The Great Blue Herons are hungry. They hang out on the river ice at the last spots of open water, wishing for a fish. One somehow landed this one – far too large to swallow
I had wished for more snow than last year when I barely got 13 days of X-Country skiing here, some of that only at night. This winter there’s been much more snow; great for skiing once the shoveling is done. So far we’ve skied from the end of December to mid February.
I did not wish for the extreme cold that came with the snow. The press blames a newly (for them) discovered Polar Vortex, but I see more association with the still poorly explained Jet Stream.
At -4°F (-20°C) the cold contracted the air in one of my new (well, 5 yrs. old) sealed double glazed windows so much that it ran a miniscule crack that that had lived harmlessly in the top left corner from the day it was made.
It had made the original small crack (hard to see), only 1 x 1 x 25 mm (1/32” x 1/32” x 1”) long, but the crack tip never ran out to the glass edge, it just waited for future stresses. The final long, very visible diagonal crack in the window is all too familiar to me. Have you ever seen it? Glass people often blame the cold – but winters are naturally cold. The real problem is that cracked glass is weak. It’s not Mother Nature’s fault. Don’t blame your mother! It’s the fault of whoever or whatever bumped that corner. The cold, plus a high barometer would only create about 500 psi tensile stress by bending the glass. While good glass, with no cracks, can resist 2,000 or 3,000 psi. The makers, Simonton Windows, were extremely gracious and prompt in providing a free warranty replacement in just 2 weeks. In return I sent them a detailed fractographic report. Wonder what they’ll make of it?
There must be some relationship between glass fracture patterns and ice crystals?
This 200 mm (8”) wide crystal is beautiful. With my new ōlloclip macro lens on the iPhone it looks at just a 3 mm (1/8”) wide slice and shows even more, fractal-like exquisite detail.
I always wonder how some of the frost lines can often be so straight?
Sometimes it is so cold: -4F (-20C) that the very air itself seems to freeze on the branches.
The animals are frozen and hungry, and turn up in odd places along my ski trail:
This young raccoon had no visible damage, but lay very quiet on my ski trail. Next day it had moved under a nearby house and after that it could not be found.
Even the two eagles seem to huddle together for warmth.
Alice grudgingly lets the squirrel eat spill-over from the bird feeder. Later the squirrel tries to drink water but doesn’t seem to know that the river is frozen.
However the dove is fat and happy.
Meanwhile the ground hog insists on eating our expensive native grasses and Golden rods – not surprising I guess!
But my new GoPro camera, on a head mount, records the happy parts in exquisite detail. This following long video is an edited version of yesterday’s very fast 47 minute run around the Water Street Wild Life Loop. I’m embarrassed about the spills: the trail was not stiffly frozen and the snow beside it, which used to be as light as smoke, is now heavier and readily grabs an errant ski, with unfortunate results for the unwary.
Water Street Wildlife Trail. 20 mins.