We've had a good deal of sun today, but the temperature has remained just a little above freezing. There was a really cold north wind that cleared the ice from the middle pond during the day, according to Larry Rossi. You can see that here in the big pond nothing has changed. That's a good sign for the ice to hold until the end of the contest on April 1st, but tomorrow and especially Thursday, we're heading into another warming trend with some rain again; then into a real deep freeze over the weekend. Larry says we'll be "making ice" this weekend. What a fickle winter this has been!
According to the news tonight, towns in Vermont have spent far less money on snow removal, salt and sand this year than normal. Even schools have had only one or two "snow days" which were actually "ice days" when the roads were too dangerous with ice for buses to travel safely to pickup the children. The schools will close earlier than usual this spring because they won't have to make up as many snow days.
The sugaring season has been unusually good, which is a little surprising; and not only that, someone recently told me the quality of the syrup is excellent. We're still being lucky with mud season on West Shore Road, but that's not the case on all roads in Cabot or other towns. I strongly suspect we still have a doozie of a mud season awaiting us - especially if the temperature on Thursday hits near 70 degrees as is forecast. We will likely be "saved" when it freezes up over the weekend, but that will be short lived, no doubt, and only prolong the misery.
I just got an e-mail from Bob LaBrie who runs the Ice-Out Contest in Goshen, MA that was patterned after ours. Bob said the clock stopped at their Hammond Pond on March 11, at 12:58 A.M. - more than a week earlier than the previous earliest date of March 19, 2012. Theirs is still a small contest, having sold a total of 849 tickets, which is down from last year's sales and the lowest amount they've sold since their beginning in 2005. I guess it's that kind of year when the weather was just too crazy for some people to hazard a guess. In short, chalk it up to El Nino. The top picture was taken on March 9; the bottom picture was taken on March 12, the day after the clock stopped. I guess the water isn't very deep at that spot. We were glad to hear from Bob again this year. We've kept in touch ever since they got their contest set up.
We don't know yet if our ticket sales will be significantly down. We always have a rush for tickets in the last few days before the close of the contest on April 1st, and that will probably be the same this year. We should be taking bets on whether the ice will hold up until the April 1st midnight deadline . . . ! Maybe next year, along with an "Ice-In Contest" in the fall. We still haven't figured out how to do that, but maybe someone will come up with a good idea.