Soccer ball in sludgy snow

It is March 4th–March forth!–so that is exactly what Roxy and I did, walking this morning at the usual time despite the wintry slop outside.

Last night’s storm left a few dense and sludgy inches on both cars, which I cleaned off this morning: the rain will rinse the first round of snow away before round two arrives again this afternoon.

The streets were empty of other walkers–everyone else chose to stay inside or delay their dog-walks for later–but one blessed house had already cleared their corner-lot sidewalks, which were wet rather than slushy. I admit: I feel infinitely more kindly to those neighbors than to the ones who didn’t shovel at all after the previous storm. Yes, your pedestrian neighbors notice and remember if you shovel a path to your front door but not the span of sidewalk passing in front of your house.

The plows were out, clearing slush and sending up an impressive spray of winter wet in their wake. Since this isn’t my first winter walking, I had the foresight to cross to the other side when I saw a plow coming, and then I watched them circle back down the same street to spray a wide arc of salt.

It’s the kind of day when most folks would stay inside, and from the inside looking out, today looks miserable. But it’s not a bad day once you’re outside in it.

Sunny stairwell

Today is bright and brilliant: the sun between storms. Most of the wintry mess from this week’s storm has melted, and the ground is muddy in sunny spots and covered with a thin film of snow in the shade.

Sidewalks that were shoveled are bare and sun-baked; sidewalks where the snow was trampled by intrepid dog-walkers are crunchy underfoot, with a mottled surface of hard-pack and ice. In some spots, there are thin patches of snow lingering in the shadows of nearby trees: watch your step.

Another storm arrives tonight, bringing an unpredictable mix of snow, sleet, and rain. It’s another spin of the weather wheel: where it stops, nobody knows. Whatever soggy mess arrives overnight into tomorrow, we’ll slog through the slop then clean up after. Snow-turned-sleet-turned rain never lasts long in March: the sun is growing too strong to be denied.

Wintry mix

It continues to be an unusually warm, rainy winter. On Monday, we got several inches of dense, sludgy snow: the first time J has used the snow-blower all season. By Tuesday, the snow had melted, and now we’re in a pattern where we get a slick coating of sleet, snow, or slush overnight that disappears by mid-morning.

Wintry mix is the term New Englanders use for mixed precipitation: a messy combination of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Given this week’s warm temperatures, the weather has been heavy on “mix” and light on “wintry.”

Scooby and Groucho

We’re in the midst of a winter storm, so the sky has been spitting all day: sometimes rain, sometimes sleet, and sometimes wet snow, a combination New Englanders call wintry mix. Now that it’s dark, I gauge the precipitation by the sound it makes on the windowpane: rain is a patter of mice feet, sleet is a tinkling chandelier, and freezing rain is a sizzle. Snow, of course, falls silently, but so far, we haven’t gotten many fluffy flakes, just a sludgy slop that falls like rain then congeals into clumps.

This is my Day Twenty-Six contribution to NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, a commitment to post every day during the month of November: thirty days, thirty posts.

This is your windshield on wintry mix

I left Keene for Newton yesterday around 4:00pm, before the worst of the ice storm hit New Hampshire. But yesterday morning, I did snap an image of what your car windshield looks like after a night of wintry mix: a foretaste of the ice to come.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Weathered.


On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I teach at 8:00, so instead of letting Reggie out to sniff the accumulated piles of snow in my yard and driveway, I take him for a quick walk: around the block and back, far enough for Reggie to sniff and pee and for me to snap a few pictures before coming back to prepare for class. This morning, the eastern horizon was capped with pink, trout-speckled clouds: sunrise.


On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I get home from teaching around 4:00, so instead of letting Reggie out to sniff the accumulated piles of snow in my yard and driveway, I take him for a somewhat longer walk: to downtown and back, far enough for more sniffing, peeing, and photo-snapping. This afternoon, the sky opened to release a confetti-drop of quickly accumulating white: snowfall.

As I type this, I’m tucked inside for the night and the sky is spitting a sizzle of wintry mix on my window panes: the last I checked, my car was nestled in four to six inches of new, wet snow. Tomorrow morning, after Reggie and I get back from our Wednesday morning walk downtown and back, I’ll dig out my car while Reggie sniffs the newly accumulated snow piles, then I’ll spend the day doing grading, laundry, and teaching prep: another February dawn-to-dusk in New England.

Laundromat lost & found

Apparently my alter-ego works at Market Basket…and she left her name-tag at the laundromat just like Jared from Pizza Hut left his name-tag somewhere along Main Street last May.

For a rainy day

Today’s been a meteorological mess of a day, with classes at Keene State being canceled due to a whole night then day of rain, sleet, snow, and freezing rain. Right now, the rain is still falling onto saturated snow, so we’re under a flood warning: not a pleasant place to be given vivid memories of the last time Keene flooded. Still, it was momentarily cheering today to realize one of Keene’s other laundromats–my usual one being closed due to the weather–has an official lost and found board for all those stray keys and name-tags that get laundered out of customers’ pockets.

On a dismal, wintry-mix New Hampshire day, a girl’s best friends are her Anchor Drop rain boots and anyone who helps her find lost keys. At your service indeed!