Saturday, December 23, 2023

A Christmas cactus, 23 turkeys, and a whole lotta rain

Blooming Christmas cactus.

Well, winter went away in a heartbeat as it poured all night last night and I battled running water all day today (December 18.) It had rained most of the night and I looked out at the pond just after breakfast and a wooden box was swirling around over the outlet of the pond. I quickly put on my boots and rushed down as water was running everywhere. As I went down, I saw that water was running out of the safety valve outlet ditch at full stream. I had only seen this once before when the outlet pipe got plugged.

Water was up three feet over the main outlet pipe, which was taking all the water it could handle. I couldn’t figure out how that much water was coming into the pond, as it had never done this before. I put a nail at the edge of the water to see if it was still rising. Water was rushing out the main outlet pipe in a full stream and about up to the top of the foot pipe safety valve. I came back inside to put on my rubber boots and looked out to see a new stream flowing across the ski trail bridge out back that I had only seen once before. There was as much water flowing there as [there] was coming in the regular pond inlet.


I went up the ski trail to the culvert that the intermittent stream flows through. That culvert was 90-percent plugged on the bottom end. I cleaned that out and a full foot tube of water rushed through, draining the pool above and cutting that supply of water that was going into the pond to nothing. Within an hour, the water went down nearly a foot and a half from the nail and the safety valve pipe was only running half full now…This was enough excitement for me today.


The water downstream headed for the golf course and Seventh Lake was coming up on the upside of Limekiln Road when I went down for the mail. I didn’t check later, but the tubes under the road were taking all the water they could. The tubes on Parkhurst Road were [also] taking all the water they could handle. It is a good thing they put in a bigger tube in one place a month ago, as the old one surely wouldn’t have taken this deluge.

Outlet of a pond

Outlet of the pond. Photo by Gary Lee.

I am sure [that as I check] back in the Plains, there will be some washouts as we had four-to-five inches of rain overnight…and it is still raining now. The weather man said it is going to change to snow overnight into the early morning. [However,] with no frost on the ground, that might not last very long. McCauley Mountain opened Saturday, and they may have gotten one day of skiing in as today was surely a washout. I guess you cannot plan on winter being winter anymore with these quick changes in temperature and precipitation. I saw a high of 45 [degrees] today and 51 [degrees] yesterday before the rain came.


The flock of twenty-three turkeys finally showed up on Project Feeder Watch Day. They missed coming last weekend and they waited until the last hour of daylight to come Sunday [of] this weekend. They had been here every day this week and nearly cleaned all the crab apples off my trees. They would have to do a balancing act when they got out to the small branches before they could hold on any longer and slip to the ground. They were knocking some apples off along the way, and some of their friends were picking these apples up as they hit the ground.


I did have a Titmouse a couple of days this week, but not over the weekend. The big Pileated Woodpecker was here drilling in my big balsam tree for ants. A year ago, he had made some holes in it a couple times before. Today, he made some big holes ten feet up the tree, leaving axe-size chips on the ground. Diane Bowes had a Winter Wren as she walked the trail along the outlet downstream from Big Moose Lake during the week. She said, “It’s a Winter Wren, so why couldn’t it stay around all winter?” I think he just forgot to go…or it’s a young one who has never made the trip south. I [saw] three Cedar Waxwings in the mountain ash tree in the Inlet Town Hall parking lot. They were fat and happy, and they certainly couldn’t eat all the berries on that tree.


My Christmas cactus is blooming right on time for Christmas. It had three blooms a month ago. Looking now, almost every plant leaf has a bud on the end, so it should bloom for a couple of weeks. Our great news for Christmas is that our granddaughter, Emily, and her husband, Kris, are expecting a little great-grand baby boy, Zenon Lee Peter-on, in May. So, our first great-grand baby, Milly, will have a baby brother to play with.


Getting that big bang theory the end of this month, with Christmas, then the full moon, and our granddaughter, Rachel’s, wedding, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Blooming Christmas cactus. Photo by Gary Lee.

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Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons. The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures a weekly blog. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, "Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds."

3 Responses

  1. David Hunkins says:

    Love your Adirondack slant in your wording. It makes me feel like belonging to my life of loving the world I was raised ….in Star Lake in the 40’s & 50’s!
    Just the best memories ever with my gal partner who was right to experience the same all those many years ago.
    Thanks for the wonderful story!

  2. Hugh O Canham says:

    So nice that your Christmas cactus is blooming. Mine had a nice flower on a few weeks ago and is now sprouting another one.

    A very merry Christmas to all

  3. Jeannete says:

    Thnx Gary, another great article! Happiness in the New Year, keep up the great writing!

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