You would have to be like an Ostrich that hides its head in the sand not to have heard or seen what is happening to the democratic country of Ukraine. The invasion of the Russian army was done under the orders of their leader, President Putin, to take over this country (which did nothing to provoke this attack.) So far, Ukraine has held their ground and kept the Russians from taking over any major cities or toppling their government. Over three million residents have fled the country to the west into Poland, Hungary, and other neighbors to the west with nothing but the clothes on their backs. If you just listen to Fox News and former President Trump (both who have given praise to what President Putin has done), you need to watch a different channel. My prayers go out to the army and the people of Ukraine who are defending their country and their homes.
On a brighter note, one of my amaryllis has its last bloom. This bloom is from one of the three bulbs that I planted in the garden for the summer. I dug up these bulbs when I put the garden to bed, cut off all the green leaves and put them in a cool place in the cellar for over a month. I repotted them just before Christmas and two of the three produced tall shoots with four blooms on each. You could try the same thing if you have an amaryllis that now just has big green leaves.
If you have been south from Old Forge, you couldn’t have missed the ice jam both above and below the McKeever Bridge. I took some photos on Thursday (Feb. 24) and met the owner of the house that is right in the middle of the jam below the bridge. He said the water was going right down the road in front of his house between the snowbanks for about a quarter mile before it broke back through the bank into the river again. Right now, the water is running under the jam some place and popping back out downstream. It would have been a real mess, had there been logs in the river (like I mentioned last week) and if they made it that far. It might even have plugged that high bridge or taken out the telephone lines that go across above the bridge.
There were other jams in other rivers, including one in the Sacandaga River down by Hope which flooded the highway and trapped one vehicle. It also stranded a few homes as the water backed up outside the river channel around them. Forest Rangers checked on these folks with the air boat to see how they were doing. The temperatures that day again went from in the forties to below zero before dark, which slowed the runoff and froze things tight in my yard before daylight the next day. The culverts didn’t freeze full of ice this time, so they can take the next runoff. I do have heat tapes going through all my culverts that I can plug in and thaw a hole through to get the water started again if they freeze solid. So far in the 22 years we have lived here, I’ve only had to do that once in just one culvert.
The ten inches of snow we got on Friday (Feb. 25) saved the weekend events planned for Inlet and covered the snowmobile and cross-country skiing trails for another weekend. There were washouts and ice coating on many of the trails, but most were usable. Inlet’s Frozen Fire and Lights celebrated its 20th year with a new event, the Outhouse Races on Fourth Lake. The cardboard sled races took place at Fern Park. There were some exciting spills, but everyone got to cross the finish line. I never found out who won, but a couple of cardboard sleds went right into the crowd gathered at the bottom of the hill, taking a few folks by surprise and right off their feet. There were several skaters in the covered pavilion, as the freezing weather saved the ice rink for another week.
From there, I went down to Fourth Lake in front of The Woods Inn where the American Kite Fliers Association already had several of their big kites flying. You did not have to worry about enough wind to keep them up as there was a strong freezing wind blowing out of the southwest along with a few snow squalls. The kids came out with the little white kites they had made inside and soon the air was full of kites. You didn’t have to run to get them in the air, all you had to do was to let out some string and they were airborne. Many kids (and even some adults who had never flown a kite) had one in the air…I think they are hooked on kite flying. Right next to the kite flying area was the track for the Outhouse Races. It was cold, so visitors to these little outhouses didn’t sit too long.
There were five contestants, Sh*ts and Giggles by Manzi Construction, Maple Moss by local maple syrup maker Eric Sutherland, Royal Throne by Karl and Jill Marsh owners of The Caboose in Inlet, Code Brown by Scott McClary from Eagle Bay, and last was a walk-on prefabricated outhouse built onsite by the Explorer Boy Scouts. There was a frigid wind blowing and no one wanted to have to sit in the open-air outhouse too long. Three heats were run, and the Boy Scouts’ outhouse broke apart right off the starting line, so someone wasn’t prepared and forgot a nail or bolt somewhere.
Maple Moss forced the Royal Throne into the crowd to win their heat. Sh*ts and Giggles beat Code Brown, but it was as close as a sheet of toilet paper at the finish line. In the final heat, Sh*ts and Giggles (with Julie Manzi piloting) ran away with it. I think someone must have put maple syrup on the skis of Maple Moss which really slowed them down. It was a fun time for this new event with more than 100 spectators freezing their butts off out on the ice. Ice anglers had to be a hardy bunch this winter, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo at top: Inlet’s 20th Frozen Fire and Lights featured a fun new event, outhouse races. Pictured: Contestants, Sh*ts and Giggles by Manzi Construction, during their victory run. Photo by Gary Lee.