Friday, February 19, 2016

February 19, 2016 Bah ~ Humbug!

I have just been having fun on what little ice we have on the shore the last few days ~ and, now it's raining!  I have no problem with rain ~ when it's in season.  But, when we have serious rain in the winter, I get perturbed.  No school today.  I suspect they were worried about everything icing up.   The road is icy in the tracks where vehicles have driven today, for sure.  The neighbor kids were out playing in the rain when Betsy and I were out for a walk.   But ~ dang it, it's melting and ruining the good ice and snow!  I guess it's called global warming............
What little ice we do have along the shore this winter has been quite striking.  These ice formations hanging from the trees on the way to the island were just gorgeous.  I didn't get there until afternoon ~ but, I bet they would have been really striking had I been there in the morning with a bit of sunshine on them.
The deer, on the other hand, have been busy running around and jumping just like Spring!  I think maybe they have "spring fever" today.  It's warm.   But, the snow isn't melting yet and there are no puddles to jump in.   One of those two bucks, above, finally lost his left antler this week but is hanging tight to the other.  Tough to lose the antlers and status!  This is true even if you are the biggest buck in the yard.  Antlers trump all!   Even a little spike buck can be the boss if he is the last one standing with antlers.   I've seen it and it's hilarious.   You keep thinking ~ boy, one of these days he's going to shed too and really get his butt kicked.  But ~ it's also amazing how fast things settle down when they are all "equal" again.
Anyway ~ it's being quite a week.  The deer are laying under the trees out of the rain for now.   Until mealtime ~ anyway.  I'm sure the yard will be full in  the usual 2 minutes flat ~ then!
Have a good rainy winter day ~ all!

Friday, February 12, 2016

February 12. 2016 Winter has arrived!

Winter has finally arrived in the valley!  We have finally gotten serious snow and the cold too.   It was a while coming.  I went almost to the very end of January wearing nothing more serious than ankle high hiking boots on my feet!  That is unheard of.  It is for me ~ anyway!   Usually the snow is too deep and my feet get cold.  Neither is fun in hiking boots as a rule.  So ~ I now have trails to break again and get my skiing back underway.  It has been blowing so much after all that snow, I haven't bothered to break trails ~ only to have them all drift in again before I get to go the next day.
Along with the snow fall ~ we get the wolves coming out of the woods to hunt where it is easier going.  Tuesday afternoon, just before 5 o'clock, we saw one going by our driveway on the MVR.  It didn't come up the driveway anyway, which was good.   When I went down there later, he had been marking territory.  Further down he left a good pile in the road.   I started out on my early morning walk with Betsy this morning.  Just past my driveway, he had peed on that same snowbank ~ high up again ~ and just past that, left another pile.  So ~ I knew he was around.  So did Betsy.  Her nose works.   I got a ways down the road ~ Betsy busy playing snowball without a care in the world ~ out of the woods comes the wolf.   I watched it a minute and then turned around and headed for home.  No sense looking for trouble.  I kept watching over my shoulder tho.  A minute later, it was back out on the MVR diddling around.  It finally went into one of the neighbors' yard.   There is a little cat that hangs out there and has managed to avoid all the predators and not starve for at least a couple of years now.   They say a cat has 9 lives.  Well ~ that one must.  I emailed and Facebooked all my neighbors that the wolves were back.  One had seen two of them on the road yesterday at 12:30.  So, yes, it is the season!  Be vigilant if you don't want your dog eaten time of year.   But then, that is pretty much the case year around up here.  I don't think there is a month of the year I haven't seen them.
You will notice by my photos it is also the time of the year for nice ice.  I took this one this morning when I was out and about.  Sometimes, it is nice to find those details.  See the fiery colors in this one. The sun was shining directly on it so it was sparkling!   The one up above is a "bigger picture" style.  This neat ice formations hanging on the trees were too neat!  I took that on the way home from Grand Marais and doing errands.  Days like today, -10 with a sharp wind, my fingers don't hold up too well. Doesn't take them long to freeze.   But, the ice is worth trying for.
I took this one of the neat ice hanging off the old Hovland dock today too.   They were pretty neat a few days ago.  However, with the cold, the bottom drops had gotten a lot bigger and they were reflecting nicely in the water.   I always, always, enjoy the ice formations.
Also, now that we have "winter" again ~ the Hovland ladies are going to get back in to our group that likes to go snowshoeing.  We have our first outing on Thursday next week.  We will definitely have plenty of snow to go tramp around in now.  Then, we go have coffee in Hovland or at one of the homes and visit for a bit before getting on with our day.  We have snowshoed to some pretty fun places in the past winters.  This year, between the damage ice storms did to all the trails and woods in the area and also the fact the warm weather kept many water areas from freezing up properly, we have had a few less places we could go explore without working seriously at it.  Crawling over and under iced down brush on snowshoes isn't fun.  Neither is going through unsafe ice.  SO....we are going on an expedition where we shouldn't have issues with either ~ even if it isn't quite as exciting.   So ~ off to winter endeavors!