I must be suffering from Midwinter Blog Writing Freeze. I think the lack of sunlight affects my motivation and ability to compose a thoughtful, coherent post. But the sun is shining, and the south facing office is full of natural light, so I better seize the moment.
On Saturday I finally got the snow cleared off the pond for skating. Or, I should say, I removed about a two inch crust that was all that was left of the twenty inches of snow that had covered the pond since the weekend after Christmas. What happened to the rest of the snow?
When a heavy snowfall covers a layer of ice (assuming the ice is thick enough to support it), often the weight of the snow will push the ice down, forcing water up around the edges and through any cracks that may be in the ice. The thick blanket of snow insulates the water and keeps it from freezing solid. Dig or step down in the snow, and you will encounter a layer of slush between the snow and the ice. On large lakes where people are normally driving their vehicles on the ice this time of year to go ice fishing, the slushy conditions create a sometimes invisible safety hazard. On a small skating pond, it mostly creates a mess and dashes hopes for skating for the year.
However, it got cold enough, and the water seeped up enough to freeze solid beneath a snowy crust. It took a bit of physical force with the shovel sometimes to push through the crust, but I got the pond cleared. The ice is far from ideal for skating, but Mr. Attitude and I went out and made the most of it. It was Mr. Attitude's first time on skates, and he impressed me with his self confidence and ability to stay standing as he made skating-like motions.
I was already feeling the shoveling part that night when I could barely lift my arms. Ouch.
Our chickens (about a half dozen now) have been roosting outside the last couple of nights, even though this morning it was 18 below zero! What's up with that? Are the geese not sharing the space? Yesterday morning as I was racing to drive Calvin out to the bus, which was early, I nearly ran over a Rhode Island Red.
This morning on the way to work, I saw something large fly across the road ahead of me. It didn't have the speed of a goshawk; even though I was inside the car and could not hear anything outside, the flight struck me as being "silent", if that makes any sense. I immediately thought "owl". Since I was on a low traffic gravel road, and no one was behind me, I was able to stop and locate where the bird had landed in an aspen tree about 50 yards into the woods off the road. Barred owl! I managed to get a good look with the binoculars and tried to guide Mr. Attitude so he could see it too. I don't know if he ever found it, but I was happy that he seemed as excited as I was.