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It’s not too cold for fishing; if you’re a newbie, look for a local how-to program. Amoskeag Fishways holds one in February. Photo courtesy of the Girl Scouts.




 Hot Toddy

(courtesy of Republic, includes alcohol)
1½ ounces Applejack apple brandy
1 ounce Thai chili and ginger syrup (see recipe below)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
5 ounces hot water
Combine ingredients; serve in wine glass with slice of lemon.
 
Tai Chili and Ginger Syrup
2 cups hot water
2 cups sugar
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1 Thai chilies, chopped
1½ to 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ounce honey
Bring to a boil and dissolve sugar. Let it simmer on a medium boil for 10-15 minutes. Let sit in fridge until cool.
 
Chaider
(courtesy of True Brew Barista, nonalcoholic)
Local cider
Classic vanilla chai tea
Heat cider over a stove and steep the tea in the cider for 4 minutes. 
 
Cider and Spice
(courtesy of Republic, includes alcohol)
1½ ounces Smirnoff vodka
2 ounces apple cider
1½ ounces cranberry juice
¾ ounce berber syrup
cinnamon sugar rim
Measure out vodka and berber in wine glass. Steam juices together in plastic measuring cup. Combine.
 
Indoor activities outside
Forget snow angels, snowmen and snow forts. All the rage this year are frozen bubbles, snow painting and snow volcanos.
When you blow bubbles outside — any brand is fine, though Karen Provost, manager of the Girls Scouts’ Camp Pathway, says it works best when temperatures are in the teens — they’ll crystalize and solidify, depending on how cold it is.
“It’s fascinating — you can stick your finger right inside before it breaks,” Provost said.
After that, try for some snow painting. Provost shared two styles her campers and kids have enjoyed. One is “snow painting” on trees. 
“You can make faces on the trees with snow,” she said. “Take the snow, pack it on the trees, make the eyes, nose, mouth, hair, beard — this past winter we did it at camp, and all the trees down the paths had faces on them.”
You can also snow paint with food coloring. 
“Dilute food coloring in a spray or squirt bottle. Last year at winter camp, we made a huge mound of snow and called it Mount Tie Dye,” Provost said.
Another idea: Transfer your water bottle science experiment to a mound of snow. 
Dig a small hole at the top of the volcano tip and place a cup on it. Add baking soda and a few drops of food coloring or washable watercolors to the cup, which acts as the volcano’s core. Have the kids pour in vinegar and enjoy the show. 




Take that, winter
How to get through and even (gasp!) enjoy the snowy season

12/04/14
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



Want to survive this winter? Your first step is to get rid of the bad attitude. Think of the upcoming cold, snowy, icy months as opportunities.
“In New England, each season presents its own challenges and its own opportunities as well. If you look at it as drudgery, it will be drudgery. If you look at it as an opportunity to enjoy new activities, you’re going to enjoy the season a lot more,” said Karen Provost, manager of Camp Pathway with the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
J Taylor, co-owner of Benson Ski and Sport, agrees.
“If you don’t play in the winter, it’s a long six months of staring out the window and being grumpy. Be outside,” Taylor said.
To “survive” winter, you need to embrace it. You still need to get your vitamin D — because ask anyone, sunlight makes you happier — but we looked at unusual ways to get your sun, from snow painting to animal tracking.
We’ve also tried to pinpoint the things that are just truly terrible about the season — driving in the snow, the cold, no beach, the cold, no camping, the cold — and tackle them directly. We’ve got car prep information, hot drink recipes, warm clothing tips and ideas to bring summer activities inside so that when the winter finally does melt away, you might even be a bit sad to see it go.
 
