Sunday, January 29, 2012
The Fine Art of Crunching Ice Puddles
This morning when Ed returned from the mailbox he told me it was cold outside. After yesterday's warm weather and rain, my first question to him was, "Are there any good ice puddles?" His answer in the affirmative sent me for my coat and the camera. Crunching ice puddles is one of my favorite winter activities. The satisfying crunching sound that a stepped on ice puddle makes was music to my ears as a child and it will always remain so. When a shallow puddle freezes the thin lacy layer of ice has no water underneath. This is a prime crunching puddle.
Your foot can tap dance all over a puddle like this one making that lovely crunching noise until the puddle is completely shattered. This never gets old, it's like I'm a kid again!
Here we have a more exciting and more dangerous ice puddle. This one is deeper and while it has a thin coat of ice covering it, there is water underneath.
The trick here is to step on the puddle only where there is air trapped under the ice. This procedure must be done carefully. The chance of getting wet feet is rather high.
This is a small puddle, so the risk is worth it. Unless I slip and fall all I will get is wet feet. The sound here is more of a cracking noise. I much prefer the crunching noise of the other puddles, but the added element of danger makes this more exciting!
Crunching ice puddles being one of my favorite thing it was only natural that I would pass this joy onto my children. Many puddles were crunched as they walked to school on cold mornings. There was however a rather large drainage ditch in one place along their route. Sometimes the thin layer of ice would have a large airspace under it. Such an ice puddle emits a much louder cracking noise as the crack moves along the ice from the spot where it first breaks. Unfortunately there was also quite a lot of very cold, very dirty water in the bottom of that ditch. Once one of the children fell in that water and had to return home cold wet and dirty for a bath and a complete change of clothes. Crunching ice puddles is not an accepted reason for being late to school, but perhaps it should be!
While this is an incredibly enjoyable activity, it should be said that small shallow puddles are relatively safe. Large deep puddles are not. Under no circumstances should thin ice on ponds, streams or rivers be considered for crunching activity.