Up until last week when it was time for me to scribble thoughts and words for this blog, the hiking column or other projects with a pen I would retreat to my rustic outside arbor and let my mind race, or sometimes drift ever so slowly into "writing mood". No more. Just too many chilly rain drops. And wet snow flakes and hail pellets are not good for paper or laptops. And the real snows are about to come. If I was to sit outside and write now the squirrels and chickadees and sunflower seed-fanatic nuthatch might think me odd. And the one neighbor that is close enough to see my house would know I am. And so with this blog I have retreated to the favorite corner of my house, the corner with the wood stove. The corner with a view of the meadow beneath my hill and a bird feeder attached to the window. And there is something soothing about the feel of dry heat from a wood fire, the sweet smell of wood smoke and the simmer of coffee that fuels the spirit. The pleasures of wood heat far outweigh the quick convenience of adjusting a thermostat. And with four face cords of oak and ash stacked outside, even my very poor math ability tells me I have enough wood to set the mood for all writing projects - if I allow 3 split logs per project- until the first drip of maple sap in tin buckets signal spring.