Long Winter Delays Spring Planting

Apr 6, 2014
John/cygnus921 / Flickr Creative Commons

The long, cold winter has delayed spring planting in the Granite State.  That complicates matters for nurseries and lawn and garden businesses.  Charlie Cole is general manager of Cole Gardens in Concord.  He sees the late spring as a mixed bag for his business—although he’s optimistic.

“We’re really excited, because the pent-up need to be out in the garden is just building, and it’s still building.  And once our customer base are able to get in the garden and plant, we think it’s going to be a great spring,” Cole says.

Logan Shannon

While it may be March, it’s still very much wintertime. If you’ve been cursing the snow and ice and desperately longing for spring, you’re not alone. But let’s look at the bright side - all that frozen water offers certain opportunities that just aren’t available in the spring. And I’m not talking about expensive and time consuming snow-sports, I’m talking about wildlife tracking. To give you an introduction to tracking, We  headed for the woods of Barrington, New Hampshire with Dan Gardoqui, one of the founders and directors of White Pine Programs, a nature connection non-profit in Southern Maine.

Judy van der Velden via flickr Creative Commons

Wait! Don't wish this winter away...not yet.

Before dirty, old snow banks rot and melt onto sun-warmed pavement; before sweet steam of maple sugaring or green thoughts at St. Patrick's Day; remember one perfect day, when winter took your breath away.

N.H. Sees More Snow Than Usual This Winter

Feb 16, 2014
Mommamia / Flickr Creative Commons

A series of winter storms over the past couple of weeks have had Granite Staters alternating between hunkering down at home and digging out.  

Courtesy Pam Brooks Crowley

While looking for a photo to illustrate a Word of Mouth story on the history of skiing in N.H., I happened upon this gem on Flickr. The photo is of photographer Pam Brooks Crowley's father and his cross country teammates taken in Lisbon, New Hampshire in 1936. 

NHPR / Michael Brindley

With plenty of snow falling across New Hampshire today, kids were, of course, out taking advantage of many of the great sledding spots across the Granite State.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is warning New Hampshire residents to limit their travel during the upcoming winter storm.

courtesy of Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics


For amputees who use prosthetic limbs, winter weather can pose a range of challenges.

Tom Petrus via flickr Creative Commons

Got snow? That's probably a sore subject for many in New England this time of year, but in the woods, snow is not an enemy--a scourge to be shoveled, scraped and plowed out of the way. In nature, snow is a trusted ally to plants and wildlife. Snow acts as a blanket, a source of camouflage, a form of concealment,  and even a sponge. 

A Snowy Invasion

Jan 24, 2014
Tom Magliery via flickr Creative Commons

This year is being referred to as an "invasion year" for snowy owls, and it might be one for the record books.  

Most of the snowy owl sightings have been along the coast where a flat, open landscape resembles their native tundra. Reports from New Hampshire birders include sightings of up to nine in a single day. On Nantucket, the annual Christmas Bird Count found 33, far surpassing the previous count record of four.

Cold Front To Hit N.H., "Flash Freeze" Tonight

Jan 6, 2014
Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR

A blast of cold Arctic air is moving into the Granite State today.  It’s part of the same system that’s put the Midwest into a deep freeze. 

Loon Mountain

With only 6 to 8 inches of fresh powder, most New Hampshire ski areas aren't exactly reeling from the storm.  But even a little snow can bring skiers to the mountains.

Greg Kwasnik, marketing director at Loon Mountain is expecting a surge of skiers.

Up here we didn't have such a huge impact that people had in Southern New Hampshire so I think a lot of people will shovel their driveways and then get up here.  They might get here a little later than they anticipated but I think we'll see some strong business today.

A wintry mix of weather during the Monday morning commute has led to slow going on state highways and about two dozen school delays.

Michael Samuels

  Winter is almost here, and for those who heat their homes with wood, that means firing up the stove.

Beauty In The November Grays

Oct 31, 2013
Creative Common/Flickr Cape Cod Cyclist

Robert Frost ended a short poem on life and nature with the line, "Nothing gold can stay." October has ended after delivering golden fall days that make us regret the indoor tendencies of our lives. Stark November is at the doorstep now. We reacquaint ourselves with ridge-lines visible through bare trees and with stone walls along fields cleared and worked in a time when days were spent more outdoors than in. 

This is the time of year many of us love to head out on the ice to do some fishing or play a pick-up game of hockey with the kids. NHPR's Sean Hurley decided to try something a little different - he went Nordic.

A Walk In The Woods

Feb 10, 2013
Sean Hurley for NHPR

Sometimes, to make a surprising discovery, all you've got to do is strap on your snowshoes and step outside. That was the case when correspondent Sean Hurley ventured out to some familiar trails this past week:

Sean Hurley for NHPR

It’s dark and the winds are really starting to bluster in Waterville Valley when Jess Chabot snowshoes out of the woods near Town Square.

