Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another beautiful sunny day here in the GWN (Great White North). I finally managed to find the time, energy, and opportunity to head out to really get some time in snowshoeing. This time was no longer an experiment, and it was not cut short by concern over my furry companion, (the border collie Bear) though he did accompany me into the fields and woods. I am quite taken with snoeshowing, and have discovered that with the right preparation, which is in fact quite minimal, the concern is less about being cold as it is about overheating. I am certain that remark will spark scoffing and harumping in the naysayers, but take it from someone who loves the heat, you really do get quite warm. This trip out I skipped the thermals, at least on bottom, added sock liners and toe warmers, wore a thermal shirt, a t-shirt, and a pull over fleece, along with my leather coat and beaver hat (the green one for those keeping track), and all I would have wanted was a scarf or some sort of face protection, and maybe the thermal bottoms. I was not unpleasantly cold at any point, though the front that was to come in tonight to drop the temps came in a bit early so I found myself walking back into some wind, but only about what constitutes a calm Kansas day (about 10-15 mph)

The snow really tells tales, and given the frequency of snowfall, or shifting snows, the tales it tells are up to date. What I am referring to is the tracks of the various creatures. I came across the path of a rabbit (I am guessing that in fact it was a snow hare) and I saw many other tracks which were all from the last day at most. I heard a turkey call, and saw signs of larger animals having foraged nearby recently. Bear got the scent of something under the snow and had to be called repeatedly to get him to leave it be.

I can tell that a pair of good properly sized snow shoes is in my future.

Yesterday we headed up to one of the bigger towns to get a few supplies not readily available locally as well as to drop off a stove at the Salvation Army. As luck would have it, as we got out of my truck to find out where to drop off the stove, we were approached by a couple who were looking for a stove. So we quickly negotiated a very generous (to them) deal and them delivered it for them. The appreciation in their words and eyes would probably have been reward enough though it was nice to make a couple of bucks on the stove nonetheless. Immediately thereafter the snowfall increased, and so our errands were a bit more tricky given a two wheel drive pickup and slick conditions, still no problems and no accidents. The drive home took longer than usual, but we arrived safely which was the main concern. Fortunately the snow driving skills picked up during my years in KS quickly came back to me. As a rule from what I can tell, the roads remain better here than in KS or other areas I have lived where snow or ice occurs. The roads were merely wet, and in the worst places had a bit of slush. I had expected snow pack and extremely slow driving but clearly they know how to deal with this.

I did a bit of work around the house here as a means of earning my keep, or at least showing my appreciation to my generous hosts. We are sprucing up the stairhall, which will be finished by tomorrow.

Ah, and last evening we watched an episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie. This is a must see, especially given the jingoism and bigotry which are sadly the norm in the US. It is a Canadian production, but few of the references will be lost on the US audience. It is not preachy or PC (by any stretch!) but it is an amusing sit com which gets around a good deal of the nonsense surrounding the current efforts and religions tensions. The next episode will feature Colin Mockery for those who are familiar with him from Whose Line is it Anyway.

The remainder of my time has been taken up with reading. I will go into that a bit at a later date.

For now, I hope everyone is well, warm, and happy. I know that I am all three as well as quite content.

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