It is something of a change, this day with a temperature rising above freezing (it's 36° at 2:30 pm so there's even room for another degree or two's rise). We have been below freezing for the past eleven days - 264 hours - and we counted among those three mornings well below zero.
We've been -6° twice this month and -3° once.
So now we're having a bit of a well-deserved break. Call is a "January Thaw" if you will, only a month late.
Because it's warmer, that means I've donned my coat and taken walks back Sam's lane ... twice. The lane is still mostly snow-covered but slushy and far less slippery than it was yesterday. As I began my afternoon walk, I turned and looked over at Pinehaven, nestled in the snow and below a cloudless sky ...
It's still a cold wintry scene but at least today I can be outside without a stocking cap and gloves. While there's no wind and ample sunshine, this was certainly an afternoon to take advantage of. I am happy to get some relief from my cabin fever.
When I got to the rear of the lane and turned around to walk back out, the thin driveway - plowed by Jared - makes the return trip easy on the legs. The snow probably averages no more than 4" deep at this point but it has an icy crust and is a little hard to walk on.
Pinehaven is the structure half way up the frame and on the left.
I should show you a view from two days ago of my rain gauge, seemingly buried behind deep snow. That's not quite the case, though. When our driveway was plowed out last week by our neighbor, the snow was pushed to the back, out of the way of our car, and my rain gauge barely peeked above the top. I dug this path so I could get to it each morning.
Today that snow has melted quite a bit and patches of our driveway, just like Sam's lane, shows bare gravel in spots. That darkness will contribute to yet more melting, a cavalcade of events. In the days ahead we'll cool again and then we'll have a nice "heat wave". We'll be into the mid-40's by Monday and there's the chance we'll see the thermometer top 50° before next week is out.
Can I say we finally have hope? The winter of 2014 will be long-remembered but hints of spring are already being felt. The air today carries the scent of thawing earth, at least. That is a welcome start.
Later (02/14/14): I took another nice walk this morning and found the going fairly easy. It was about 20°, though, so colder again. Still, the lane is plowed fairly clean and with the just-risen sun lighting the scene, the sky-reflecting snow seemed a brilliant blue. I enjoy looking for animal tracks: deer and rabbit are most prominent but I see plenty of dog-like tracks, too. Coyotes?