Low winter sun combined with shadows from the pine covered ridge keep this area cold. Walking from the brown grass onto the snow pack is like stepping into a giant walk in cooler. Even when the snow is gone the temperature difference remains. Brown rivers amid the snow mark the path of the melt water. Springs keep this area wet year round and the action of frost here is unique. Vertical columns of ice crystals raise the soil several inches above its normal level. Walking here now can drop your boot well into the muddy mess as the surface crust softens.
Gravel is near the surface under the pond. Water flow from many springs keeps the pond full during summer. Winter stops spring flow here and the ice slowly depresses as the water drains from under it. Snow melt and spring flow have filled the pond and soon we will see salamanders and polliwogs. Plans call for another attempt to replace some of the goldenrod with other native plants. Ground nuts, blue flag and cardinal flower will be placed on the dike. Iris insata, not even close as a native plant, is also moving here. Personal preference trumps principled planting here.