It’s been eye-poppingly clear here, but brain-piercingly cold: 9 degrees (F) at 6 a.m.; 11 degrees as we speak at about 9:15 a.m. The already-frozen field ponds are cracking and moaning as the ice builds and creeps. The image below is of a local pond that looked sugar-coated yesterday morning due to a brief sunlight flurry of fat snow.


As in many rural communities, ours has no central water source. Many of the ponds built near houses and barns were dug as “fire ponds”: small reservoirs that could be pumped by firemen when there was a need. Having a pond also often reduced the cost of fire insurance. Some of the ponds have “dry hydrants”: an unpressurized pipe from the pond water to a hydrant that has a capped outlet to which a hose may be attached. (Brooklin, Maine)