Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Arctic Cold And The Frost Line

frost line depth map New YorkWinter seems to have come early to the Adirondacks, as below zero temperatures and periodic bouts of measureable snowfall have been a part of our weather pattern since the last few weeks of November. The arctic air that has regularly swept across the region has made a sizeable dent in everyone’s wood pile, placed a strain on car batteries and forced many to wear Christmas sweaters on a daily basis.

The intense cold has also pushed the frost line down in numerous spots, which greatly impacts the existence of those creatures that attempt to survive this season by burrowing into the soil. It is difficult to determine how deep the frost line has advanced, as this critical feature of the winter environment varies greatly from one spot to another. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 23, 2013

LG Porous Pavement Project Update

Map shows Beach Road area at the south end of Lake George.The recent round of snow, ice and rain has provided a good opportunity to see the winter performance of the porous pavement used at the newly reconstructed Beach Road, on  Lake George. In the last few days we’ve seen lots of black ice and freezing rain, but the porous pavement has been clear.

This road project is one of the biggest experiments in the northeast in stormwater management, but many also believed it will provide better winter driving conditions too. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Ed Kanze: The Strange Case of The Frozen Frogs

ed_kanze_frogThis is a story of fire and ice in which the ice comes first. Two frogs are found by a class of school kids, the amphibians frozen in the ice covering a pond.

Were the frogs alive, and if so, what came of them? Listen here as I tell a tale of joy, sorrow, and irony in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DEC Advisory: Winter Conditions In The Adirondacks

DSCN5129The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued an advisory today reporting that the recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry.  Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.

Snow depths range from 8 – 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the western and southwestern Adirondacks and the thinner depths in the northeastern section. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter Wildlife: Snow Fleas

snowflea_fcps_edu3003They aren’t fleas and they’re not especially fond of snow, but other than that, snow fleas are aptly named.

On a sunny winter day you may notice tiny, dark flecks bouncing on the snow, often concentrated near the bases of trees or collecting in footprints and other indentations. While snow fleas are the size of actual fleas, don’t worry about infestation — they’re not interested in either you or your pets (please don’t take that personally). Try not to step on them, as they’ve given us the means to improve both organ transplantation and ice cream. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How Warm-Blooded Animals Stay Warm

geese on iceMy favorite season tends to be whatever comes next, which means, for now, deep winter. With our storm windows installed and four tons of wood pellets put up, I’m feeling smug as the ant in Aesop’s fable. But what about the furred and feathered creatures out there in the cold?

When I imagine a Canada goose on an icy pond, or a white tail knee deep in the white stuff, it makes me shiver and wonder: How do warm-blooded animals stay warm? » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Birds This Winter: The American Goldfinch

447px-American_goldfinch_winter_fNoting what visitors appear at a bird feeder in winter can provide some revealing information on the status of the local populations of the feathered creatures hardy enough to remain in the Adirondacks after cold weather becomes established. Aside from the regular flocks of black-capped chickadees, a pair or two of red-breasted nuthatches and blue jays, there may be juncos, redpolls, evening grosbeaks, pine siskins, purple finches and other closely related seed eaters.

This year, at least around my house in Saranac Lake, there has been a healthy number of American goldfinches, which is not surprising considering this past summer’s weather. From mid May through the first week in July, record setting rains soaked the region, and cool temperatures made conditions difficult for birds attempting to incubate eggs and care for a nest full of recently hatched offspring. However, after the 4th of July, the weather improved substantially. Bright skies, warm temperatures and moist soil created ideal growing conditions for plants, which was noted by people who attempted to keep their lawn properly mowed, individuals who maintained flower and vegetable gardens, and those souls that enjoyed harvesting our crops of wild berries. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 2, 2013

When Is It Winter Camping?

P1060646Winter is associated with migration, hibernation, changes in animal behavior, plants becoming dormant, and humans experiencing special health concerns ranging from hypothermia to seasonal depression. Winter even invokes its own special vocabularies to describe the conditions (e.g. black ice, whiteouts, and corn snow).

Descriptions of winter camping depend on geographic location, opportunities to go camping and desire to impress your friends and relatives. There are groups from northern Canada to the Ozarks that claim winter camping experience, although I am sure their conditions and experiences are greatly different.

