28 January 2007

No heat?

This weekend, our neighbors are on vacation and we are taking care of their cats. Although my two daughters are in charge of looking in on the cats, I seem to be the one to awaken early and trudge across the road to feed them.

Yesterday morning, I decided to take a bit of work with me, as the house was empty and quiet, other than the cats. It was only a walk across the road, but with temperatures well below zero, I had to go through the daily repertoire of putting on coat, muffler, gloves, hat, etc. I gathered up my books and ventured out into the early morning cold.

Much to my surprise, when I opened the door to the house, the air inside did not warm me, as expected. It seems the heater had gone off sometime in the night, after we'd fed the cats earlier in the evening. I could see my breath in the living room.

I checked the thermometer and it had bottomed out, below 50. The temperature outside had reached about 9 below zero during the night, and the wind had been ferocious.

I quickly turned the heat up high and then checked the kitchen and bathroom for leaks. All seemed well, and the house quickly began to warm again. Of course, all my plans for working in a quiet, cozy house were dashed. I sat in my coat and hat for about 20 minutes, trying to get some paperwork done, but my fingers were too cold to work without the gloves. By the time the house was warm, it was time to keep the coat on and venture back home again.

At times like that, I'm thankful to have a wood-burning stove. Our neighbors have one, too, and I'd have gladly fired it up, had the heater not come back on. The frigid temperatures can quickly do a number on our pipes if we let the house get too cold.

This morning, things have warmed up considerably. It's 15 degrees outside!

Copyright © 2007 - Paulla Estes

26 January 2007

Blustery

It is -5 degrees outside our kitchen window this morning. Of course, to me anyway, -5 is not all that different from +5. Once you get below about 20 degrees, it's just a matter of how quickly your sinuses freeze, but to me, it doesn't feel colder.

Yet, this morning, there are also blustery arctic winds blowing in from the north, so that -5 degree temperature actually feels like about -20. I walked out into our garage, which is at just about +10 degrees, and it felt ok. Yet when I opened the back door to let the dog out, the wind hit me in the face and it hurt. A lot.

I guess this is a result of all that global warming we keep hearing about... :)

Either way, if you have the good fortune to be in Maine on this chilly day, dress appropriately. Wear many layers and don't leave any skin exposed if you're going to be outside for any length of time that is longer than just walking out to your car.

Copyright © 2007 - Paulla Estes

22 January 2007

End of the Line for the Patriots

Buy at Art.comLast night, we held our breath as we watched the Indianapolis Colts make the biggest comeback in AFC championship history (NFC too, for that matter). Although the New England Patriots held the lead for the entire game up until the very last minute, we all knew that Tom Brady could make a miracle happen, and come back to win the right to go to the Superbowl once more...

Then we watched in horror as Brady threw an interception with only 24 seconds left in the game.

I'm sure no one felt as sick as Tom Brady, when he watched his Superbowl dreams suddenly die, but I imagine that like me, most of New England, and Patriots fans everywhere, shared in his grief. We sat there for a moment, stunned into silence, trying to grasp the awful truth.

Today, we mourn the loss, but we also take our hats off to the Patriots who gave us yet another good season. And remember, Tom Brady, we love you and your true fans have already forgotten about the interception.

For more on the game and the entire 2006-2007 New England Patriot's Season, visit The Patriot's Homepage.

See you next year, Patriots!

Copyright © 2007 - Paulla Estes

18 January 2007

Now THIS is winter!

When we moved to Maine, I was quite intimidated by the prospect of spending a winter here. I had spent a frigid winter in Rhode Island where the temperature had not risen above 4 degrees F for months on end, and the town in which we lived broke all snowfall records that year.

To me, Maine was the last outpost before the arctic circle.

Yet, when we arrived on a warm summer day, I was delighted to see lush trees, signs for local beaches, and pools in many back yards. Of course, a few months later when winter arrived, and with it several feet of snow, I realized the arctic circle thing was not far from the truth.

In December of that year, it began to snow, and it seemed to snow every few days until the end of March. And of course the temperatures were so low that the snow never melted - it just kept piling up and I wondered if it would pass our front windows. It didn't, but it did manage to completely cover a quaint little bench sitting in our front yard. Yet, the snow was all gone by the middle of April, and I found that Maine is the perfect place to plan a seasonal calendar. Winter truly arrived almost exactly on December 21 and was all but gone by March 21. Summer and Fall are consistent as well.

Yet this year...

Christmas found us without so much as a snowflake on the ground; in fact, many lawns were still uncharacteristically green. The middle of January (just a few days ago) found us going for walks wearing sweatshirts or vests. Just last week I still hadn't worn my winter coat yet this season.

However, this past Monday, winter arrived. It might be a bit late, but it is most definitely here. After a halfway decent snowfall of about 6 inches, the temperature dropped steadily, ensuring us that any snow that fell is here to stay for a while.

I woke up early this morning to feed our wood-burning stove, and the thermometer outside our kitchen window is registering a shivery -2 degrees F. Yesterday morning was much worse; the temperature was the same, but there was about a -20 degree windchill blowing angrily outside. This morning is calm, but it is the calm before the storm. We are expecting more snow tonight.

I have to admit, the warm temperatures have been quite nice, but these frigid winter days have a special place in my heart. They make me want to bake bread and knit and drink tea; things that I never did when we lived in a warm climate. Besides, regardless of how cold it gets, in a mere three months, the forsythias will be blooming... you won't find THAT above the arctic circle!

Copyright © 2007 - Paulla Estes