Spring on a NH lake

It’s been a slow, weird Spring in this part of New Hampshire. The mild Winter gave way to cool and wet April and May and it did not warm up. Even on our lake, south of the White Mountains, we had two snowfalls in April. On May 16 it snowed just north of here, and northern Maine got 6 inches – a record for this late in the season. Now we are getting 80-degree days!

The lakeside woods were not green until a week ago. Many migratory birds passed through in March – various duck species, a pair of bald eagles. Now the summer birds are here: a pair of loons, Canada Geese (the first with chicks), a Great Blue heron, dozens of swallows swooping over the lake surface, and all the usual suspects at and near the bird feeder – blue jays, cardinals, yellow finches, orioles, red-wing blackbirds, many sparrows and a pair of mourning doves.

We have beavers at work this year; some neighbors report trees felled. Last week we called the NH DES Dam Bureau because the water level was a foot above normal, despite a couple of rain-free weeks. They discovered that the beavers had blocked the large culvert beneath the road that crosses the lower end of the lake, and almost no water was crossing the lake dam! Now the water level is almost back to normal, and our docks are no longer submerged –  just in time for Memorial Day Weekend!

Summer weekend people are arriving, and the lake has woken up. Fishing boats, canoes and kayaks have appeared, and this weekend they will be joined by pontoon boats, jet skis and water skiers.

So we rejoice to see the trees finally leafing out, and some nice sunsets appearing. Memorial Day weekend may be the start of summer for some people, but this year for us it’s the welcome start of Spring!


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Which Duck Is This?

Anyone recognize this duck ? We have several duck species on our lake at present: Mallard, Common Merganser, Bufflehead, but this guy with black head and neck and long black/white banded beak I cannot find in my books. Any experts on New England water birds out there?



BTW in other bird news: the Great Blue Heron arrived today. But the Bald Eagle pair have been gone for a week: did the warm spell send them north?  Are they off hunting and will return? Did the emerging boaters disturb them? Who knows eagle behavior?

A Long Cold Winter

We hit our low temperature for the winter (so far) on Jan 8 at -18degF. Tonight we may well equal or pass that. DSC_0125  Many nights have been below zero, many days no warmer than 10deg. A 20deg day now seems like Spring!

The lake ice is now more than a foot thick, and families walk or snow-shoe on it on sunny weekends.DSC_0002 DSC_0002 2 About five ice-fishing huts have appeared. DSC_0013      Snowmobiles are now frequent visitors, tho’ they seem to be enjoying themselves less as the snow had become deeper. One extended family spends a whole day most weekends around their hut with lawn chairs, barbecue and an area cleared for the kids to skate.

There is beauty around a lake in winter,  DSC_0009  DSC_0007   DSC_0008but also days that are “white-outs.” DSC_0121  The morning views can be wonderful DSC_0124

It has snowed, and snowed. Ground coverage is over 2 feet, but drifts are twice that deep. DSC_0005  The driveway now has a 5 foot bank on one side, the parking area an 8 foot pile near the street. When the wind blows hard out of the north-west, the lake is covered with “snow waves.” DSC_0001 The local joke is that we no longer have “snow days,” we have “no snow” days, and despite the beauty of winter, it’s fair to say we have “had enough” already!  We have probably another six weeks of this before the Spring thaw begins, and by April we shall be rejoicing in “mud season.”

We are thankful that we now have plenty of activity in the community to distract us from the weather. Our church (where we have now become members) has been busy, and Marian and I have “jobs” for the coming year. Our church’s Wednesday “Cafe” has reopened after a January break, photo 2 IMG_0029 and we are all glad to be back there to share cake, coffee and conversation as well as music from our resident “ensemble”! A Valentines’ musical evening to raise funds for the Food Pantry squeaked in ahead of the most recent blizzard.

We’ve lost a couple of Sunday services and weekday Bible studies to snow storms, but in NH nobody stays home when a snow-fall is less than “plowable” (as the local weather service calls it!). A few of us cook a meal at the Salvation Army facility in Laconia once a month (many other church groups take turns). Next week Lake Winnipesaukee hosts sled-dog racing! So everyone keeps busy!

Marian and I have had no trips to Long Island since Thanksgiving, so we are missing our friends there, and looking forward to some Spring visits. We are half-way through a long cold winter, and hoping the pattern of storms every 4 days will soon break! A little taste of the record February warmth they’re having in the south-west US would be very welcome right about now!








Summer has begun (officially, although the weekend started very chilly here). After 7 weeks in residence, we now smile condescendingly as “the weekend people” and “the summer people” arrive at their lakeside cottages now that schools are out! This week was “Bike Week” in Laconia, when thousands of bikers visit Lake Winnipesaukee and tour the local towns and villages. On Friday a group of 15 kayakers visited the lake and explored every inch on a sunny and breezy day.





We also have our own “visitor month” in progress, with friends and family from New York staying with us each weekend. Last week’s friends were returning from Maine to Long Island, and loved the (relative) warmth and tranquility of our NH lake. This weekend our older son and woman-partner were up from Brooklyn, and initially found it very cold here compared to perspiring NY City!  But by evening when the wind on the lake subsided with the setting sun, the NY visitors were reveling in the pleasures of canoeing, kayaking and fishing against a sunset worthy of “On Golden Pond.”





As a nightcap, they got the fire-pit going for the first time since we arrived!


Today was warm with no wind, and felt like summer. A perfect day to visit the local winery and sample NH wines in an idyllic setting. The winery also serves Sunday brunch, so Marian and I will be back there again soon!

Wherever our visitors come from, all agree that the Lakes region of NH is lovely, and a visit here represents a real “vacation” from the daily world of  NY. We are of course blessed just to live here!