Step 1: Winterize your wardrobe.
Dry means warm. Synthetic means warm. A waterproof level of 10,000 means warm.
And warm means you’re more likely to soak up that vitamin D and enjoy the fresh, outdoor air. The reason, in Taylor’s words: Once you’re cold, you’re done. Take Taylor’s tips for your long, outdoor excursions through the woods, on the slopes or even during your lunch break walks.
Look for waterproof ratings. Most manufacturers describe the waterproof breathability of fabrics using two numbers. The first is in millimeters, and it describes how waterproof a fabric is. Anything under 5,000 is not great; it can maybe withstand light rain, dry snow with no pressure. Something 16,000 mm or more, on the other hand, withstands heavy rain and wet snow. 
“The higher the number, the longer it will stay dry on a really bad day,” Taylor said. “If you’re not dry, you’re not warm.”
The second number measures how breathable the fabric is and indicates how many grams of water vapor can pass through a square meter of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24-hour period. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric. 
Pick warm materials. With some jackets you’ll see the word GORE-TEX, a material engineered to be windproof, waterproof and breathable. (This material will have great waterproof breathability numbers; always wear as an outside shell.) Fleece and wool are also durable after becoming wet; however, fleece is generally lighter. Anything synthetic is generally fine when it gets wet (by snow, rain or sweat), while something that’s goose down will be lighter and fluffier, but perhaps not so great when wet. 
Layers are good. If you’re a fair-weather skier (or fair-weather outdoors person in general) you may not need these specialty items. You can’t go wrong with layers; they provide insulation and will ensure you’re always at the right temperature (again, so long as you don’t get wet). Tie it all together with an outer shell to block the wind and elements.
What are you doing outside? Obviously if you’re walking from your house to your car, you don’t need to dress in layers with an outer shell and synthetic fabric. If you’re doing anything that involves breaking a sweat, you’ll also need to calm down on the bulky parka.
“If you’re cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, you’re going to need lighter layers. At that point, it’s usually more about wind-cutting. In general, you’re going to generate a ton of heat, and you don’t want to build up too much sweat,” Taylor said.
Mittens are warmer. “If you’re really concerned about being cold, get mittens; they’re warmer,” Taylor said. “Get something that’s waterproof. … A lot of new ones also have hand-pockets for heaters. … For fair-weather skiers out there, you don’t need heavy, hard-core gloves. But if you’re outside all day long, a bigger, badder glove will keep you going all day. … Lots of people will go to the Internet to do research if they’re not familiar with the brand, or something like that. It’s tough. There’s a lot of knock-off stuff out there. I hate to be that guy, but if you want to be warm, don’t go to Ocean State Job Lot. You need to go to a place that specializes in that kind of equipment.”
 
Step 2: Explore the outdoors.
At these events, you’ll learn about the outdoors while getting some fresh air. Do it in warm clothes, and call or email the individual organization for information on pricing, scheduling and details.
 
Beaver Brook Nature Center 
(117 Ridge Road, Hollis, 465-7787, beaverbrook.org)
Tree Trimmings and Trek happens Saturday, Dec. 13, from 9 to 11 a.m., during which time visitors will make holiday ornaments using natural materials. The cost is $15 per person.
The Night Tree Craft and Hike is Saturday, Dec. 20, from 9 to 11 a.m. Visitors will read Night Tree by Eve Bunting, complete a craft (popcorn/cranberry garland, apple/orange slice ornaments, sunflower seed balls) and hike. The cost is $15 per person.
Fitness Hikes occur regularly, Mondays and Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m., through April 2015. Walkers travel 2.5 miles on rolling terrain and some hills while learning many new trails in the region. Guided walks are around $100 for all 33 weeks. People can drop in with $4 for a day hike, and if they want to join till April, prices will be altered.
Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes occur regularly at Beaver Brook. Right now, there’s one planned for Saturday, Jan. 3, and another Saturday, Jan. 31. They begin at 7 p.m. and cost $15, and space is limited. 
Tracking Workshop Sunday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. to noon, during which participants will follow tracks that typically include porcupine, bobcat, fisher, deer, moose, turkey and otter. $20 per person.
Intro to Backyard Maple Sugaring class Saturday, Feb. 7, from 10 to noon, adults only, $20 per person. 
Valentine’s Day Snowshoe Hike Saturday, Feb. 14, $40 per couple, starts at 7 p.m. Couples only.
 
