Subboreal? What’s that?
Well, let’s break it down. Sub Boreal. Subarctic, roughly. But it’s usually used (to the extent it’s used, this moribund old word) to mean very cold.
And it’s been very cold here for most of a week, and it’s going to remain very cold this week. Single digits, low double digits on the Fahrenheit scale; well below zero on Centigrade. (Celsius, yeah; what can we say, we’re so old, we still have radios calibrated in kilocycles and megacycles). The robust systems and upgraded windows and insulation of Hog Manor can barely keep up; instead of a shirtsleeve 70ºF, it’s a sweater 65 or so.
On the plus side, the snow which has fallen on most of these days and is supposed to keep falling in showers on all but one day of this week, remains a light and easily lifted powder because of the freeze. While at the same time the cold cuts through clothing and makes shoveling the stuff more unpleasant that nasty, wet, infarct-inducing slush would be.
Well, it’s been a very mild winter so far, and February is usually the worst of months here in coastal New England. If we get through these couple weeks, it should improve.
And it could be worse. We could be out in the weather. These are the times when stray dogs are not found until spring’s thaw reveals their wretched carcasses, mute evidence of their final suffering; Small Dog Mk II is only being rational when he refuses to chance the door and go outside (which means, naturally, that he picks a place to go inside, if you know what we mean, and we think you do).
A large flock of turkeys has cowered in our back garden for most of the last several days. It was over thirty birds, but we think it’s down to about 17 now. They are miserable; suffering; we’re also sighting them at night, which means they are not in their usual roosts. With the forecast for the coming week, it will only be the hardiest of the birds who survive to lay in the spring and hatch the next generation of poults.
Some small bird is nesting in the electrical box outside the office, which once hosted the power stuff for the original builder’s hot tub or spa. We hear the little scrabbles inside that cold steel box, we see the turkeys grimly making headway across a snowy lawn in blowing snow, and we marvel that this killing snow is the life-giving water of spring.