Baby, it’s (almost) cold outside

Around these parts, there have been hints that locals are preparing for the wintry weather they know is around the corner. Trucks delivering firewood regularly pass us on the highway, a visit to LLBean two days ago had mister gardener and a number of other customers converging on the down outerwear, and our farmers’ markets have all moved indoors. Around the house, we’ve tested the furnace, stored umbrellas, and discarded annuals in pots. We’ve also dusted off the bird feeders as bears are now thinking more about their winter den than raiding birdseed.

Another sure sign of the approaching season is the colorful scene I photographed from our front door on a warmer day last week. These young people were roller skiing using long inline skates with wheels and ski poles fitted with special tips. Although they had skied past the house, they somehow spotted me and waved. The motion in this activity is similar to cross-country skiing in snow and it’s a terrific way to train for the upcoming season.

Even though my daughter kept her cross-country skills intact just like this for her Vermont school ski team years ago, it’s still a novelty for me to see such a sight. And from the expressions on their faces, you can tell it’s a good way to get in shape and have fun doing it.

I’m learning a lot about zone 5… but my thoughts always return to my family and friends in Virginia. I wonder whether any preparations are underway for cold weather in zone 7. Somehow I imagine them still enjoying a bountiful garden and colorful blooms in the borders…