Sunday, January 28, 2018

2018 January - HOW COLD IS IT?

If you ever want to know what goes on outside your house at night, 
take a peek out the window after a snow.  It's quite a party, but we haven't seen much snow here, yet!  

The arctic cold fronts are the January story in much of the country, and it's taken a toll on our wildlife.  As usual, there have been numerous Kemp's Ridley turtle rescues on the beaches and they are taken to the Wellfleet Audubon Society by dedicated volunteers who walk the beaches on the coldest days and nights just to save them.  The young turtles wash ashore when water temperatures dip below 50 degrees, the tides are high, and onshore winds are blowing.  When their body temperature gets too low, they're unable to swim against the current and they get caught in the "hook" of Cape Cod Bay with no way out.  Other casualties of the cold have been the few Thresher sharks, which perished in the extra cold 41 degree waters and washed ashore.  Scientists believe that the sharks become impaired in waters below 44 degrees.  So when you grumble about having to bump the thermostat up a couple of degrees to survive these Arctic winter "events", be glad you have that option.

A 14ft male thresher shark was found frozen on a Cape Cod beach. Pic: AWSC
The good news is that as of mid-January, about 14 North Atlantic right whales were spotted off the tip of Cape Cod in the bay, which is their favorite feeding ground.  Researchers have estimated that after a bad year for them last year, there are only about 434 North Atlantic right whales still in existence.

And, the bluebirds made their annual January return to the B&B, however, they are making themselves scarce.  It could be just a short visit this year, but we're always happy to see them.

Let's just say it, weather extremes have become the New Normal.  We've had both the arctic wind chills below zero, as well as milder than usual temperatures in the 50's that encourage Spring plants to peek out much too early.  This is certainly the first time I can recall attempting to do any kind of gardening in January, which must have been a source of wonder for passersby, but I was determined to take advantage of the brief thaw to try to finish mulching the new plantings on the front bank before their tender shoots got in the way of my clumsy feet this coming Spring.  Spreading six, frozen bags of mulch was definitely a new experience, and if friends, neighbors and the sales staff at Agway weren't sufficiently impressed with the project before, they surely must be now.             

So, what else DOES one do on Cape Cod in the Winter?

Frankly, when the sun's warmth disappears into Cape Cod Bay leaving only the icy fingers of January sending us in search of an extra layer of fleece, it would be all too easy to curl up on the couch in front of a cozy fire with a cat on my lap and Ron at my side to watch something on Netflix.  And, we'd be purrr-fectly happy about that option, as are the cats.  But, there's just too much entertainment available from which to choose to become as much a curmudgeon as is the temptation.  The month began with the "Cool for Fuel" musical show to benefit the Fuel Assistance program of Lower Cape Outreach Council.  It had some of our favorite local performers, as well as, some new talent we got to sample, and was definitely well-timed, as the subject of helping people to keep warm is certainly a current concern. 

Less than a week later there was a free presentation at the Eastham Library by the ever-creative and talented Chandler Travis and the Three-O.  Just to give you a little taste, here's a link to his new video, which I hope is currently going viral on YouTube.  He swears it's the only political song he's ever been tempted to write.  We're so proud of you, Chan.  

Listen:  Advice to the President, by Chandler Travis

The following night offered a dramatic reading of the play, Underneath the Lintel, by Glen Berger, at the Wellfleet Library.   We chose to go because this one-character show was to be performed by one of Ron's recently rediscovered acting friends, John Shuman, who returned to Cape Cod this winter and looked us up.  It has been a few years since I'd seen John on stage with Ron at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre in the play, Betrothed, and this play reminded us how impressively he inhabits a character and draws you into his story.  He kept us rapt with attention as he portrayed a librarian who "embarks on a quest to find out who anonymously returned a library book that is 113 years overdue".  It takes a lot to coax us off that couch, but well done and thank you, John.   

The following day brought the opportunity to join the one year anniversary of The Women's March in Hyannis.  It was an impressive turnout, the speakers were all inspirational, and the march around Hyannis fell during one of those lovely un-arctic days of bright sunshine.  "Nevertheless, WE persist."    

The march was followed on Sunday by the all-important Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots game which determined that our New England Patriots were going to the Super Bowl again!  There literally was no other subject discussed in town on Monday.  Click on this 6 second video to see an example of why New England is so proud of our team:  Pats Snow Practice   

Okay, the last activity did involve cats on the sofa, but better there than freezing and sharing a bathroom with approximately 65,000 fans at Gillette Stadium.  And, I just heard from a friend that a local couple is paying $4500 for tickets to the Super Bowl in Minnesota.  I'd go, but my cats would never forgive me... 

One couple from Connecticut who used to have a second home in Eastham, visited the B&B for a get-away weekend, but they were sure to let us know they'd be leaving early Sunday morning to get home before the Patriots game started.  It's always good to keep our hosting skills from getting rusty.  

As we prepare to flip the January page over, we wonder if February will bring the first BIG snow...         

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