I’ve been conspicuously absent lately. The holidays and weird weather have conspired to keep Matt and I away from the outdoors.
After a blast of wintry cold in November, December turned out to be almost balmy. Temperatures hung right around the 40F mark for two or three weeks, occasionally dipping down to a daytime high of 32F on the nose, with nights just barely below freezing. It was overcast, frequently with rain, for over two weeks. But Amber, you say, you basically live in a walk-in freezer for 4-5 months of the year; far be it from you to complain. And typically, I would agree with you. And honestly, I mostly did this month- it made walking to class much more pleasant, and leaving the house is not a prospect that required heavy-duty bundling just to pick up a gallon of milk or what-have-you.
The thing is, the warm weather melted the ice, and made everything else a muddy disaster. I gave up on mopping the floor because of how much the dogs tracked in. I resigned myself to daily sweeping and spot cleaning the worst of it. On Christmas Day, Matt and I attempted to walk back out onto Mud Lake to place traps. Where we walked on a solid 5+ inches of ice two and a half weeks ago was now open water, heavily populated with snow and Canada geese. The geese were out of season, and it’s an incredibly bad idea to walk to the edge of the ice on open water- you can fall in, get hypothermia, and drown.
The most we’ve been able to do is head out for one late season hunt- last Saturday. Temperatures were finally starting to fall back to seasonal. I saw 0 deer, Matt took a long shot on a coyote and missed. No ice fishing, no trapping, barely any hunting. Add that together with more than a couple days taken for an anniversary trip (more on that after the New Year) and holiday trips to visit the family, and we’re rolling doughnuts around these parts. And this, after I’ve signed up to contribute fishing stories to another website.
In further news, I discovered I won’t be going to Europe after all- the security clearance is an intense process, and I didn’t make the cut. I can always try again later, but it would hopefully be for paid employment. This is kind of a bummer, as it would have been an amazing experience. But this way, I’ll end up both saving some money, and be able to chip away at the remaining credit hours required for me to finally graduate. I’m enrolled in two German classes this coming semester- one on Green energy, etc in Germany, and one on the language and culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch (or Amish). This is the first time since the end of 2007 (!) that I will have more than one course on my plate. 2015 will probably be a mad dash towards the completion of my bachelor’s. Two classes this Spring, two in Summer, and two next Fall will put me just about where I need to be to get ‘er done. For reference, I graduated high school & started this project in 2005.
Luckily (?), yesterday’s high was about 20F, and today’s is about 14F. With such chilly daytime highs, and downright frigid lows, we should get some good ice formation this week. Hopefully enough to safely walk out to place some traps as well as chase some fish. We’ll have to remember the drill for shanty stakes as well as the ice cleats because what little snow we had is long gone, and it’s all going to be shiny glare ice.