Let it snow, let it snow!

People tell me they can sense subtle signs of spring. My Kentucky daughter tells me that, although they’ve had a very severe winter in Louisville with temperatures that mirror ours, there are signs “spring is right around the corner.” She senses more light during the day, her garden seeds are bought, and her fingers are tingling to get in the soil. Closer to home, Keene, NH blogger at New Hampshire Garden Solutions posted photos of skunk cabbage emerging through the ice and snow, something I didn’t expect to happen for a couple of weeks. The signs are here but I honestly cannot feel spring at all.

Our arctic freeze may tease us with a partial thaw yet refuses to lessen its grip. Snow drifts are waist deep around the house and 10 times that deep at the edge of parking lots…. with more snow in our forecast for this week. We have spent the last couple of weeks trying our best to thoroughly winterize this home. We have sealed the house, added a couple of more feet of insulation in the attic, and cleared the skylights of ice and sealed sealed them well. No, I just can’t feel spring yet.

Jack Frost on skylightAlthough I know nature is preparing for spring, an activity we attended last weekend seemed to confirm winter’s grip. On Saturday, we traveled to Keene NH to visit family and were entertained at the 12th annual Ice and Snow Festival. We could partake of hot cocoa and cotton candy while strolling the streets of downtown Keene watching the ice sculpting artists at work. That’s not all. We could have fun making s’mores over a bonfire, join in the snowball throwing, watch snow sculpting artists at work, jump on a horse drawn wagon, and meet the official Ice Princess!

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Spring is certainly on the way in New England, but winter weather is still being celebrated in carnivals and festivals across the state. Hundreds of New England folks bundle up on weekends and enjoy ice skating contests, ice fishing derbies, snow golf, sled dog racing, and horse drawn carriage rides. As a southern transplant, it’s all new to me and I’m having a ball….

If you build it, they will come…

This weekend we joined our son and thousands of people in Keene, New Hampshire, for their 21st annual Pumpkin Festival. It was our first time at the festival and we came bearing our own artfully hand-carved pumpkins. This year brother Drew Scott of HGTV’s “Property Brothers” and camera crews were in attendance to spur on friendly “Pumpkin Wars” with the town of Highwood, Illinois where Jonathan Scott stirred up those residents and visitors. Each community competed to see which town could set a new Guinness world record for the most lit pumpkins. The official pumpkin count from Keene is publicized at 29,381, falling short of the 32,000 goal…. but, hey, the day was awesome and a success for Keene!

Can you visualize what 29,381 glowing jack-o-lanterns lining streets, curbs, grass, in trees, in store windows and thousands of festival-goers look like in a quaint New England downtown? Add live music, costumes, the aroma of hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, deep-fried pickles, cotton candy, laughter, excited children, a ferris wheel, a climbing wall, crafts, pumpkin bowling, and you’re going to have a party.

On the square at the end of Main Street was the impressive Tower of Pumpkins that reached to the sky and atop the tower sat the Pumpkin King who presided over his 29,381 pumpkin subjects and thousands of visitors. Who ever knew pumpkins could be this much fun?!