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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Balky Winter

A Facebook friend from Laramie posted today that she was going cross-country skiing today at the Happy Jack recreation area just east of town. I'd spent a fair amount of time there during Laramie winters, first learning to ski, then gliding over the well-packed trails, sometime with Kerry, usually alone.

When we moved to northern Idaho, we took up snowshoeing for winter activity. We've been looking forward to some time on the logging trails that cross our 66 acres, especially since some good friends have just decided to get some gear and try snowshoeing this year. But there's been no snow. Just a hard frost every night, coating the cars, the fields, the road, and the trees. some areas are so shaded from sun that the first frost is still on the ground.

The cats don't seem to mind. They're still hunting mice, crouched perfectly still on the cold, white grass, concentrating on the catch, more successfully than not. And the neighbor's chickens don't seem to care. The neighbors went away for the day and asked me to put the birds to bed at night and let them out of their roosting box in the morning. The rooster let me know in no uncertain crows that he'd expected to be let out earlier than I did (well, it did take me 15 minutes to defrost the car this morning). The rooster and his six-hen harem were out of their heated box and wired run as soon as I opened them. I think I'd rather have stayed in the box a while longer.

It's been overcast much of the week, with a weather inversion that's engendered a ban on outdoor burning. So, I've been spending time on our second hill felling trees Kerry marked earlier in the year, and cutting them up for firewood. Now the hill is littered with branches that I need to haul to the several burn piles we've built. But, who knows when the ban comes off. I check The Weather Channel Web site daily, looking for sunny days when I can get back on my road bike (armed with warmer cycling gloves) and when I'll need to mount the snow blade on my ATV. Expecting one sunny day this week; no appreciable snow.

Winter remains balky.


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