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As Long as It's Winter, Let it Snow!

We live in the North Country so no one should be surprised when we have cold, snowy weather. But I never cease to be amazed by all the complaints I hear when snow starts to fall. I realize shoveling snow and driving on snowy roads is a real nuisance and hazard but once the road and walks are clear, a blanket of snow is a very good thing. As long as we live in a wintry climate, how about trying to appreciate some of the good things about snow? If you focus on the positive maybe the season will pass by more quickly for you! Four reasons to like snow: 1. Snow is a good insulator A lot of air gets trapped between the snowflakes as they settle on the ground and all that trapped air does an excellent job of insulating the soil. A sub-zero cold snap is much easier on your yard and garden plants if their bases are blanketed by snow than if the ground is bare. Bare ground allows the frost to penetrate deeper than it could if there was snow and more people have problems with frozen water lines when the ground is uncovered. 2. Snow is beautiful The gray days of winter can be so dreary but they're even worse when the ground is brown and bare. A layer of snow brightens the day and extends the outdoor light well after the sun has set on a short winter day. On the evenings when the moon is out snow covered ground reflects the moonlight. I love the violet-blue color snow takes on in the early evening and early morning light. It almost looks like it's lit from underneath. I also enjoy the way the woods, mountainsides and rock outcroppings look when there is snow. The snow reveals the contours of the ground in a way you can't see any other time of year. And of course, who doesn't enjoy the look of fresh snow on the branches of trees and shrubs. Evergreens often hold the snow for quite a while but you have to look quick after a new snowfall to see every single twig and branchlet outlined in snow. I have to make myself keep my eyes on the road after one of those beautiful snowfalls. 3. Snow reduces soil erosion Farmers are probably more aware of this attribute than city dwellers. But if you've ever driven by a large field in a windy site that was plowed in the fall, you'll notice the drift of soil particles. A blanket of snow reduces wind erosion of valuable topsoil. We only have a few inches of good topsoil in our region so we need to hold on to all that we have. 4. Snow is good exercise and fun to play in When I'm sitting around the house feeling cold, the best way to warm up is to go outside! This may sound crazy but it burns a lot of energy to move around in the snow and when I come back indoors the house feels warm and cozy. Of course if you have heart or other health problems snow may be too much exercise for you, but for many of us it's just what we need. Shovel the walk or drive, go for a walk, snowshoe or cross country ski. When I'm cold I feel like moving to stay warm so I get a lot more exercise without even thinking about it this time of year. During the heat of summer I move as little as possible our hammock gets the workout in the summertime. There are certainly days in winter when the temperatures are extremely cold, just like we have days of extreme heat in the summer. But there are lots of days that are, dare I say, pleasantly cold? Not every day is going to be pleasant in winter, I'm not that much of an idealist. But I do encourage you to try to enjoy the pretty, snowy days either out in the beautiful countryside we are so fortunate to live in or from your favorite chair looking out the window.

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