Winter here in western Massachusetts runs the gamut. This January brought spring-like conditions. February started with what I call perfect winter weather. That’s several inches of powdery pure white snow, clear blue skies, and bright yellow sunshine. For several days these gorgeous conditions were accompanied by temps in the 20’s. Aw… perfect. Then, the deep freeze came… minus single digit temps and fierce winds. Frozen pipes and power outages. And, now, here it is, our typical wintery-mix. Ice-laden roads and school cancellations.
For dogs and those who enjoy the warmer weather of spring-summer-fall, January was a welcomed bonus. Here at our house, the dogs spent long hours enjoying their favorite outside activity of hunting on the hill. It’s what they do every day during spring-summer-fall: King, Lily, and Annie sit motionlessly gazing into the woods watching, listening, and sniffing for woodland creatures that scurry along on the ridge above their hunting hill. Literally hours can pass without a peep from these three.
The gorgeous powdery snow brings it’s own set of pleasures for our crew. When King, Lily and Annie see the snowshoes at the door, they know that the snowshoe game, as we call it, is about to begin. They literally jump for joy around me as I strap the large shoes onto my boots. Once I’ve paved the way with pathways around the perimeter and diagonals criss-crossing the entire back field, off they go, racing on the tracks. Leaping in the air. Laughing. Smiling. A fun activity for all. This type of weather reminds me of the winters we enjoyed when we lived in New Hampshire – snow, lots of it, and crisp, very-cold air. Never any ice. The kind of snow for fun – building snowmen and sledding, and cross-country skiing.
It’s the wintery-mix, what we experience so often here in western Massachusetts, that really causes the problems. Warm during the day and freezing at night. Too warm for snow, it rains on top of the existing snow, resulting in layers of thick ice. In weather like this, the dogs need to be pushed out the door to do their business, and they zoom right back inside once it’s done. Being English Setters, King, Lily and Annie are perfectly content to lie by the fire for hours. They handle this so much better than I. It’s on wintery-mix days that cabin fever hits me hard. I need to take a lesson from my dogs!