes, we expect we'll have plenty more snow in the next few weeks. Down in Goshen, Massachusetts, the block and flag have been out for a couple weeks, in spite of all their snow. Here's a picture Bob Labree sent a while back of their setup for the Goshen Meltdown. Unlike us, they apparently don't have ice fishermen or vehicles on the ice there during the winter - just an occasional x-country skier. We don't want anyone to get tangled in our rope or accidentally bump into the block and flag during a snowstorm or nighttime ride, so we will wait until the traffic subsides - and the weather warms up a tad.
In the meantime, here's an indicator that things are moving ahead towards spring in spite of the cold - we change our clocks next weekend! The time changes at 2 a.m. next Sunday, so we will set them ahead Saturday night - and sacrifice an hour's sleep. Looking outside, it hardly seems possible that next Sunday at this time it will be time for dinner - still plenty of daylight - but six o'clock already. That may be a little harder than usual to get used to with winter still holding us in a frosty grip, but who cares? It's a step in the right direction!
Enjoy the snow and drive carefully.