WQW #40: GETTING READY FOR THE COLD
Around here, in the northeast, you have to plan for the cold. We always say “Need to get that done before the snow flies.” Given the erraticness of the weather, the snow could fly any time. It’s cold at night and it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve gotten snow before Halloween. We frequently get snow by Thanksgiving. Actually, if memory serves, we are more likely to have a white Thanksgiving than a white Christmas. I’m not sure why, but we often get an “early snow” anytime from late October until very early December. Then, generally, the weather calms down and we don’t get heavy snow until January or February. In recent years, our heaviest snow months have been February and March.
I was born right after a blizzard. It wasn’t a huge blizzard, not like the one that took place on my birthday in 1888 which was not inches, but between four and eight FEET deep. It paralyzed the east coast from New York to Maine and as far west as Ohio and Michigan. It was a huge storm, probably one of the largest in weather history.
There were a lot of things we needed to get done before the snow flies this year. Some of the really big ones were done including replacement windows through most of the house and a new boiler during the lockdown. These were our two most critical issues.
We also needed a new front gate. The old one was broken and rotting. And, the gutters needed cleaning. The dead tree right behind the deck looked likely to keep dropping limbs and could, in really bad weather, come down completely. It had been crumbling for a while. Every time the weather got a bit windy, a limb would fall including a couple of big ones. The last one that fell, I saw it break. It only took out a bird feeder. We were lucky. It could have been much worse. It seemed most unwise to let that tree stand through the winter. Maybe we’ll have a mild winter. Maybe not.
New Englanders don’t bet on the weather.
It’s a bad bet.
The trees in the backyard are red, yellow, bronze, and gold. It’s cold and likely to rain the rest of the week. It is raining now. I think it’s the end of autumn.
So on Wednesday, we had three trees taken down — the two directly behind the house and one more that was dead and in the way of the fall of the bigger ones. The main tree was an ash and it was, the tree guy assured us, at the end of its normal life. They only live 20ish years. The birds are unhappy because without their tree, they have to fly further. But in this the birds don’t have a say.
When the tree guy left, Owen built a new gate. He should have built it crooked. He built it straight, so it hangs crooked. The 22 year old fence lost it’s straight shape a long time ago. On the “up” side, we can safely open and close the gate, even if we have to do a bit of shoving to get it to line up.
Today the guy came to clean the gutters. Now that we have functioning gutters, it’s a lot easier to clean them. It’s just a matter of clearing the debris off the top of the grill. The same guy installed a lightning rod. We’ve been hit by lightning three times in the past 10 years, so getting a lightning rod was important. Getting hit by lightning will still blow out the televisions and computers, but at least it won’t burn down the house.
What warms me on a cold day? A boiler that works and uses as little oil as possible. A good heating pad. A down comforter. A warm furry dog. The memory of spring and summer in the future. And Emu boots! They are waterproof (or is that resistant?) and worn barefoot, they are as the only thing I’ve ever owned that actually keeps my feet warm and dry. They are expensive, but I’m easy on my boots, so they usually last for a decade or more.
NOW we are ready for winter or as ready for winter as we ever are.
Categories: #FallFoliage, #gallery, #Photography, #Weather, Anecdote, Blackstone Valley, New England, Trees, Windows, Winter
Cutting back and cutting down trees is as much a part of good grooming as brushing our teeth and going to the dentist, We are having a lot of diseased trees cut down this year at our condo. Even so a big one on the lawn out front lost a huge limb. Fortunately, nothing was around it but grass and landscaping. I love your pictures of trees. The leaves and colors are the iconic Northeastern landscape.
Your birthday shots threw me for a loop for a second. My great-grandmother was born in 1888 or thereabouts. I knew that couldn’t be your birthday – including the year. She was born on December 23, so she missed it – sort of – protected in her mom’s tummy. Her mom was a toll bridge operator, so I imagine she had the day off that day.
Thanks for connecting to WQW. It was fun to read your post and see your beautiful pictures. Feel free to link to any of my WQW or PPAC posts with a past post that fits as well. It’s fun to chat. I rarely have time to connect through my reader, so links work great for me.
Lots of love and have a great Halloween. 🙂 Party inside! 🙂
It’s coming here, too, though probably we’ve got about a week.
Sounds like winter has come to you early this year.
Not really. This is an average year. Sometimes, we get a break and it takes until the middle of November, but it’s usually winter-coat weather before Halloween. It’s why I always laugh at flimsy Halloween costumes. Unless the kids are going to a nice, cozy indoor party, you won’t see the costume because it’s too cold to wear it outside. I always suggested Kaity be a witch because I have a heavy black wool cape, so with the right makeup, voila! One witchy kid.
Weather in New England is notoriously erratic. We have warm winters, bitterly cold ones, ones that go from warm to cold to warm and back again — sometimes in less than a week. I’m not sure why the weather is so erratic, but it always has been. Garry has a deep, abiding distrust of the weather probably from having to be outside in it every day for decades.
My favorite year was when we were living in Boston and it was the 18th of November, but it had been a long, warm fall. We walked to a local pub in shorts and tees. Got there at noon when it was comfortably warm. When we left a couple of hours later, it was really COLD. I don’t mean cold-er. It was winter. It arrived while we ate lunch. Since we’d walked there, we RAN home.
What HAS changed with the climate is the amounts of rain and snow. We used to get a lot of rain all through the spring plus tons of snow from December through early March. The melting of the snow in the spring was critical to filling up the water table. We also got heavy spring rains which combined with melting snow always caused flooding in March pretty much everywhere.
We don’t get those rains now. Also, we are getting a lot less snow. AND we are getting warm weeks in what ought to be the coldest part of winter — January and early February. These weeks are as warm as summer. It confuses the plants, too. They try to bloom and when winter comes back, they wither and die. We NEVER got summer-type weeks in the middle of winter until a few years ago. We also got a lot more snow.
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The lack of rain is a big problem and although you don’t miss the deep snow the cycle of the seasons changing is disturbing.
👌👌👌📷🤗 first pic is magicaly🌹
Thank you. Pictures through that window are all favorites especially since I spend a lot of time seeing through it.
I’m glad you got the trees cut. One dangerous thing out of way.
I was getting worried. The last big limb missed the deck by inches. The next one might not miss. Tree doctor (he actually has a degree in trees!) said it probably wouldn’t collapse, but it would continue to drop limbs, possible some really big ones. Unhealthy for the deck and the roof. He managed to get the tree down safely without having to use his truck: a chain saw, a winch, a pulley and down it came. We left the tree on the floor of the woods. Dead trees are important to healthy woods it seems.
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Yes the wood will provide material to other small critters to survive.
And even if it rots, it will still provide homes for many small creatures.
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Yes, that’s the nature’s way.
Gorgeous! Poignant! Evocative! Well done!
Thank you thank you!!
It’s a storm of falling leaves outside. Everything is falling EXCEPT the oaks. We were trying to wait for our yard cleanup until after the oak leaves drop, but that’s probably impractical. They can hang on as late as December. By then, I’d like to be well buttoned up against Jack Frost.
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I know! We have many grand old oak trees here in Maryland. This time of the year, they literally glow when the sun is shining brightly. I find it so romantic when a whirlwind stirs up the fallen leaves. They rise. They roll. Sometimes they behave like a flock of birds or a herd of deer. Whoosh!
And that golden bronze color of oaks is beautiful. It doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves.
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