Some humans and critters see a slow-down this season
Kuruk, one of the bears that performs for visitors at Clark's Trading Post each summer, settles in for a long winter's nap when the cold weather comes. (Courtesy of Maureen Clark)
A break from ice creamThough the ice cream shop Kimball Farm has been packed with customers on warm summer evenings for 17 years, in the winter the Kimball family boards up the shop and takes a much-needed break.
The Kimballs visit with friends, attend trade shows, do some planning and prepare for the coming season in April. They're also preparing for a few new babies, including goats, lambs and calves, and grooming the ninth generation of Kimballs to carry on the family business.
When Clark's Trading Post closes for the season, work for the Clark family doesn't end, but there is a little more time for going on vacation or pursuing hobbies. During the winter, Murray Clark has a chance to spend time with his young children and work on his snowmobile, while his mom searches eBay to find antiques related to Clark's Trading Post.
"Since Moxie's boyfriend Spooky died in 2011, she hasn't slept in the winter," said Clark. "I have to feed her and check on her six or seven times a day, and when I'm not here, other members of the family take over."
Moxie isn't the only bear having trouble sleeping these days, said wildlife expert Eric Orff who worked for New Hampshire Fish and Game for 31 years before retiring.
"We have some insomniac bears wandering around as the climate gets warmer," he said.
One critter who takes hibernation to the extreme is the wood frog. In the spring, the song of the wood frog can be heard around vernal pools, but during the winter, wood frogs freeze completely solid, said Orff. While their vital organs continue to operate at barely perceptible levels, they are little more than oddly shaped ice cubes in the winter. In the spring, they melt from the inside out, and start making a racket.
Winter means a rest for humans from the two least popular pests in New Hampshire — black flies and mosquitoes — but the new generation is waiting to be born just beneath the ice and snow, said Dr. Alan Eaton, an entomologist with the UNH Cooperative Extension. How they spend their winters depends on the type of mosquito or black fly. Some exist as eggs, others are waiting to emerge as adults from their larval state, and a few just like to take a long nap.
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