Ice needles in the forest

It’s been hovering around freezing for a few days, give or take a degree or two, still unseasonably warm for December, with no snow.  Apparently just the right conditions for ice needles in the forest.  The ground is fairly wet as the forest floor doesn’t get bright sun.

I don’t know the physics of this, but the combination of moisture and approximately freezing temperatures has resulted in these ‘needles’ rising roughly vertically from the forest floor.

Ice needles
Ice needles
More ice needles
More ice needles

While wandering in the forest, I saw this rather weird fungus that at first looked like some animal had been using the stump for a toilet.

Tree stump fungus
Tree stump fungus

This branch from juniper (aka Eastern Red Cedar, but not a cedar at all) seems to have taken quite a detour on the way to find light.  Junipers are very shallow rooted and tend to blow over a lot.  The main trunk was leaning at about 60º from the vertical, so you can imagine the twists and turns as it sank, causing the branch to re-orient a few times.

Twisted Juniper
Twisted Juniper