Saturday, January 4, 2014

Wild Vermont

This time next week, we'll be on a plane to LA. Vermont is seeing us off in style. 36 hours of snow, and the lowest temperatures we've ever experienced (wind chill factor of -34 anyone?) - temperatures that are unusual for Vermont this early in the year. Yesterday, the pipes that bring water from our well to the house froze and we were without water for the day.

Our wonderful landlord, who was in Montreal, offered us his home until water was restored, but in true kiwi style, we adopted a resourceful spirit. We consulted widely. Facebook yielded  sound commonsense and local knowledge from those who were used to such crises (thank you to Julian and Susanmarie), and somewhat more facetious advice from friends who were basking in the summer sun back home (you know who you are!).

At last! We have a pair of cardinals in the garden! they look so pretty in the snow.

the male cardinal is startling

his mate is more quietly coloured, but just as lovely
 Then we acquired water from our neighbour, Karen,  to ensure I could maintain my cup-of-tea requirements, heated up some snow for non-consumption purposes, and settled in.

A beautiful blue jay
Thankfully, by today our water was running again.
 Since the snow came, we've been watching the birds in the garden - there are many new ones, and our tree is alive with birds. Our opossums just come out on milder evenings now (I shovel a path in the snow for them to Bruce's great amusement), but we watched an enormous wild rabbit lope across our lawn one night.

We spend a lot of time trying to protect the bird food from the super-agile squirrels. I tell you, you'd swear these wicked creatures could fly.

I've always thought of snow as hard  or wet, but the snow here is so cold, it's soft and dry, like fine powder, and when the wind came up today, it whipped the snow up into the air, which made for some wonderfully dramatic landscapes.

But Vermont is a place of contrasts, and by evening, just an hour or so after the picture above was taken, the wind had dropped and the sky at Long Point looked like this:

Inside, our house is chaos - boxes and suitcases and assorted mayhem. My mind and emotions are similarly chaotic as I write endless lists, repack boxes, decide what must be shipped and what we will carry, think about saying goodbye to the friends we have made here - such good friends. Then I look out of the window at the startling sky, the birds, the soft, soft snow, and I stand still and try to imprint it on my memory. I want to remember this.

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