This last blizzard really gave me a feeling of the dead-of-winter. I had not sensed that for the past half decade or so. Other winters have seemed much busier without a pause in the human activity. Having a wild northeaster snowstorm on a Saturday made Chappy pretty quiet. The storm clouds cleared out and the moon came out just before midnight. I went down to the ferry point to brush the snow off the fire department pick-up truck that we keep down there when an ambulance is garaged at the Chappy firehouse. I hadn’t been outside much during the afternoon and I was a little restless. I was planning on waiting until morning to clear the snow off the ferry tied up in the extra slip, but it was so nice out that I just went ahead with it then.

I’m glad that I did. The temperature dropped 15 degrees and the wind speed doubled by daybreak. I got to stay in bed long after the sun shone on snow more than a foot deep in the woods. Just before 9 p.m. on Saturday the anemometer at the ferry point registered a gust of 49 miles per hour. That was also the time of the lowest barometer reading. Surprisingly the ferry didn’t have to stop operating during this storm. The strongest winds came out of the north, which is a relatively sheltered wind direction for the ferry run. Oddly enough the high tide wasn’t any higher than normal.

Before the storm arrived we had to assume that it would be severe enough to interrupt ferry operation. I always tell people that if you want to spend the night at home on Chappy, go back long before the storm strengthens. Even if I am pretty sure that we can keep the ferry running through high winds, we can’t guarantee. When the weather is bad it’s especially important to preserve the ferryboats for emergencies. There’s nothing like a good blizzard to bring back the feeling of the old days when we just have to take a day off while Mother Nature is wildly frolicking outside.

The next Chappy Community Center potluck supper will be hosted by Sally Snipes on Wednesday, Jan. 18th from 6 to 8 p.m. Please bring a dish to serve six. The CCC is a cozy place for a winter gathering. The many smells of all of the different dishes that folks prepare has to be of a much greater variety than any meal that you would have at home. You get to visit with your neighbors for a couple of hours without having to tidy up your own living room. You can stay to help clean up but you really only have one serving dish to wash when you get home. A lively fire in the center’s great room fireplace is a delight on a cold evening.

I‘ve always liked heating a house with a wood stove. A wood stove heats a house unevenly and that is actually the great thing about it. If you’re a little chilly you can stand right beside the hot stove to warm up. If you’re too warm you can sit across the room, where it’s cooler. You can keep the daytime living spaces of the house warm and open the window a crack in the bedroom during the night without it being a waste of nonrenewable resources.

I always wonder where the next batch of firewood will come from. Without fail, an opportunity presents itself, whether it’s broken or dead trees in my own yard or a neighbor who took down a bunch of trees and doesn’t burn wood. You need to be a few years ahead on your supply so the wood you feed into the stove is dry and doesn’t create excessive amounts of creosote build-up in your chimney. Same goes for a fireplace. I’ve had a couple of stoves with a window in the door so that you can see the glow of the fire. But there is nothing like the sight and sound of wood crackling in the fireplace. There is a primal comfort in the warmth of fire.

The Chappy Ferry Facebook page has had a few new postings lately. Hopefully it will return to its former active life as time allows. I know that we have a lot of followers. Thanks for your understanding during our break.

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