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Sunday, March 1, 2015

What's That in the Wood Chips?

It's been a memorable winter in Massachusetts, as in most of the other 47 lower states. Record cold. Record snow depths in some places. Reports of many birds, deprived of adequate foodstuffs, dying in the merciless below-zero conditions.

A potbelly woodstove is one of the most comforting possessions you could own when the thermometer's unable to muster more than a couple degrees above zero. Did you ever wonder how there could be temperatures below zero? Doesn't "zero" suggest there's just no heat left? What could be colder than that? Well, we've been supplied with the answer to that many times lately: 15 below zero is colder than that, a lot colder! Yikes. Let's not even mention wind chill.

The thought of going out to the woodturning shack when the needle on the thermometer can't get out of its bed is, well, of the negative variety. That potbelly stove out there may be a godsend when it's aglow, but when its belly starts out at 20 below frostbite, eh, not so much. It's a lot easier to catch up on chores in the house then, where coincidentally it's dozens of degrees above frostbite.

So this morning, I was pondering the universally important things... why do I have two identical pairs of socks that don't match?; what's for breakfast besides oatmeal?; if snow is water, why isn't it clear?; how are the woodchips I dumped on the compost pile yesterday faring?

That last question seemed to be the most pressing, so I peered out the back window toward the aforementioned pile (trying not to focus on the outside thermometer, which peripheral vision determined was shivering around 10° F.). This is what I saw:


Somehow it's nice to know someone is guarding the woodchips.

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