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A winter that never was?

January 29, 2012

It has been a tough winter. Now, I know that for many people it has been a blessed relief not to have to shovel, slog through the snow, worry about slipping on the ice. I also know that my rustic furniture business is really a hobby, and I am only out once a week, not every day. However, wintertime is for collecting wood to store for the summer. Collecting wood is a whole lot harder when the wood must be carried a few pieces at a time along muddy trails rather than in large sled loads along snowy trails. Last week, the only weekend this “winter” that I have been able to do so, I went out with my younger daughter and we harvested twenty to twenty-five long saplings which we cut in half and fairly easily dragged in for storage and future use. It took us one invigorating trip. To do that snowlessly would be an exercise in frustration, and probably ten or so miserable trips into the muddy woods and back. So that is my little complaint, and despite the rant, I do know that my problems (to quote Rick) “don’t amount to a hill o’ beans.” But I also believe that this winterless winter is a problem. Aside from the economic consequences for winter sport suppliers and facilitators, it’s a problem for nature itself. A good long stretch of cold weather is part of the natural cycle for New England flora and fauna. The only thing slowing down many invasive species of insects is the climate. Uncovered ground provides no protection from for small plants and if there ever is a cold snap, those plants have no snow for insulation. If trees, particularly fruit trees bud and bloom early will the pollinators be ready? Early budding trees may also be vulnerable to frosts.
I guess it is fair enough to call me a curmudgeon, but as I listen to the weather reports read by cheery newsreaders and DJs, going on about the beautiful weather, I can’t help but think of the first class passengers in their diamonds and furs on the deck of the Titanic saying, “Look at all those lovely icebergs.”

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