Massabesic Audubon Center 
(26 Audubon Way, Auburn, 
668-2045, mac@nhaudubon.org)
Wee Wonders program is for preschoolers and happens Wednesdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m., $12 per child/parent pair; participants will ponder the changing seasons through songs, crafts, stories, activities and outdoor discovery. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Programs include “Weathering Winter” on Dec. 17; “Where Have all the Wild Things Gone?” on Jan. 7; “Whitetails in Winter” on Jan. 21; “Who’s Wearing White” on Feb. 4, and “Weasel Ways” on Feb. 18.
Snowshoe Rentals are available Tuesday through Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., $9 per pair, for on-site use only.
115th Annual Chapter Christmas Bird Count happens on Friday, Dec. 27. Individuals or groups will be assigned specific areas in which to count birds, and at 5 p.m., after the count, participants will tally sightings over dinner at the Lawrence Barn, 28 Depot Road, Hollis. A small fee will be collected at dinner. Visit nhaudubon.org/birding/christmas-bird-count. Call Richard Bielawski at 429-2537 for more information.
Mysteries of the Forest: Tracking NH’s Animals (family program) Saturday, Jan. 31, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., $9 per person, program director Angie Krysiak will lead the program about the basics of tracking some of the state’s common winter animals.
What Is That Tree? Saturday, Feb. 7, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., $9 per person, about how to identify trees without their leaves. Forester Dave Coughlin will lead a walk around the woods and point out tree species in New Hampshire. Complimentary use of MAC snowshoes is included if necessary for ease of travel.
I Love My Snowman event Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to noon; free event for kids to build their favorite critter, snow person or sculpture in the Massabesic Audubon Center’s backyard. There will be prizes and hot chocolate for sale to keep energy up.
 
Amoskeag Fishways
(6 Fletcher St., Manchester, 
626-FISH, amoskeagfishways.org)
Fishways Open House Tuesday, Dec. 30, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; features two presentations, “Active Winter Birds” and “Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons.” Treats, crafts, prizes, and bird walk around the Fishways (bring binoculars). Free for all ages.
Family Fun Nights are Fridays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and cost $5 per family (advance registration required). The nights are for all ages and focus on the Merrimack River and its watershed. Friday, Jan. 16, is “NH Mustelids: Otters, Fishers and Mink!;” “NH Moose” is Friday, Jan. 30; “NH Wild Cats” is Friday, Feb. 27.
Eagles Along the Merrimack program Saturday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to noon, $3 per person or $6 per family; participants will learn about Manchester’s urban bald eagles and search for them around the city. Carpooling is encouraged; bring binoculars if possible. Advance registration required.
Let’s Go Ice Fishing event Friday, Feb. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon; free event, where participants will learn how to ice fish with staff and volunteers of New Hampshire Fish and Game. Friday evening will cover ice safety, fish ecology, equipment, other important information (no fishing licenses required), and all angling gear will be provided. Bring lunch, wear outdoor clothes. For ages 9 and older. Advance registration required.
 
Squam Lake Natural Science Center 
(23 Science Center Road, Holderness, 968-7194, nhnature.org) 
Winter Bird Banding Open House Saturday, Jan. 3, from 9 a.m. to noon. Regular free events occur throughout the season, during which families can see wild birds up close and learn how birds are captured, banded and released. There are five other bird banding events in January and February, which will cost $10 to attend. If you want to see a bird banding and go on a Winter Wild Walk (see below) the same day, the cost is $15 for both.
Wild Winter Walks, guided tours of the live animal trail happen throughout the winter, on Saturday, Jan. 3, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to noon; Sunday, Jan. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 31, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 8, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to noon; and many other weekends throughout the winter. For adults and families with kids ages 6 and older, visitors will be led by a staff naturalist and given a tour of the live animal exhibit trail. Be ready to snowshoe and see wild animals in their fur coats. Cost is $10 per person. Snowshoes can be provided. 
 
Step 3: Tackle winter driving.
Bill Boynton from the Department of Transportation says there’s really one big thing you can do to ensure you feel safer on the roads this winter: Prepare. 
“Even though New Hampshire is a small state, people tend to commute long distances to work, whether it’s south of the border or across the state,” Boynton said. “We’re having people drive in conditions they never used drive in. They don’t stay home in storms anymore.”
 
