We're into the racing days, and over the hump. It will be equinox in five week's time, and each day the sun climbs a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky.
More importantly, the jet stream is predicted this week to flatten out and retreat into Canada for the first time this year, which will give us much warmer air for much longer. It's snowing out there right now, but warm, wet snow, not cold, dry snow.
(I think you have to live here for a while to appreciate such fine distinctions!)
Yesterday at the college a slow thaw set in for much of the day and the ice in the parking lots, assisted by salt, was melting fast and making a slushy mess.
But you've no idea how much nicer it is to see water in the liquid rather than the solid state.
Winter isn't over by a long chalk. But it is abating, and becoming more manageable. During the recent cold weather, for instance, we had to use the oil furnace quite a bit.
Now we can keep the house pretty cosy with the wood stove at one end and an electrical heater at the other.
Of course, this all comes with downsides. There isn't much chance of a snow day this week, so we'll have five full days' work.
Water from melting snow banks has penetrated the shed, and threatens to keep things wet in there for a while.
And the driveway will be a muddy mess when those snowbanks begin to melt for real. Generally snow melt around here is a gradual process driven by sunshine, but accelerated by rainstorms that come in March and April. If we were to get a muddy rainstorm before the snowbanks are reduced by the sun, we would probably be in pretty bad shape for a while. They can be moved further out of the way, but right now that would be difficult since all that wet stuff over the weekend has set up like concrete, and our 12 horse, compact Kubota can't easily move that kind of snow.
But anyone in Maine who has time and a big enough front-end loader is busy moving snow as far out of the way as they can, getting ready for the thaw. Last night on the TV news they gave out a warning about snow crews working to truck snow out of city streets and away from freeway on- and off-ramps.
Getting ready for the thaw. Or more snow. Another two-footer between now and April is not at all out of the question.
Today is a night lecture, so I get some time to do farm chores during the daylight, see how the land lies, and possibly even take the dogs on a decent walk. Hopefully a snowmobile has been by on the trail and packed it down.
The last time I looked, the trail was still covered in deep stuff.