Thursday, April 02, 2020

Somebody is confused. We woke up to a snow storm this morning and it's been snowing all day. Not amounting to much on the ground, but it's still coming down making this a dismal, dreary day. We didn't know it, but yesterday's nice weather was just a rather cruel April Fool's Day joke - we had a little taste of nice spring weather, but that's not really what Mother Nature has in mind for us. Actually, we're not finished with March weather yet.

Right we're seeing lots of the big, fluffy flakes that we often see during sugaring time. The good news is that it isn't terribly cold, hanging out at around 35-37 degrees so far today. This morning there was a little wind out of the northwest, and that made it feel a little colder, but that didn't last. At least it isn't sticking to the roads much at all - just making them wet. The top picture is our back lawn, bottom is our driveway. It's a blah sort of day - good day to stay inside!!

How is everyone coping with being so isolated these days? We heard yesterday from one of Fred's cousins who has been in Florida and who intended to return home this week. He and his wife have struck a deal with their condo owner to stay as long as they need to, so they're "sheltering in place" for the time being and will see what the future indicates. We are concerned about workers in essential services such as grocery stores and the big chain stores where people are often inadequately protected. As time goes on, we're worried so many of those people may get sick the supply of goods will be further compromised and lots of us will be without basic needs. We're hoping workers will get whatever is needed, gloves, masks, sanitizers, etc., to keep them healthy and able to be on the job. They are truly essential, and should have similar protection as health-care workers. Trouble is, even the health-care workers in many places are not getting what they need. It's unthinkable that our nation was so unprepared for something like this. Here in rural Vermont that's commonly know as being "caught with your pants down."

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

We awoke to a beautiful world of fresh snow on everything - really beautiful, but it was
gone within a couple of hours and we're back to patches of bare ground, some piles of dirty snow and occasional mud. This is pretty typical spring weather, and while the end of March usually signals the last of any heavy snow storms, April has been known to throw us some nasty weather some years. In the meantime, we'll enjoy temperatures in the high 40s today and nice cooling at night to keep the sap running for the maple industry.

I took these two photos early this morning. The sky was beautiful with very few clouds, and already the snow on the trees was beginning to melt. There is quite a lot of heat in the sun these days, in spite of the air temperature being still only in the upper 30s. It's now only 41 degrees and a light wind has come up that keeps us from feeling like spring has actually arrived.

Gretchen Farnsworth was up early this morning and got these nice photos as the sun was coming up. She said the geese and mergansers are here, but no loons yet. I think the loons wait until there is plenty of open water for them to land and take off on.  This is just off the point a little above the little island (Pearl Island). This second picture shows the channel is opening up into the broad part of the pond along Sandy Beach Road, about even with the big island.

The ice is very thin in spots and once again, the warnings are out for people to stay off the ice - no matter what pond you choose, none are safe this time of year. State officials are warning that this year the ice on most ponds and lakes in Vermont have not frozen to the depth they usually do, and that makes them particularly dangerous. A couple people and a dog have been rescued recently - they were the lucky ones - a rescue squad was able to get to them quickly. Others might not be so fortunate.

Here's an interesting story sent to me a few minutes ago by our cousin in Rhode Island. In case you find toilet tissue scarce in the stores around you, help is on the way! LINK

Tomorrow is our last full day for Ice-Out tickets, and that means the crush will be on to buy on line, we expect. Many of the outlets where tickets are normally are available are closed this year, so the only option for many people is to get tickets on line. There is always a last-minute rush, but  we expect it may be even more interesting this year. Fred will be overseeing the process as usual, staying close to the computer and the phone in case there is a glitch. This is really unnecessary because it always goes very smoothly, but he  doesn't want to chance having anyone disappointed because they are unable to get their tickets on line. So rest assured that you will be able to purchase tickets until the final second tomorrow, 11:59 p.m. on April 1. Good luck!

Monday, March 30, 2020

We have only two more days after today to get Ice-Out tickets, so if you haven't made your picks yet, better do it now. If you have tickets languishing somewhere in the house, take a minute to fill them out and get them in the mail. The on-line tickets will be available until 11:59 p.m. on April 1.

We've had inquiries about the thickness of the ice, and all we can tell you is that there have been ice fishermen out on the ice this past weekend and on March 17, Louis Cassani drilled a hole and measured 22 inches. That said, we've had some warm weather and some rain since then, so the ice is melting from underneath even if it doesn't look like it is melting on top. The water running into the pond tends to be warmer than what is in the pond and in addition, will raise the level of the pond and therefore create cracks here and there that will allow quicker thawing in some places. This, plus natural currents under the ice makes the integrity of the ice uncertain, and our advice is that unless you are very familiar with the pond and how it freezes and thaws (like most fishermen are) you should not be out on the ice. It's getting to be time that even experienced ice fishermen should be off the ice, as well.

Neighbors here at Joe's Pond have seen people strolling on the ice recently and are worried about them. We have visitors this spring who are experiencing Joe's Pond in a frozen state for the first time up close, and they may not understand that this time of year especially, there are spots that have a much thinner ice cover than in the middle of the winter. The currents under the ice are changeable and even old timers can't be certain where the thin spots will be each spring. Best not to go out there at all. There are plenty of other places to walk on solid ground. If you must go onto the ice, you should wear a life jacket and have some sort of tool attached to your belt that you could use to pull yourself out of the water onto the ice if you broke through. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department posted advice at the beginning of this ice-fishing season: Ice Safety

Please read it before you decide to walk on the ice here at Joe's Pond. It would be horrible to have someone go through the ice. We want you to enjoy as best you can being here this early in the spring, but we also want you to be safe.

