Good morning! Tonight is the Cold Moon. If it’s anything like the moon last night, it will be worthwhile to bundle up and go outisde. Four weeks to New Years Eve. Should Auld acquantance…. Mostly cloudy and 29 degrees in Bakers Mills. Calm wind.The skies will clear around 5 pm. There has not been a lot of sun this weekend, despite the earlier forecasts.

Today will be mostly cloudy, with a high of 37 degrees at 2pm. Four degrees below normal. Calm wind. A year ago, we had mostly sunny skies. The high last year was 42 degrees. The record high of 63 was set in 2009. 5.2 inches of snow fell back in 1893. Before my time, by about a century. 

The sun will set at 4:19 pm with dusk around 4:52 pm, which is 14 seconds earlier than yesterday. At sunset, look for mostly cloudy conditions and 35 degrees. There will be a calm wind. Today will have 9 hours and 7 minutes of daytime, a decrease of one minute and 17 seconds over yesterday.

Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low of 26 degrees at 5am. Typical for tonight. Light northwest wind. In 2016, we had mostly clear skies. It got down to 23 degrees. The record low of -9 occurred back in 1940.

Last night at camp was pretty nice, although it was a bit chilly come morning. Maybe I should have pitched a hot tent, I’m a bit undecided on that point. I just had to burrow under the covers a bit more by morning. Accidentially melted one of the corner pieces on my chair but I think I should be able to fix that. This chair seems particularly easy to melt. I got to be careful about getting the heater so close to the chair. Since topping off the propane tank yesterday, the gas pressure has been higher, so the latern, stove, and heater have been brighter and hotter. Propane, especially in the cold weather as the tank gets down, means the pressure drops. 

Kind of a cloudy morning today, and not terribly cold, but also not that bad. It’s not that surprising figuring that is December. At least there is only a dusting of snow here. I haven’t really decided on my plans for today, I might head back to Cod Pond or maybe I’ll just head home. I kind of want to check out one of the other campsites nearby, as I want to find a place to camp that is easy to park one the snow comes down. I do want to do some hot tent camping up this way, come winter. I love being out in the woods, having a fire, hanging out, the feel of the cold.

Didn’t use any of the firewood I bought the other day, so I will leave it in the truck for the next time I go camping. Being that it’s winter and I don’t drive all that much, and weight is important to have over the rear drive axle, I am now leaving most of my camping gear in my truck except for food, supplies, and propane. This also means I’m not holding the door open so much to get stuff in and out of my apartment, wasting energy and driving up my heating bills. I do want to get back out camping before too long again too. I just like being out in the woods.

Listening to NPR this morning, they are talking about the GOP tax bill. I am a Democrat but I hope that tax bill suceeds for our country, because I want our economy to grow. Sure, there are alternative approaches to managing the economy and providing people with tax relief, but this is one plan that may further help our country become more competitive and grow faster. And while the plan does cut taxes on corporations, which will help maintain or raise stock and bond prices (good for investors — both poor and rich), it will not cut taxes on the rich. Sure a lot of rich make money off of their investmens but so do the poor. Working people do need to save more money — I think this is something our country should investigate further — maybe giving more relief to working families when it comes to things like dividents and interest on bank accounts. Maybe it’s because Iean conservative I’m too charatiable towards the GOP tax plan, but I also don’t like how some are betting against our country or our leaders even if they do sit on the opposite side of the aisle.

Looking ahead, there are 4 weeks until New Years Eve when the sun will be setting at 4:29 pm with dusk at 5:02 pm. Time to go looking for the Auld Lang Syne record. On that day in 2016, we had snow, cloudy skies and temperatures between 37 and 19 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 32 degrees. We hit a record high of 61 back in 1895.

Map: Pulpit Rock State Forest

Map: Pulpit Rock State Forest

This 1,603 acre state reforestation area consists mostly of a granite plateau ranging in character from bare rock outcrops to relatively fertile valleys. A sheer stone cliff over 100 feet high rises from Payne Lake to overlook the Payne Lake Public Fishing Access Site to the east. This state forest was named for a unique nearby rock formation that once served as an outdoor podium from which traveling clergy preached to the local pioneers.

Among the common tree species found here are red oak, white pine, ironwood, hemlock, hard maple and red maple. Resident wildlife includes white-tailed deer, turkey and small fur bearers.

The 0.9 mile long Root Trail is a hiking trail and public right-of-way access to this state forest leading westerly from the Vrooman Creek Road (Jefferson County Route #22). An additional 0.7 miles of hiking access from the west is provided by way of the Watson Trail. Payne Lake, on the eastern edge of this forest, is not only a favorite fishing spot in the summer, but is also a very popular spot for ice fishing. Yellow perch can be caught here year round.