The weather just isn't matching up to the time of year up here in the Kingdom. We had rain last night and my thermometer shows a low of 33 degrees in the past 24 hours. Not our typical late mid-December weather, for sure. I measured .25 in. of precipitation this morning, and of course there isn't even a hint of snow left, and although I cannot say for certain, I believe the pond is fully open again - no ice anywhere. I think the pond has been almost entirely frozen over twice so far - except the big pond never quite froze completely. We don't know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead, but here is what the experts are saying: Winter 2015-2016. Looks like southern New England may be digging out from under excessive snow again this year while up north we may be lacking in the white stuff but enjoying warmer weather than last year. It was bitterly cold for what seemed like forever last year!
It has been suggested we should start an "Ice-In Contest." I've been thinking about that, but figuring out how to declare the pond fully frozen over would be tricky. We could have some microphones set up to catch the "ssssswoooooop" the pond makes when the last bit of ice closes over the water; or we could have Jamie Dimick attach a motion detector to the Sunken Island buoy that would signal when the buoy is no longer moving; or maybe have all our year 'rounders reporting daily, "open water," "cat ice," or "solid as far as the eye can see" -- that would keep year 'rounders busy on these gloomy days. Trouble is, I haven't figured out how to deal with the pond freezing over and then opening up again so many times; and truth be told, we have enough to look after dealing with "Ice-Out."
This time of the year our cat, Woody, gets very bored. He is mostly content to sleep during the day, but around six o'clock every evening, usually just as we are sitting down for dinner, he begins a routine that lasts until we go to bed. During these evening hours, he's always on the wrong side of the door and needs our attention. I wanted to find something to amuse him and perhaps tire him out during the evenings, so we got him a kitty toy when we were shopping on Thursday -- a little pole with a long line of sturdy elastic string attached to a soft, puffy little toy fish. He loved it. He lunged and jumped like a kitten to catch it, and once he did, which was within about two minutes of play, he chewed off the elastic in seconds and then walked away from the motionless stuffed fish, leaving me holding a wooden dowel with a soggy string attached. It was like he was telling me to get real and find him a trout or a perch to play with. I should have known the elastic string wouldn't withstand his razor-sharp teeth -- he's chomped my knitting yarn enough times -- sometimes when I wasn't aware he had been playing with it until I had the slimy, wet end of the yarn in my fingers. Yuck. He also loves to chew on rubber bands - those are a little harder for him to actually chew off, but enough tooth piercings in a rubber band make it a real danger and I've been zapped any number of times from them breaking at the tooth holes. But we love him in spite of his antics and demands, and will continue to answer his demands through dinner time and TV. I view it as good exercise.