image copyright Fred First

This picture featuring frosty pasture grasses against the barn is from a couple of weeks ago when we had a run of cold mornings–unlike the balmy ones we’ve had the past few. We could comfortably have worn shorts while working outside yesterday. We threw a few sticks of wood in the woodstove before noon on Friday, and didn’t crank it up again til this morning (and for my money, we don’t need it now, but…)

If pictures of ice on the creek was my hope for winter photography, I think I am going to be disappointed. The jonquils are coming up, so maybe I can look forward to wildflower photography in February this year?

January thaw? There’s nothing to un-freeze. Found a tick on the dog yesterday–cold blooded creatures quite active in mid-winter bodes ill for spring and summer vermin.

And yet, I’ll have to say that freedom from icy travel has made our coming and going far more casual than it usually is this time of year. Still, I’d kinda like to have winter this trip around the sun.

But it’s not your father’s planet, Bucko, and those old expectations may just be a thing of the past. Could be, the frost and wood heat in January will be the exception, balmy shirt-sleeve weather and a sheet for cover at night the rule.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I heard a snippet on TV yesterday of a guy saying that 2007 will most likely be the warmest year on record that this planet has ever seen. I’m not saying I mind it; 72* is great no matter when it occurs, but I do wonder what is happening to our weather and what we can do to stop the pendulum.

  2. Sap running on 12th night in the Berkshire and Litchfield Hills. I will not tap our old maple this year. Give it every chance I can.

  3. outrageous weather. while hunting in floyd over Christmas, my hands would freeze in the morning, while I would watch the sun come up and provide a 55+ degree day. i want winter back.