I probably got more exercise over the weekend than I have in the last four months total, and I'm paying for it a bit today with sore muscles, but it's great to get outside in the middle of winter for some fresh air! I took some time off of work Friday afternoon and went cross country skiing with my husband at a nearby state park. Between having the kids, moving around, and a general lack of snow in the last few years, we have found many reasons to not go skiing. My husband figured it had been well over five years for him, and at least two years for me. So I waxed the skis in "slow mode", putting a layer of kick wax further up the ski than normal, so I wouldn't find myself zooming out of control down the slightest incline.
While I was waxing the skis, my husband managed to lock the keys in the van. A moment of panic ensued, for we were parked in a remote area a few miles from the nearest help. I contemplated how much it would cost to fix the window I was about to break, then I remembered: the front passenger side window has a habit of slipping open on its own. The power opening mechanism is broken. So I started gently pounding on the window with my fists, and voila! It slipped down about a quarter inch, enough for me to hook my fingertips and pull it down halfway! Another reason I prefer used vehicles to new. Although if for some deranged reason someone might want to break into the van, perhaps to steal some Happy Meal toys to sell on ebay, it would be an easy job.
The skiing was fabulous. Both of us were a bit awkward at first, but the trails were freshly groomed and fast, and had I waxed the skis in "race mode" we would have been flying along. I spent one season, my junior year of high school, competing with the school Nordic ski team, and somehow even managed to earn a varsity letter. That experience gave me the technique I needed to make the difference between merely walking along on skis and gliding.
On Sunday morning my husband cleared some of the snow off of our pond with the snowblower, then I shoveled the rest. I have always enjoyed skating, and now we have our own 50 x 100 pond to use, that is if we can get the snow cleared off. It had snowed over a foot since I last shoveled, so it was a big job for the half hour the kids and I actually spent skating. And for their purposes I probably didn't have to have every square inch of ice cleared off, but I happen to be a perfectionist about my ice.
I heard a great gray owl hooting the other night. They have a low, loud call, very unlike a great horned or barred owl.
It seems the winter has turned around a corner; the chickadees are singing their two note song more, the crows are flying together in raucous flocks, and the days are noticeably longer. I know we are still in for a couple months of snow and cold, but somehow winter has loosened its icy grip.