Prepare your car. If you don’t drive an SUV, you can winter-friendly your automobile by installing snow tires or studded tires. Check that your windshield wiper fluid is meant for winter (that summer stuff freezes!), and you can get heavy-duty wipers for icy precipitation as well. 
“You should be doing everything you can, from testing your anti-freeze and the air pressure of your tires to making sure you have a scraper in your car and that your battery is in good condition. There’s potential every day for something to happen,” Boynton said.
Pack an emergency kit. It should include jumper cables, flashlights, a blanket, a charged cell phone and a scraper. Having salt, sand and a shovel could be handy too, in case you get stuck. If you really want to prepare for the worst, be sure to keep extra clothes, bottled water, matches and necessary medication in your kit.
Check the weather. The nice thing about being on this side of the Internet and social media is you can use it to help you get home safely. DOT often tweets about road issues like car crashes, weather conditions and construction work (@NHDOTI93, @NHDOTNH101, @NewHampshireDOT, @NHDOTI89, etc.). There’s also a regularly updated Facebook page and a 24-hour working Transportation Management Center that communicates condition warnings. 
Leave time. Prepare for your commute by leaving time — lots of time — to get from point A to point B. 
“While we do an exceptional job in New Hampshire of clearing the roads, when it’s snowing we can’t guarantee dry pavement. People need to plan on that and take extra time and not expect to go full highway speeds to get to their destination,” Boynton said.
Leave time to defrost and scrape your car (as Boynton reminded during the interview, it’s the law), and leave extra space between you and the car in front of you to enable extra space for braking.
“We can’t be everywhere at once,” Boynton said. “Air and pavement temperature can fluctuate across different elevations. It can be clear and dry on I-89 by Warner, and then, all of a sudden, there’s mixed precipitation. You can’t be in a hurry.”
Know your brakes. Are they antilock? Or do you drive an older model? 
“One of the biggest improvements [in cars] is anti-lock brakes. It used to be that if you slammed down on your brakes, your vehicle would slide,” Boynton said.
With anti-lock brakes, you don’t need to pump; they’re activated when the tires are turning at a certain speed relative to the vehicle’s speed and “pump” the brakes for the driver, as described on AAA’s website. 
“It’s important to be familiar with how your brakes work. It’s not a bad idea to test them out in a large parking lot area, especially if the vehicle hasn’t been driven in winter conditions before,” Boynton said. 
Also, know what your car can do. Can you switch gears and avoid stepping on the brakes altogether? And remember from driver’s ed: If you find yourself beginning to skid, don’t brake; instead, take your foot off the accelerator and turn your car into the direction you want your front wheels to go.
Know your roads. “Conditions vary a lot in New Hampshire,” Boynton said. “We have a high freeze-thaw cycle here. We have a lot of situations in which it will move from above to below freezing over the course of one day.” 
Just because it’s raining and the air temperature is above freezing doesn’t mean ice can’t collect on the roads. Pavement temperature could easily still be below 32 degrees, in which case the rain will freeze as it hits the ground.
Remember that roads at higher elevations may be worse than roads at lower elevations, and that roads in the shade may be icier than roads warming in the sun. It’s not a bad idea to keep alternative routes in mind, ones that are typically better plowed or less hilly.
Realize that your SUV isn’t invincible. Boynton says people in New England often underestimate those 1 to 2 inches of snow that aren’t quite enough of an excuse to skip out on work or school. In fact, he says DOT sees more cars off the road in those conditions than during big storms with statewide coverages and warnings made three days in advance. 
Stay behind a plow. Boynton advises against trying to pass them; if you collide with a plow, you’re probably going to lose. 
 
Step 4: Bring the outdoors indoors.
There are some wonderful activities you just can’t do in the snow. So we talked to Karen Provost, manager of Camp Pathway with the Girl Scouts. Provost is the mom of two grown children, has served as a troop leader and boasts a degree in community and outdoor recreation. She jokes she’s like a “professional kid” with no shortage of ideas on how to bring favorite summer activities indoors.
“You can take almost anything from the outdoors and bring it in. You just need to tone it down,” Provost said.
 
