Brace Yourself for Winter!

There’s a cold snap here in the east (Yup, that's my thermometer!) … Join the Mountain Farmgirl to see what at least one New England town does for kicks when the thermometers plunge below zero. Check out some of our ‘ hot’ winter fun in … Brace Yourself for Winter!!!

(Just a note to everyone who wrote after my last blog about our lost friend, Prescott ... Your heartwarming comments lifted our family and our friend Whitney, (Prescott's dad), more than you will ever know. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. xoxoxoxo)

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This is a winter glimpse of Jackson, New Hampshire ... my home town. It is the epitome of  “New England charm” through and through, even when the mercury plunges into the minus double-digits, like it did here last week. Even the bell in our old church steeple sounded brittle in this bitter cold, and the covered bridge seemed to creak and rattle more than usual.

 

Our rivers and waterfalls were frozen solid, and the summit of Mount Washington, just 10 minutes north, registered 110+ mph winds and wind chill temperatures of -77.  (Oddly, the summit viewed from our door, had very little snow cover, while we had plenty.  But after all, who could expect it to stick around up there with winds like that?  They don’t call Mt. Washington ‘Home of the World’s Worst Weather’ for nothin’!)  While all that was going on up above,  here in Jackson it was a veritable heat wave at -37, and like Laura Ingalls in The Long Winter, in such conditions we townsfolk  must resort to making our own fun. And so … that’s just exactly what we did!


Our first event, the 18th Annual  Ice Carving competition, was not in any danger of a melt-down this year as in some January Thaws of the past. It always takes place at a local inn, The Wentworth, and is a New-England-wide event.

  

   

 

Competitors at this exciting competition are given 3 hours to transform a 300-pound block of ice into a superlative work of art. Each participant may have his or her tools of preference, but you can always expect to see chain saws, chisels, picks and blow torches as the birds, animals and other creations come to life in front of this elegant turn-of-the-century inn.

  

Depending on the weather, these sculptures last as long as six weeks or a

s little as six days, and there is even a competition to guess which one will last the longest. It is one of the highlights of the winter, and one for we expect  the temperatures to remain cold.  Needless to say, this year we weren’t disappointed!

  


And if that isn’t enough artistic excitement for a little town in one month, this past weekend was Jackson’s second special winter event: The State-wide Snow Sculpture competition, now in its 12th year! Like the ice carving, this event attracts a wide variety of sculptors, both amateur and professional. Team members come from a variety of backgrounds including chefs from fine restaurants, architects, students of culinary and art schools, and various civic organizations.

  

  


Each team is given a cylinder shaped block of snow 4 feet in diameter by 8 feet tall to create their snow sculptures. Most of the teams usually start sculpting on Friday night and continue working under lights through the night into  the weekend,  to complete their sculptures in time for the judging at noon  on Sunday. Judging is based on creativity, technique and message. This year the wind and the below-zero mercury prevented much of the all-nighters from happening, and yet everyone finished on time, and I don’t believe I’ve even seen any better carvings!

Many of the Competing Teams used this weekend as a practice run for more advanced competitions.  Teams of sculptors consist of 2 or 3 members and the winning team received a State Championship trophy and an invitation to compete in the United States National Snow Sculpting Competition, to be held at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 2015. I’m expecially excited, because each year we sponsor a team and put them up for the weekend at our inn. This year ‘our’ team won the  New Hampshire State Finals!  Sandy Hall, Kathy Fraize and Eric Marnich created a beautiful sculpture of an angel called “A Wing and a Prayer”. If they win the next level, the Nationals, they will  go on to compete in international competitions offered by countries such as Switzerland, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, China, Norway and Russia.

(I apologize for not adding the rest of the photos ... my computer is not letting me upload this evening!)


While a Spelling Bee, Laura-Ingalls-style would have been a lot warmer for everyone, we’re pretty darn proud of these hot winter entertainments we look forward to year after year. In my opinion, small town living just doesn’t get much better than this!  What do you do in your neck of the woods this time of year to keep from getting cabin fever? Drop us a line in the comments below!

Until next time, Mountain Bounty, Mountain Blessings from
Cathi, The Mountain Farmgirl

 

 

Comments

 
By: MountainFarmgirl
On: 02/07/2013 05:30:28
Ladies, If you left a message for me on this week's blog, I must apologize as I may have accidentally deleted it. Each day my site receives literally thousands of spam mails and it has become increasingly difficult to deal with them all. I am working on it, however, so keep the good emails a'comin and I will try to be more technologically adept next time!! Have a GREAT day ... We're bracing for a BLIZZARD here in the east!
-MFG Cathi
 
By: MountainFarmgirl
On: 02/07/2013 05:30:49
Ladies, If you left a message for me on this week's blog, I must apologize as I may have accidentally deleted it. Each day my site receives literally thousands of spam mails and it has become increasingly difficult to deal with them all. I am working on it, however, so keep the good emails a'comin and I will try to be more technologically adept next time!! Have a GREAT day ... We're bracing for a BLIZZARD here in the east!
-MFG Cathi

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir