This week stayed more like winter…or at least the ground was white. I did blow out the driveway a couple times, but after the first snowstorm there was nothing but a misty rain the following day which froze [and created] a sharp crust on the snow that night. I had a couple runs to Utica this week and one day it was 33 degrees the whole way with light rain but when I got to Deerfield Hill it was a whiteout. Then going down the other side I could see all of Utica. Coming home that night it was the same [temperature] (33 degrees) and light rain until I hit Old Forge. Then it went [down] to 29 degrees and [I had] an instant freeze on my windshield at the top of the summit. I’m glad it wasn’t that way all the way home.
Inlet’s Frozen Fire & Lights a snowy success despite lack of wind
Well, we had our sixth January thaw this week as the temperature got up to 51 [degrees] on Tuesday [Feb. 21] and 49 [degrees] on Wednesday [Feb. 22.] [The temperature] dipped down, so it could snow Thursday [Feb. 23] morning about six inches. Then the temperature went up all day, and hovered right around freezing. When Karen came home from the library, it was 28 degrees and raining which put a razor-sharp crust on what snow we had. Then it zipped down below zero and didn’t get much above zero all day Friday [Feb. 24]. We got a couple more inches of snow and then right during Inlet’s Frozen Fire & Lights activities it snowed more, but not a wisp of wind for the kite fliers [on] Saturday afternoon [Feb. 25].
Remembering the Atomic Project, and the hydrochloric acid incident of 1956
More spring-like weather this week, [with] temperatures up to 51 [degrees] on Wednesday, [February 15], and I had a Red Wing Blackbird at the feeder. Then it was up to 49 [degrees] on Thursday, [February 16] with some rain and snow late in the day. Friday, [February 17] I went to Utica and the temperature was 35 [degrees] all the way down, with wet snow falling. [I] got my truck serviced and headed home and it was still 35 degrees there, but went down to 22 [degrees] by the time I hit Old Forge. [There was] no rain or snow [at the time], just a trace overnight, but the temperature zipped down to 10 [degrees]. That brought the Evening Grosbeaks into the feeder that morning and I banded eight before we went to the Chili Bowl [Luncheon] at View.
Free Fishing Days this weekend, ice anglers enjoying atypical winter
This week was a February thaw most of the time, with rain and wet snow. Then Friday night [Feb. 10] we did get two inches of nice snow to start the weekend…and Old Forge’s Winter Carnival. About the only time I got outside was to feed the birds and get the mail, as the ankle is still not up to par. The cold I had, I passed on to Karen and so far, we have both survived it. Got tested for Covid and strep throat, had neither…just a good, old fashioned cold. Alka-Seltzer, cough drops, and many naps for the cure.
Looking Back to a Simpler Time: Being Paid with Food, Gardening & Camping
So many big nature-related events happened this week, it will be hard to fit them all in. Most of you suffered through the two-day, one-night super freeze and way below zero windchill factor that would freeze any exposed skin in a matter of minutes. We had -27 here at Eight Acre Wood that morning and the birds at the feeder were sitting on their feet to keep them warm. [We had] 75 Evening Grosbeaks that morning, and the single White-Throated Sparrow was the first at the feeders, he even ate with the grosbeaks all around him.
My daughter, Erin, called me on Saturday, [Feb. 4] at quarter to three from the front porch [of her condo] in Myrtle Beach to say they just shot down the weather balloon. Photos coming via the internet. Well, I couldn’t have gotten that any sooner on the national news. They had been watching it for quite a while behind the building and then over the ocean where four jets had been all around it. Then one shot it down with a rocket. Now when she walks the beach, she will be looking for balloon parts, not shark’s teeth.
Born with a gun in one hand and a fishing pole in the other, remembering Brother Bob
Winter just doesn’t want to happen this year. We get a little good snow for skiing and then it rains on top. This makes a hard crust and [doesn’t allow for] much control on cross-country skis unless you have steel edges, as some do. I never had any, mine are just no wax, but I still rub a candle on mine. I once went up for in-service training at Whiteface Mountain for telemark training. I only had one pair of skis, the same pair I still have with no edges and toe bindings.
Spring-Like Weather Confuses Birds, 2023 Duck Count Results
The inch of snow we got here was just about enough to cover the ground. With all the rain we had before the snow, it sure made for an icy mix out in the woods to walk on. I found out the hard way, as I was out back on the ski trail cutting beech stubs that I left last winter…cutting them in deep snow. While walking back in, I took a slip down a little hill and rolled over my right ankle, which hurt pretty bad. I [was] a mile from the house and I said to myself, “This is going to be a long mile walk.” I got to the house just before Karen came home. We put ice on it until I went to bed, and it only swelled a little…but still not good.
Follow that Quacking: Observing 75 Mallards and one Black Duck in Inlet
Things at Eight Acre Wood look about the same as they did last week, with only an inch of new snow to make the landscape white. That shows the critters who have been wandering around the yard. [Some of these include] several deer, a coyote, a fisher, a mink, an otter, a snowshoe hare, one turkey, several varieties of mice, a pine marten, a couple red squirrels, a flying squirrel, ravens, crows, and a Bald Eagle stopped by for a snack on the dam. Most of them also got caught on one of my trail cameras, as many of them are night travelers. In all my hikes, I thought I might even see a bear track, but I guess they are smarter than that. There is nothing for them to eat right now, so they better stay napping.
