Posts Tagged With: ice

Cold Water, Colder Air

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Instead of glancing off at low angles, the sun shines more directly on surfaces these days and, in spite of the unseasonably cool temperatures we’ve had, eaves drip and the sound of running water is heard in the stream beds.

Dark surfaces become warmer than the air that surrounds them, and even a light coating of dust is enough to tip the balance and allow ice to become water, if only for a minute. Melt water on the road flows to the shade of the cedar tree by the drive and hardens to a smooth, slippery finish and opaque ice builds beneath the eaves like stalagmites in a cave.

Slowly but surely, this year’s snowfall makes its way to the ocean, advancing as far as it can during the day before the angle of the sun changes and the chill of night sets in. Each day brings another few minutes of sunlight that is increasing in intensity, and each day the snow, the ice, and even the woods themselves react.

Water flows year-round from springs in the valley, and streams run throughout the winter here. Some of that constant flow makes a short stop on its way to the Atlantic, coating everything it splashes as it drops from the outlet of Fish in a Barrel Pond. Cold water meets colder air and fantastic forms arise.

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Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mad Marchness

When the lion of winter lashes out like it’s wounded, roaring with cold, and the lamb of spring kicks up wet showers, those who live where the two meet get pelted with ice balls. Back and forth it goes every March, and we know spring will eventually prevail, but so far this year, March belongs to winter.

The Road to Fish in a Barrel Pond

The Road to Fish in a Barrel Pond

When snow is followed by rain and the rain is followed by sub-zero cold, an icy crust develops. When that cold is followed by more snow and more rain, the best term to describe conditions is “glaciated”. We are encased in ice. Continue reading

Categories: Maple Syrup, nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

I Hear the Fishing’s Been Pretty Good

Winter’s stark grays softened beneath a gauzy green veil as spring returned to the slopes of Nonesuch Mountain. A last toast to winter drained the dregs of that bitter keg so I took up the cup of spring with a nod to the transition of season, acknowledging an important milestone along our planet’s annual journey around the sun. I lifted the vernal chalice to my lips as for a kiss, and imbibed the essence of the season with intemperate relish as spring flowed like syrup, at its own leisurely pace.

Another cup appeared, brimming with the prospect of the return of anglers to Fish in a Barrel Pond, top shelf stuff, and you know I simply couldn’t resist. But I took a wide stance and held onto my hat as I quaffed because, Dear Readers, drinking from that vessel is like drinking from a damn fire hose.

ice monday

Monday, April 22

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Loons, nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Meltdown

So there I was, ready to wax rhapsodic as spring returned, but winter threw a hissy fit.

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Maple Syrup, nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

“Channeling Natty Bumppo” or, “Quill Gordon Knows Sh*t”

Fair Warning: There will be no replacing of letters with asterisks beyond this point! There are also three photos of interesting, strangely hairy poop in this post. Tolerant, indulgent readers who make it to the end will be rewarded with a few pretty pictures of ice.

Once, long ago, I sat in a tavern with some coworkers, sipping root beer and swapping stories. A man at the end of the bar to my right squinted at me and slurred, “Hey! You don’t know shit!”

This was unfortunate because if he had been seated to my left he would have seen the patch on my sleeve signifying employment at the local zoological park and indicating what was actually an intimate and far superior knowledge of shit. Not realizing what he was in for, he wiggled his index finger and taunted me once more. “You don’t know shit!” he exclaimed.

“As a matter of fact,” I began, hitching up my uniform pants as I stood, “I do know shit.” I then proceeded to recite every term for shit I could think of, from spoor and sign to crap and beyond. I told about finding peacock feathers in elephant shit and the defensive defecation of large pythons but I didn’t get a chance to expound on the eucalyptus-laced dung of koalas or the flung-poo antics of monkeys because the man at the bar staggered over and cut me off.

Actually, he cut off my air by punching me in the throat, but that is not the point. The point is that I am neither surprised nor particularly bothered when someone leaves a message on the answering machine telling me they found some very interesting, strangely hairy poop in the woods and that it was such interesting, strangely hairy poop that they felt compelled to carry a large sample of said poop to my porch, leaving it on an overturned bucket, cradled by a lichen-covered tree branch.

Feces of a fisher

There are those among us who would take one look at this strangely hairy poop and say, “Them’s Sasquatch turds, for sure,” but they would be wrong. Continue reading

Categories: nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A January Thing

Every fall I make noise about attending one of the big fly fishing shows over the winter, but by the time I feel ready to deal with a couple thousand anglers, all at once, the shows are over and done. The closest show to Fish in a Barrel Pond is in Marlborough, MA, this weekend, and quite frankly it’s just too soon. You all go ahead with your eager anticipation of the season to come, but some of us are still recovering from the last one. Opening Day will be here soon enough. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the peace and quiet.

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Categories: +Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Power of Calm

The calm days stand out around here, if for no other reason than the profound silence that descends. Straining to hear the pulse of the water, like listening for a heartbeat late at night, not even a gentle ripple laps the shore.

Shadows creep northward and the lowering sun angles through the first icy haze of the season, creating sun dogs, which are kind of like rainbows but much, much colder.

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Categories: nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Big Old Dose of Spring

At Town Meeting, back on the 6th, I was told Mud Season would begin on the 7th.

It did.

A protracted spell of unseasonable warmth made it even deeper and more tenacious than usual and, two and a half weeks later, it’s still not over. Entire dump truck loads of stone continue to disappear in the slop.

While several feet of saturated road bed thawed in the warm spring sun this week, the ice on the lake remained thick, but not to be trusted.

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Categories: Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Ice Out!

Fish in a Barrel Pond, March 22, 2012, 6:30 p.m.:

Fish in a Barrel Pond, March 23, 2012, 6:30 a.m.:

An early riser:

 

Categories: nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Story of Life and Death, Written in Snow (19 Photos)

(Important Disclaimer: There are places where ice forms many feet thick and travel on frozen lakes is perfectly safe for a good part of the season. In other places, especially during a winter like this one, ice conditions can change from day to day, even hour to hour.

The strengthening sun creates soft spots as melt water collects in the dips between expansion cracks, and a route that was safe in the morning merits a second look after lunch. Faint tracks mark yesterday’s trail, which puddled up and froze over last night, leaving a thin veneer over a foot of nothing but slush and at least a bracing dunk.

If asked, Quill Gordon will tell you no ice is safe, but if you do find yourself crossing a frozen lake, check ice thickness often and be aware of changing conditions.)

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An overnight skiff of snow on the ice is like a clean slate. Any tracks or other signs of activity I see are recent, laid down only hours before my morning rounds. Otters, mink and squirrels are common, and I saw the tracks of a fisher cat last week but, far and away, the most common tracks I come across are those of coyotes.

It’s the time for pairing off and denning up, asserting dominance and proving worth, and the coyotes have been plenty active. Most are travelling in pairs, but a big, lone male has also been out and about.

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Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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