Just a cheerful glimpse of things to come - my cousin who lives in the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, sent me this picture of her daffodils. She said she's had to cover them from snow and cold a couple of times, but they are blooming and beautiful. The view near her - the valley has no snow, but there is plenty still in the mountains.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

I just got some very sad news this evening. Our dear friend and the fourth member of our West Danville hist book committee, Jane Hastings Larrabee, passed away at home today around noon. We are so sorry and will miss her very much. Our thoughts are with Garey and the family. Jane had been quite ill since sometime last fall and had spent several weeks in a nursing home. Very recently, the family brought her home to West Danville. I'm sure it was comforting for them all to have her back home especially since the COVID 19 scare might have prevented them from visiting or being with her at the nursing home. The community won't be the same without Jane; we will all miss her. Condolences may be sent to the family at P. O. Box 58, West Danville, VT 05873.

A few days ago I told you that Norma Cassani had passed away. At that time, I hadn't seen the obituary, but I found it on the Time-Argus website and here it is: LINK

 These are stressful times for many of us. If you are feeling anxious and need to take a "time out," find a quiet spot with your laptop or other device, settle into a comfortable chair or stretch out on the sofa, close your eyes and listen to bird songs. Cousin Ora in Rhode Island sent a link to one that is fascinating to watch and listen to HERE; but if you want to just relax or meditate, you might try HERE. Trust me, it works!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Take a little time to watch this video. It's really good advice. We just shopped at White Market (for at least two weeks) using their curbside pickup and I just finished sanitizing everything in the order before putting it away. I did this with groceries before I saw this, but I still learned a lot for watching the video. Sanitizing everything takes a little time, but like the doctor said, we have extra time these days. It's time well worth spending. The video takes time to watch, too, but it has lots of good information. Thanks to Joanne Stewart for sharing this. Stay safe.
Here's something nice for your to listen to - Neil Diamond has adapted his signature song, "Sweet Caroline," to the prevailing pandemic. Thanks again to Andy Rudin for sharing.

As far as I know, none of our Joe's Ponders are ill with this virus. That said, our friends and neighbors are all being impacted by this unusual situation. There have been delayed appointments for all sorts of things, restricted visits to hospitals and nursing homes and we're all having to learn new ways to live our lives safely. Travel is being restricted - the Concord Coach bus line announced it will suspend service as of March 28, 2020; and passenger rail service on the Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express has been suspended indefinitely, effective yesterday, March 26, 2020. Inconvenient as this is for many people, it is a sensible step to take. Everyone should be staying at home or wherever they are, if that is at all possible.

This week I had a nice note from Pat and George Parizo. Their plans to go to Florida had to be cancelled this year. Several weeks ago Pat tripped in their house (in Springfield, Vermont) and  broke her left shoulder. After being in a sling for five weeks, her shoulder was still not healing so she was advised that a shoulder replacement was in order. She had an appointment at Dartmouth Hitchcock, but then that was cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic - no elective surgery being done. George said with all of that going on they cancelled their plans for going to Florida, but that they are safe in Springfield where their family is keeping track of them and bringing in groceries and meals on occasion, like for St. Patrick's Day, when they had planned to all be together, but Pat and George decided they'd better stay at home. George is optimistic about coming to Joe's Pond this summer, and we sure hope everything works out ok. Pat - so sorry this happened to you. I know it must be painful. Best wishes to both of you - George take care of your back, too!

My friend, Mary Whitcomb, checked in this morning. She took a ride up the hill from where she lives in Randolph and got this picture of the Whale Tails as the sun came up. 

Closer to home, Gretchen Farnsworth got this photo of a bald eagle near their house on Sandy Beach road this morning. She said he was camera shy, but she got this photo and I'm sure will be watching for other opportunities, too.  Gretchen said she loves seeing wildlife like the eagle, but wishes it would not prey on the loons. Eagles will grab loon, duck or goose chicks
or sometimes even adult birds if given the opportunity. We have plenty of geese and ducks, but the loons are precious and the eagle being here, if he/she stays, will add another danger for them to face.

Fred told me he saw a large flock of geese going over early this morning. Trouble is, they were heading south! Not a good omen! Maybe they know something we don't . . . or maybe their GPS is faulty.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

This came from Henretta Splain today - good information. Click HERE.

Henretta also sent this short video that is sure to cheer you up - VIDEO The background son is Catastrophize by VT singer/songwriter Noah Kahan.

Probably Vermonters do have a slightly different take on how to cope with calamities such as this Covid 19 pandemic. Diane and Dotty created a lovely snowoman, and she has been basking in today's sunshine -  however, perhaps she decided to cope in a different way. Diane suggests she's had a bit too much champagne . . . poor Lady Weatherly!

We mentioned earlier that Lake Memphremagog's Ice-Out Contest has ended. Here is the story on WCAX. (HERE) 

Our Ice Out setup is still out there, with probably a foot or more of solid ice under it. Not a lot of melting going on so far, but the last couple of days have been good sugaring weather, we're told. There's another way Vermonters cope - just retreat to the sugar house - we're all going to need some of that sweet stuff in the days to come.

And that's all I've got for you today. Shelter in place, practice social distancing, be safe, stay healthy, and take care of one another as best you can.

Somebody is confused. We woke up to a snow storm this morning and it's been snowing all day. Not amounting to much on the ground, but ...