Saturday, February 09, 2019

Woodpecker Thaw

When I woke up that morning, our upstairs bedroom with the stove pipe leading from the downstairs woodstove was warmer than usual. Much warmer. After quickly dressing in front of the woodstove, I found my barn lantern and headed to the barn for the morning milking. In those days we had no electricity and milked cows by hand.

Once outside, I noticed that the kitchen porch eaves were dripping, the snow was mushy underfoot, and it was foggy. So foggy I could scarcely make out the barn and it was only a short hike from our farm house.

“Feels like spring,” I said to Pa, when I arrived in the barn. Pa laughed. “It’s a woodpecker thaw,” he said. “Be cold again in a day or so.”
The entire family enjoyed the brief pause in the long winter.

Last week we experienced a “woodpecker thaw” when the temperature at the farm climbed to 45 degrees, the eaves dripped, the snow became mushy and fog encapsulated everything. It was a much appreciated break in the snowy cold spell when temperatures fell into the minus twenties. These winter thaws allowed all of nature’s creatures, as well as we human “northerners” to re-group, re-supply and prepare for the next blast of winter.

I learned from when I was a kid to take winter as it was delivered, but also to appreciate and enjoy those few days when winter retreated for a few days. When the temperature felt spring-like, and snow melted, at least some of it.

THE OLDTIMER SAYS: Ah, the joy of a woodpecker thaw.


February 15, 6:00 p.m. State of Wisconsin Mediation Program, Wintergreen Hotel and Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells. After dinner speaker.

March 3, 1:00 p.m. McFarland Historical Society, McFarland Municipal Bldg. Topic: Simple Things: Lesson from the family farm.


Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
Popular recent Books:
Simple Things: Lessons from the Family Farm (fun to read in winter)

Garden Wisdom (Time to begin planning for the upcoming garden season)

Old Farm Country Cookbook (Try some yesterday recipes)

The Quiet Season (All about winter)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)

The Travels of Increase Joseph (Historical fiction about Wisconsin before 1900)

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