Sunday, January 3, 2016
Finally A Winter Walk
The past two months here have seen unusual weather. Our ground is generally frozen hard by the end of November but this year it remained soft until just recently. Two days with temperatures in the twenties now have the driveway solid and ready for the plow. This is great news as two inches of snow by morning is in the forecast. My need to plow is strong and we need to discover the capabilities of the new lawn tractor. It has the same engine as the old one but rides on smaller wheels. In the up position the plow blade just clears the ground most of the time. The pictured area receives more snowfall than the rest of the driveway for reasons that elude me. It is rare that I look forward to clearing the driveway but for now I am really ready to plow.
Today's walk took me to areas that I have not seen in months. This blowdown continues to expand seriously altering the landscape. Located near the base of the bedrock ridge, the soil here is thin and usually wet. Tree roots cannot penetrate to any depth and spread across underlying stone. A generous water supply supports impressive growth but these factors make trees here easily wind thrown. Our trees were expected to outlast me but that is not the case. Many of our trees are falling for a variety of factors and this raises concerns.
As I walked today, the air was still and quiet. Animal signs were completely absent as has been the case recently. We see no rabbits or skunks and few deer. Our hunter did not take a single deer here this year. Usually he and his family remove several. Again the cause for the sudden decline in the wild animal population is unknown to us. We hear rumors that the DEC is working to reintroduce the wolf in suitably wild areas but we see few signs of canine animals as our trails are walked.
This photo was taken as a flock of geese flew overhead. I heard them before they came into view but the point and shoot camera did not see them against the gray clouds. The small v formation in the picture is formed by tree branches not migrating geese. These geese were flying high and heading south. The sloppy formations typical of their earlier training flights have been refined to an energy efficient flying v.
This quad trail in the woods was made by our only allowed hunter. He places a blind near a deer trail that has in the past been heavily traveled. A successful hunt eluded him but I use his tracks for an easy path up and out of the woods.
If wishing made it so, there will be inches of new snow on the ground tomorrow. Our perennial plants, both wild and cultivated, could really use some protective snow cover soon.