Captain Clark writes that the weather has moderated to a comfortable 16 F. He spends a large portion of the day updating his maps.



Snow provides moisture as well as protection from cold and wind.
Snow is an excellent insulator against low temperatures and excessive winds. The extent of protection depends on the depth of snow. Generally, the temperature below the snow increases by about 2 degrees F for each inch of accumulation. In addition, the soil gives off some heat so that the temperature at the soil surface can be much warmer than the air temperature. One study found that the soil surface temperature was 28 degrees F with a 9-inch snow depth and an air temperature of -14 F!

Snow brings welcome moisture to many landscape plants, which will in turn help prevent desiccation injury. Even dormant plants continue to lose moisture from twigs (as water vapor) in the process known as transpiration. Evergreen plants, which keep their leaves through the winter, are at even greater risk of injury.
On the other hand, some evergreens can suffer from too much snow load. The weight of snow and ice can bend or even break branches, particularly on multi-stemmed shrubs such as arborvitae. Snow should be gently removed by brushing away with a broom. Do not try to remove ice since it is more likely that you will break the stems. Multi-stemmed shrubs that are known to be susceptible to breakage can be bound with twine to hold branches together.

Of course, there's still much more winter to come before we'll know how well our plants fare. In the meantime, rest assured that there really is a silver lining in the storm clouds, at least its better than today's temperature of 15 F and a wind chill of ZERO!



Holly (Ilex aquifolium) can tolerate either sun and shade. Although semi-shade is preferable in midsummer, the more light it has the more dense its foliage will be. Holly requires well-drained, slightly acid, fertile soil. American and Foster will grow to thirty feet or taller, so consider this when you are deciding where to plant your tree. They should not be planted in open areas where they may be exposed to cold winter winds or excessively hot summer sun.

Plant your holly in early spring, before new growth begins and mulch with a 2 to 4 inch layer of ground bark or other coarse material to keep the roots cool and moist. The root system resents being disturbed, so do not cultivate the soil around them. Hollies sometimes drop their old leaves due to transplant shock, but new foliage will soon emerge. Be careful not to overwater holly that has lost its leaves. Keep the soil moist during the summer growing season, but allow it to dry somewhat in early fall to allow the season's growth to mature enough to resist winter damage. Feeding should be done in early spring or late autumn with a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving broad-leaved evergreens. (cottonseed meal, rhododendron fertilizer, Miracid®, etc.) If pruning becomes necessary, do it in early spring before new growth begins, trimming towards a symmetrical shape. An application of Wilt Pruf in late fall will help reduce moisture dessication. A second application in late January or early February is highly adivsed also.

The male and female flowers of the holly tree are produced on separate plants. Therefore to ensure berry production, both male and female plants need to be planted. The male tree must be within 100 feet of a female tree of the same species in order for bees to successfully pollinate the female flowers and thereby produce the bright red berries that holly is know for.



Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit OUR best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday(tm), practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . . . and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2004, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual orientation of the wishee.

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Santa was very cross. It was Christmas Eve and NOTHING was going right. Mrs Claus had burned all the cookies. The elves were complaining about not getting paid for the overtime they had put in while making the toys. The reindeer had been drinking all afternoon and were dead drunk. To make matters worse, they had taken the sleigh out for a spin earlier in the day and had crashed it into a tree.

Santa was furious. "I can't believe it! I've got to deliver millions of presents all over the world in just a few hours- all of my reindeer are drunk, the elves are on strike and I don't even have a Christmas tree! I sent that stupid Little Angel out HOURS ago to find a tree and he isn't even back yet! What am I going to do?"

Just then, the Little Angel opened the front door and stepped in from the snowy night, dragging a Christmas tree. He says, "Yo, fat man! Where do you want me to stick the tree this year?"

And thus, the tradition of angels atop the Christmas trees came to pass...



A Minister had gotten about two-thirds through his sermon when he found an unexpected shortage of manuscript. After fumbling it a moment he said, "My good friends, I find the last pages of my discourse have gone. I think my favorite dog must have gotten some of them yesterday and eaten them. You must excuse me from the remainder of the discourse."

After service, a meek little woman from another parish introduced herself and said, "I was much interested in that dog of yours and its performance yesterday, and might I ask a question?"

"Certainly, madam." "I want to know if it has any puppies, for I would like to take one home to my minister."