Nice ice on the Pigeon River

I went down for a walk in the woods today.

Path to woods with snow
Path to woods with snow

The Pigeon River is starting to freeze over, so I got some pictures of the ice formations and some animal tracks.

Pigeon River starts to freeze
Pigeon River starts to freeze

A closer look at the rock in the foreground:

Ice on Rocks
Ice on Rocks

In a less turbulent stretch, it is already frozen bank-to-bank. It has never frozen solid at least while I have lived here, it runs underneath all year.

Pigeon River more frozen
Pigeon River more frozen

Safety tip: It is dangerous to walk on because even when most of it will bear my weight, so I always walk softly and carry a big stick, both for stability and to test the ice by banging the stick on it. So far I haven’t had any accidents, in 20+ years.

Me with stick
Me with stick

As the sheet of ice works its way out, it makes interesting shapes.

Edge of the ice
Edge of the ice

The next picture is of clear ice with lots of specks of white ice crystals. I don’t know how this happens. They are a about 5 cm (2″) across.

Ice lace
Ice lace

This rock has a green beard.  I’ll have to search more to find out what kind of plant this is; I think it’s a form of horsetail (Equisetum) from looking closer at the stem, but it didn’t show up on my first attempt at IDing it.

Horsetail on rock
Horsetail on rock

There were plenty of animal tracks about, but no sign of the local bobcat or bear today. Some dog tracks but only one animal so probably not coyote, though there are many more coyotes than dogs around because people don’t let their dogs stray. Too much risk they’ll bother farm animals and get shot. Tracks too small for a wolf. Not many of those around.

Deer tracks
Deer tracks
Squirrel tracks
Squirrel tracks

Final word: please don’t leave garbage. I don’t place a lot of emphasis on private property, feel free to wander around except just by the house, but why can’t people take their garbage home. Even when the ground is covered with snow, there’s still stuff stuck in trees.

Garbage
Garbage

A walk down to the river

I went for a walk down to the river on the weekend, as it warmed up.
This is not quite the same spot as my header picture, but not far off.  Notice the difference?

Pigeon River
Pigeon River

Here’s where I cross the river.  My “bridge” was too slippery but the deer tracks across suggested I could cross on the ice. (The round ones are the deer, the warm spell took the edge off.) You can just see the roof of our house just below the 20m black cherry in the background.

Crossing the Pigeon River
Crossing the Pigeon River

or, if you couldn’t, here is a closer shot.

Crossing the Pigeon River - closer
Crossing the Pigeon River – closer

When crossing the river, I used a stout cedar pole in each hand to bang on the ice to make sure it was strong enough to hold my weight, because as you can see the river still flows underneath as it does all winter even in -30ºC weather.

Pigeon River under the ice
Pigeon River under the ice

Coming back up, here is the garden. For some reason, my brother-in-law stapled a flag to my shovel. As if I need a reminder what country I am in with all the snow and the -20ºC it has returned to.

Winter garden
Winter garden

You can see why I’m too lazy to shovel the driveway.  Oops, rain on the lens.

Winter drive
Winter drive

For walking on rivers and the like, serious boots are a good idea.  I have the same soles on my running shoes and sandals, so I don’t wear the boots very often any more, but these protect against twisted ankles if you slip.  Lots of dubbin have made them supple and waterproof.  They have hiked the west coast trail and lots of Rocky Mountain trails, amongst others, and I enjoyed the ride as they carried me about.

Boots on the ground
Boots on the ground

Since we only have shallow snow yet, the rain was enough to collapse the tracks of these voles.  Usually, by spring thaw, the entire garden has a network of these tunnels but this weekend there were just a starter few.

Mouse tunnel
Vole tunnel

 

Changed my header – sick of winter

I’m hoping these are towards the end of my winter pictures and I’ve changed the header to spring.

Minus 15ºC again this morning, we are sick of winter so I’m abolishing it if only in my header picture which is now one of the Pigeon River, in spring, where it cuts across our bush.

Unfortunately, it is still winter. The day before St. Patrick’s Day, too.  This is by far the longest, coldest winter we have had in about 20 years here.  Thank goodness we had propane heating installed, I would never have kept up with bringing wood in.

Just to show what we are soon to be missing, here are my last winter pictures (unless something really interesting shows up, like the ‘possum).

Icicles
Icicles

Yes, the icicles really are sloping to the left.  The wind was so high, from the north, that the icicles actually point a few degrees south.

 

Snow falling on cedars
Snow falling on cedars

OK, this was actually taken towards the east where there aren’t so many cedars but an homage to the book and a lot of our property is covered with Eastern Red Cedars (not botanically cedars, actually junipers but that’s what everyone calls them).  I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to spot the pine, rowan, birch, maple, spruce, beech and probably some others.

 

Winter has been here too long and it’s only January

Snow storm for Burns’ night.

We’re having snow storms for Burns’ night. Rather appropriate because he was born in a snowdrift.

He also wrote about snow

“But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, it’s bloom is shed;
Or, like the snow-fall in the river,
A moment white, then melts forever.” – Tam O’Shanter

but it doesn’t apply here because the rivers on our property are iced over.

Here is the view from our window, with a couple of woodpeckers and a blue jay at the bottom left of the centre pane.

Snow and woodpeckers
Snow and woodpeckers

The next one is the same window but just as the wind came and whipped up a couple of snow devils.

Snow devils
Snow devils