Friday, January 20, 2017

Lake Ice Update

After ten days of below freezing weather, the lake froze completely to a depth of about 3".  It was strong enough for me to walk on it without danger, but I didn't venture too far from the dock.  The lake is fed by springs, so there are definitely warmer spots where the ice could be thinner.
The thick ice lasted for one day before we had a warming trend, and the ice started to weaken.  When the ice first started to recede, it looked like a giant had created a jigsaw puzzle on top.
This is the last of the rocks we threw on the ice earlier.  All the others have already broken through.
Now the heather is in bloom.  The ice was a nice novelty, but we're ready for spring.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter, Winter, and More Winter

The saving grace this winter has been the sunshine!  It's been cold for what seems like a month now, but we've had sunshine most every day, and I've been able to get out for a walk to enjoy some of the sights that only winter can bring.
The lake is completely frozen.
I've been chopping a hole in the ice by the dock to check the ice depth each day, and it has grown to about 2 1/2".
We always leave at least one snag tree in the woods for woodpeckers, and possibly bears, and for eagle perches.
This phenomenon is called "hair frost".  It only occurs on dead wood that has a certain sort of bacteria.  It is very delicate and fragile, and quite beautiful.
And, the cold days are perfect for baking and reading.  However, I'll be really glad to see spring and warmer days!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More Winter

January 8 - As the temperature warmed up to 38 degrees, we had hope, but also a new level of misery as the solid sheet of ice on the front walkway became treacherous.
By January 10, the tiny bit of snow by the truck is all that's left of the snow and ice.
Except for the lake - someone threw a big boulder onto the ice, and it is still strong enough to hold the rock up.
There are air pockets under the ice, and when I threw a pretty big rock out today, it bounced without breaking through.  I think the ice is still about 2" thick on most of the lake.
But we can see green again, and the sun is shining, making it feel positively balmy and springlike outside today.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bird Food Wreath

My friend on Facebook posted this nice short video for making a wreath out of bird seed for the birds in your yard.  I'm a sucker for anything that looks interesting so since I had most of the ingredients, I immediately set out to make one for the hundreds of birds in my yard.
Here's the recipe:
2 packages of gelatin - stir into 1 cup warm water
Add 6 tablespoons of Karo syrup (I didn't have that, so I used honey)
Add 1 1/2 cups of flour
Add 8 cups of bird seed
Mix well - (it will be a bit dryer than pie dough)
Liberally spray a bundt pan with spray oil and then pack the bird seed mixture into it

I put a plastic bag on top so I could press it firmly into the pan without having the seeds stick to my hands.
So pretty - I hung it on the line with my other feeders, where it stayed for about 2 minutes
Before it was in pieces on the ground - Not sure if it fell from it's own weight or if the first bird that landed on it caused it to break apart.  It was very heavy and I wondered about it holding together.  I'm sure the birds won't care if it's in pieces - I scattered them so that the "boss bird" won't keep it all to himself. 
This guy showed up last night, so I'm sure the remainder of the bird seed wreath won't last more than a few more hours.  But it was fun while it lasted!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Swans on the Lake

A few days ago, the swans were back, happily swimming on the lake with their new baby.
Then yesterday, they were gone, and the lake had frozen about 2/3 of the way across.
When I went to check the ice on the lake today, it was totally frozen from end to end, and to my horror, it looked like the swans were frozen into the ice.
So I walked through the woods to the end of the lake to get a better view.
They are all fine - just sitting in the sun on the ice, making really interesting sounds.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Winter Update

The past couple of days have been very cold - barely getting over freezing during the day, so the open water on the lake has gotten smaller and smaller.  Swans were here last week, but are gone now.  With another couple of cold weather days predicted, probably a good idea for them to find a bigger body of water.  Dozens of Mallards still on the lake.
New tracks in the snow - raccoon I think.
The yard was full of Varied Thrushes and Oregon Juncos, picking at whatever falls off the fir trees.  So I decided to put up some feeders when snow covered most of the ground.  So far, they haven't sampled from the feeders.  Maybe they are too unstable because they are hanging on a rope?
So I've been throwing seed on the ground under the trees, and they've been enjoying that.
There wasn't a lot of snow on the driveway, but since it was supposed to get cold and icy, I raked it with the tractor yesterday.
Where I didn't rake, the tracks have turned into a solid layer of ice.  I quit where cars had driven out because I thought my efforts might make it worse, but I probably should have continued all the way to the road.