Pack a picnic. Pack a lunch together and “hike” through the house to the perfect picnic location. Spread your blanket and enjoy some picnic activities. (Stuck on ideas? Sing songs while you search for a spot. Go on a color hike, in which you give each person a crayon and ask him or her to find as many things as possible to match that crayon’s color.)
When Provost’s kids were younger, she took them on such a venture. They had packed their lunch, and the last thing Provost threw in were Fig Newtons.
“When I opened the lunch basket, I said, ‘Let’s have dessert first.’ My kids looked at me as though I had sprung three extra heads,” she said. “We were going to eat the cookies anyway, but it was memorable because it was out of the ordinary.”
Camp inside. Got a tent? Sleeping bag? Flashlight? There’s no reason you can’t try the camping experience indoors. Pitch the tent in your basement (or bedroom, living room, etc.), and build your fire in a fireplace or with a collection of candles huddled together. Toast marshmallows over the fire (you can do this if you have a gas stove), in the microwave or on a grill (Provost says many S’more kits include what are like small hibachi grills to roast on). 
Afterward, tell campfire stories. Either let the adults lead or get the kids talking by making a storytelling web. To do this, take string or yarn, have the participants sit in a circle and add one or two sentences to the tale while holding the string, then toss it to someone else.
Hold an indoor Olympics. For discus, throw a paper plate for distance. For javelin, a straw. For the 100-meter dash, contestants must scoot across the floor while lying inside a sleeping bag. For hurdles, make a “track” with obstacles, blindfold one contestant and make him or her move through these hurdles with verbal direction from a partner. Long jump and high jump will be measured differently — long jumpers will jump while standing in place, and high jumpers’ heights will be measured by how high they can stick masking tape on a wall. Enhance the event by holding opening and closing ceremonies and creating teams. 
Have a beach day. “My junior troop used to host overnight trips at the YMCA. We’d do games, crafts, swim and then sleep in the gym,” Provost said. Some towns (Portsmouth, for instance) have public indoor swimming facilities, and many hotels with pools allow non-customer swimmers for a small fee. YMCAs (in Londonderry, the Seacoast, Goffstown, Merrimack, Concord, etc.) and some workout venues (the Workout Club in Salem, for instance) also allow drop-ins for a fee.
 
Step 5: Refresh with a delicious hot beverage.
There’s something about having a warm drink in the wintertime.
“You hold it and it warms your hands up,” said Stephanie Zinser, True Brew Barista owner in Concord, at her Concord shop. “[Making warm drinks is] something you can do when your friends are over. I think that’s what gets me through winter.”
Zinser provided information about the business’s most popular fall hot drink, chaider (see below), and a few ideas on how to spice up your holiday hot beverage.
“We also do a cider with fireball [whiskey]. … Cider is local, and it’s special because you can’t get it all year round,” Zinser said. “A lot of people use rum with eggnog, but amaretto with eggnog is something you could easily do at home. You could warm it up and make it a hot latte drink. We make Almond Joy lattes, which include amaretto, coconut rum and chocolate liquor. We make it as a latte and put espresso in it and foam milk on top.”
Also popular in the winter are Irish coffees (hot coffee, Irish whiskey, cream and sugar) and the Robert James, which contains white chocolate Godiva and butterscotch schnapps.
Monica Poulin from Republic Cafe offered a recipe for a hot toddy (not on the menu right now, though they’ll serve customers who ask about it). 
The recipe is a sipper, not a guzzler, with citrus and spice, brandy, sugar and honey. 
Poulin expects it will clear up any sort of head cold. Its origins are Scottish, and when served, it’s like a very strong spicy lemonade. 
Republic also provided a cider recipe that contains alcohol. 
Anything with cider, Poulin said, is a crowd-pleaser, as it’s sweet and local.  
 
As seen in the December 4, 2014 issue of the Hippo.
 





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