I lived in NH for a long time.  Growing up my parents didn’t ski or anything.  I hated the snow. They hated the snow.  I hated the snow. But then like in my mid-20’s I was like Why do I hate the snow so much I’m stuck with it.  So, you just gotta get a hobby. Snowshoeing you don’t have to be good at at all.  You just put em on your feet.  If you can walk you can snow shoe.

Sean Hurley for NHPR

The Sidehiller snowshoe race in Center Sandwich is the oldest snowshoe race in New Hampshire…a remarkable distinction for an event that began in 2005. We sent correspondent Sean Hurley on a radio field trip to learn  more about the fast-growing winter sport.

via sogrady, Flickr Creative Commons

Experts estimate that by 1871 there were more 250,000 miles of stonewalls throughout in New England and New York—enough to circle the earth ten times. The majority of New England stonewalls were built between 1810 and 1840. Naturalist, Tom Wessels refers to these decades when forests were cleared to pastures enclosed by stonewalls as "Sheep Fever." He calculates the mass of stone in walls to be greater than the Great Pyramids of Egypt suggesting stonewalls should rightfully be considered "the eighth wonder of the world."

Crossbills Coming to NH?

Dec 28, 2012

A poor cone crop in Canada this year is driving crossbills south of the border in search of food.

As volunteers fan out across the state for the annual Christmas Bird Count, they’re likely to see two noteworthy species down from the north this year. Both are named "Crossbills" for unique bills that actually do cross, all the better to pry seeds from a conifer cone.

Years ago while chasing my then- toddler  around a small hillside park in Derry, I found a large chunk of iron; It was an odd site, this hulking engine block in the brush and undergrowth at the top of the hill. Then I noticed the telephone poles.  They were several feet back in the woods. Two of the poles had wheel hubs displaying just a hint of the yellow they were once painted. A thin wire bowed between two of them.

This was a rope tow.

Ennor, Flickr Creative Commons

I love the longest night of the year on December 21st more than the longest day of the year on June 21st. Winter Solstice is like the night before Christmas, filled with anticipation and expectation. While huddled in dark woods around my solstice bonfire, the earliest glimmer of returning sunlight is made real. the days grow longer and the promise of impeding spring somehow trumps this newborn winter reality. From this day hence, days grow longer, brighter and eventually warmer until June 21st. Today, we begin that climb.

Gifts for the Budding Naturalist

Dec 14, 2012

As the year draws to a close, it's a great time to reflect on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring once more. 2012 marks the books 50th anniversary. The book encouraged many young naturalists and, with the holidays approaching, we've come up with two gifts to further one's love of nature: a pair of binoculars and a bird guide.

Selbe B via Flickr Creative Commons

According to the National Christmas Tree Growers Association, buying a natural, farm-grown Christmas tree is a traditional custom for up to 30 million American families who celebrate the holidays with the fragrance and beauty of locally-raised, farm-grown Christmas trees. Today, the majority of Christmas trees are plantation-grown. There are an estimated 350 million Christmas trees growing nationwide.


Mid-summer is not too soon to think about heating next winter. By August, forest trees are beginning to prepare for the coming winter. With recent attention to the importance of local food production, we should consider ways to meet our heating needs using local wood energy.

The Dogs of March

Mar 2, 2012
via Flickr Creative Commons, MemaNH

In March, coyotes stalk, chase and kill winter-weakened deer in the equivalent of "Lions & Gazelles." Hungry coyotes now take prey larger than their usual fare of small rodents. 

Coyotes breed in February. During March and April gestation, they select maternity dens where they'll birth pups in May. Coyotes do NOT hunt in large family packs or occupy dens in other seasons. Coyote breeding is timed to a seasonal abundance of food: deer are in weakened condition after burning winter fat reserves while traveling in snow on a meager diet of twigs, bark and buds. 

Give a Hoot

Feb 24, 2012

Barred owls, New Hampshire's most common owl species, also have the most familiar courtship and territorial song—usually translated as, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?"   It can be heard all year, day or night, but really revs up as owl breeding season begins in late winter.  Owls are early nesters.

Wildlife produce their young when their primary food resource is most abundant.  Mice, rabbit and squirrel populations are exploding when owl hatchlings on a continual growth spurt require frequent feeding.

Noisy Water Birds

Feb 9, 2012

Summer visitors to New Hampshire typically are eager to hear the call of a common loon, emblem of the wild and remote north woods.  Popular souvenirs to take home include coffee mugs, sweatshirts and jewelry—all with a loon motif.

In addition to their striking appearance, I suspect the fact that loons chorus at night adds greatly to their mystique.  Loons of winter don't get much attention, but scan coastal waters and chances are good you'll see a loon or two offshore.  New Hampshire's breeding loons don't migrate far.

Antlers in the Snow

Feb 3, 2012
Dave Anderson

While following deer trails in snow you'll find pellets of scat and tufts of hair – coarse grey and white hair, hollow in cross-section. A more coveted souvenir are "sheds” – cast-off antlers.

After breeding ends in December, deer antlers loosen at the base. Once-formidable weapons of territorial defense drop with testosterone levels in January. The shed antlers cast by bucks and bull moose each winter are often promptly buried by snow.