Category Archives: Tracking

The sub-nivean zone

Hi all! Happy New Year! I wish everyone joy, peace, and health in the upcoming year.

 

And now, to start things off with a bang, check out my most recent Earth Matters column in the Hampshire Gazette (Jan 2, 2016). It’s about life under the snow:

 

http://www.gazettenet.com/news/townbytown/amherst/20162762-95/earth-matters-the-sub-nivean-zone-life-under-the-snow

Frigid morning

Woke up to a frigid morning. NOAA reported the temperature at -1 degrees (F) at 8:30 am, though my partner reported -4 in his car. Bad time to have run out of wood, though the oil is doing a surprisingly good job of fighting the bitter cold that presses against the walls and oozes though the windows. This house, though originally built in the 1840s, is much better insulated than our prior house, a 1790s drafty bucket with almost no insulation beyond some lovely double-paned windows. At almost 3K square feet, mostly closed off and unheated during the winter, we nonetheless went through 6-7 cords of wood a year. Yes, this new house is definitely an improvement.

A kind but strange neighbor generously donated a cord of wood to us not long after our arrival here this summer, but then spent several subsequent days staring longingly down our driveway. For a week or two, it seemed that he took daily walks by our house, hovering near the edge of the property like a hungry sparrow. I’m not sure he wanted the wood back so much as conversational opportunities, but his behavior was so odd that I took to staying in the house every time he came around, and finally he gave up. I felt a little guilty, but do not plan to be held hostage by anyone’s generosity, whatever the motivation. I hope he has found some friends.

Anyway, yes, it is frigid this morning. En route to collect the last, skinny maple logs, I found a number of tracks in the snow. What do you think they are? (The first 5 photos are all the same animal.)

DSCF5462

DSCF5458

DSCF5453

DSCF5452

DSCF5451

DSCF5448

DSCF5444

DSCF5442