Bizarre weather, clearing debris from trails, and banding over 175 Evening Grosbeaks
Still no winter weather in sight. [There is a] combination of rain and snow in the forecast during the next week, so the snow dancers better get back in action. Out west, California is getting hammered for the last two weeks and more [is] coming today (January 9). Five inches of rain [is] forecast across most of the state, with four to five feet of snow in the mountains…they just can’t get a break. They had lots of flooding from the first two storms, and now this one on top will cause mudslides from areas bare from the forest fires.
Legion of nutcrackers take a long winter’s nap, juvenile loon freed from Fourth Lake ice
Our New Year’s weekend was a washout for sure, with rain and warmer temperatures taking a toll on what snow we had. What I see out my front window is mostly bare ground where there was over 18 inches of snow a week ago. I had a fisher and a coyote visit the deer carcass on the dam during daylight hours, which meant they were hungry. There were four Ravens and a pair of Bald Eagles waiting their turn in the treetops on the other side of the pond. Now that the snow is nearly gone, I haven’t seen any of them. I still have over fifty Evening Grosbeaks coming daily to the feeders, and the two White-Throated Sparrows are still sneaking seeds and hiding in the brush pile. There are still some new Black-Capped Chickadees coming to the feeders as I’ve banded almost twenty hatch-year birds in the last two weeks.
Looking back at first days as a Ranger, keeping feeders stocked for over 50 Evening Grosbeaks
The first day of winter was very nice, but the next few days right through (and past) Christmas Day were wild in many parts of the country. The worst being right in our backyard in Buffalo where the snow is still falling and the wind [is] still blowing off Lake Erie. [It has been] reported that 55 people have died so far [as of December 26] as a result of the storm, many found dead in their snow-trapped cars and some [were found] out on the streets frozen to death.
The quick change in temperature from in the forties down to below zero in just a few hours and winds up to (and over) 70 MPH off the lake brought the snowfall of over five feet in some places again, and drifts of over 16 feet. Many people didn’t heed the warnings and they had to get out and do that last minute Christmas shopping, which could have been their last trip. We missed most of that here in the North Country, but just north of us in the Tug Hill area they had over four feet of snow, and it is still falling there as of this writing [December 26.]
Assisting with loon rescues on First Lake, Brantingham Lake
You skiers and snowmobilers can stop praying for snow, because we have it. [Or at least,] enough to ski and snowmobile on. Looking at the temperatures [ahead,] the bottom is going to go out on the thermometer (except for one day [with temps in the] forties before Christmas with some rain.) [People are] paying more for heating fuel oil or propane, and I hear you can hardly even get kerosene. Not many people heat with kerosene anymore, but tractor trailer drivers cut their fuel with it to keep it from jelling in cold temperatures.
Another thing that must be jelling is some local septic tanks, as I see the Egan sewer pumper on the road around here most every day. If you just put a couple packets of yeast down the toilet when you leave it inactive for a few months (or even when you are using it regularly,) you shouldn’t have to call the pumper. The yeast keeps the system working perfectly. Mine hasn’t been pumped in 20 years of use. I heard that at the Fulton Chain of Lakes meeting thirty years ago, stated by a couple local sewer pumpers, Chip Sauer and Rick Hunkins. They had all the work they needed, and they were just trying to save some camp [owners] and homeowners a few bucks. The old wise tale was to throw in a road-killed cat or woodchuck to start the system working when you first put in your septic tank, but you don’t have to do that… just a packet of yeast will do the trick.
Graduation of 38 NYS Forest Rangers brings back memories of becoming a Ranger in 1965
We had a trickle of winter white, but we could use more. I believe the ground froze, as we had a few nights around twenty [degrees] before this little snowfall. Some loons forgot to leave, and three were frozen in First Lake yesterday [Sunday, December 11]. Two flew out during the day, and I have not heard about the other one. There were [also] a couple Bald Eagles keeping watch and waiting for a snack. Please remind your children to stay off the ice until we have some really cold weather [for the sake of their safety]. This on-and-off warm then cold weather hasn’t made the ice safe yet, so stay off [it] as a fall through the ice can be life threatening.
Reminiscing about the search and rescue of young Inlet hunter Charlie Mitchell
This up-and-down fall weather is not good for the little critters that live just under the snow searching for food. The rain comes and takes most of the snow away, the ground freezes, and leaves them without a home until the snow comes again. Most winters in this area, there is hardly ever frost in the ground when it is covered with snow. The year of the 1980 Olympics, we had a big washout just after Christmas which bared up the ground, [and] then [we had] a deep freeze for a few days.
There were a few natives who had waterlines just under the ground a few inches and they froze for the first time ever, with no snow cover to protect them. We [got] some snow, but up in the Lake Placid area they got no snow and had to make and move snow for the whole cross-country track…which was quite an effort. I remember going up to get our ID passes as Forest Rangers, and the ground was bare two weeks before the Olympics.
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Peeking at backyard wildlife: A flying squirrel and barred owl
The couple inches of snow on Friday night [March 10] got us through the weekend for Snofest. It looks like we might need a snowmobile to get around this week, if all the snow predictions come true. Looking at the weather map, they are getting much more to the south of us just like most of the storms this year…some went south of us, and some went north of us. I did see some skiers enjoying the new snow on the ski trail out back both Saturday and Sunday [March 11 and 12.] I could hear the snowmobiles going up the shoulder of the road out front while here at my computer.
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