Quite often after a snowfall in January or February it will get quite cold for a while here in New Hampshire when the storm moves out over the Atlantic and pulls the polar express in behind it. The coldest I’ve ever seen it is 35 below zero (F) and it has only gone that low twice in the 50+ years that I’ve been around to witness it. But, it’s not supposed to get anywhere near that this week. We are supposed to have relatively balmy temps, with highs in the 30s during the day and above zero at night. There is no talk of a January thaw just yet.
The river is just starting to ice up. Areas where the current runs slow along its banks get icy first and then the ice slowly grows in towards the middle. When I was a young boy I was walking on the ice of this river one day and all of the sudden it started cracking. It was so loud, echoing off the frozen river banks, that it sounded like gun shots as I ran and dove onto the bank. That adventure cured my curiosity about frozen rivers and I have never walked on one since.
Ice forms on everything near the river’s edge. It weighs down young shrubs and sometimes breaks their stems.
And sometimes they just wear ice collars.
Even the stones are coated in ice.
One night when the temperature dropped to below zero Jack Frost paid a visit and drew patterns on my windows. The frost edges looked like feathers, or ferns. Oddly enough these coldest temperatures happened on the night before the earth passed closest to the sun, January 2nd.
The different shapes that frost can grow into seem endless.
Did you ever wonder which end of a pine cone hit the ground first after it fell? Well, now you know.
This Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) seed head was the only thing poking up out of a large expanse of white.
These bracket fungi must have been frozen solid.
The vernal pools in the forest are also beginning to freeze. A vernal pool is temporary and does not hold water year around. “Vernal” means “occurring in spring,” and these small pools are usually at their maximum depth in the spring due to snow melt and runoff. In the hot, dry days of June, July and August they will disappear completely. Frogs, toads, salamanders, insects and many plants rely on these pools.
I wasn’t expecting to see this poor tree frog on top of the snow. I followed his short trail to find that it began in the middle of nowhere, so he either dug his way up from the soil to the snow’s surface or fell out of a tree. I’ve always heard that they burrow into mud for the winter but he seemed to have a broken leg, and that got me wondering if he had fallen out of a tree. Other than wishing him well, there was little I could think of to do for him.
The wasps inside these oak galls will fare much better than the tree frog, I’m sure. They will emerge in spring when it is warm and the snow has melted.
If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. ~Raymond Inmon
Thanks for stopping in. I hope you see plenty of bright sunshine and bearable temperatures, no matter where you live.