How you define winter camping might depend on your definition of ‘winter’. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cabin Life: The Escapee Chickens

Whitey and MidgetThe chickens have become escape artists.  I don’t know how they figured out the elaborate trap of chicken wire and plastic that comprises the door to the run, but they’ve managed to get out for two days straight.

I don’t mind letting them roam around when I’m around.  But as the weather gets colder and the predators get more desperate for calories, I’m thinking that the door to the run may have to be reconfigured.  It’s sad to admit, but my half-assed door can’t even contain a bunch of literal bird brains.

It is nice to see them out and about in the yard though.  They have thoroughly picked over the spots where the run had been, and have even seem to have found some food left over in those spots.  I like seeing them come running up to the front door when I walk out, or see them flying for twenty or thirty feet.  They appear to be happy and content, and their tail feathers are sticking up higher than ever.  I’m not sure how much I should read into the angle of their feathers, but I heard somewhere that if their tail feathers are up, then they’re happy. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Amy Ivy: The Last of the Fall Chores


unnamedWe had such a long spell of nice weather this fall that I should have no excuse for not having gotten all my fall outdoor chores finished by now. But I suspect I’m not the only one with a few more to-do items on my list. Here are some tips and suggestions:

We are at the very end of the limit for getting spring flowering bulbs planted. Check your sheds and closets for any lingering bulbs that you bought earlier but still haven’t gotten in the ground. I have a little more garlic to plant as well. It’s late, but I’m optimistic the bulbs will have time to root in before winter. Dig up any tender bulbs that can’t survive the winter. This includes gladioulus, canna lilies and dahlias. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cabin Life: Wrestling With The Dark

Recycled CandlesI currently have twelve independent fires going inside of my cabin.  The one scented candle is making the mixture of burning candles, lamp oil, and spiced apple almost pleasant. Almost.

This time of year is the roughest, psychologically, out here.  When the sun starts to dip before most people eat dinner, it’s tough for me to stay positive.  Especially on a day like today, when it was overcast all day and never really that bright out, the night seems just about unbearably long. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cabin Life: The Rain Barrel

First SnowThe snow is falling quickly and quietly outside.  I have a nice fire and a glass of bourbon to keep me warm and dry though, so all is right with my little world.

I love the first real snow fall of the year.  Everything looks so clean and neat, and the world is quiet.  The birds aren’t making any noise, the few deer that took off running when I let Pico out hardly made a sound, and tree limbs are hanging low, heavy with fresh wet snow.

This is isn’t the first snow of the year, but it’s the first one that might stick and be around for a little while.  Every night before now that I’ve had a fire, I didn’t worry about keeping it going all night.  The new stove cranks out heat, especially when it’s loaded with the dead elm that my friend dropped off for me.  In fact, tonight will the first night that I’ve had a fire where I won’t be going to sleep with a few windows open. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Adirondack Amphibians: The Tadpoles of Winter

tadpolesFall is in full swing: foggy mornings, cold rains, and falling leaves. Time to talk about…tadpoles!? That’s right, while we may be accustomed to discussing tadpoles in spring and summer, they’re still around and they’re gearing up for winter.

Imagine your local pond. Under a slate gray autumn sky, the pond is mostly quiet. Only an occasional peep (called the “fall echo”) escapes from the reeds, where previously an amphibian chorus declared its presence. Yet despite the chill and silence, frog life continues. Most of the summer’s broods hopped onto land at least a month ago. Others will hibernate in the coming months as polliwogs.

So how do tadpoles “decide” when to change into frogs? And why do some of them stay in tadpole form all winter? » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Snow of the Season Falls

Whiteface Oct 24, 2013 (ORDA Photo)The first snow of this winter season has been reported across the Adirondack region. A band of lake effect moisture brought some snow to the higher elevations of the western and southern slopes of the Adirondacks and an Almanack reader on our Facebook page reported that as much as 2.5 inches fell near Old Forge today.

Flurries and minor accumulation were reported in the High Peaks, including at Whiteface.  Snow was also reported in Paul Smiths, Lake Placid, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Schroon Lake and into northern Warren County, including Warrensburg and at at Gore Mountain.  At least some flurries were reported in Malone and in Clinton County.  Considerable snow was expected in Lewis County and the Tug Hill region. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wildlife Preparing for Winter: The Garter Snake

Garter SnakeMigration is the seasonal movement of an animal population in response to changing environmental conditions. While birds are best known for employing this survival strategy to cope with winter, many other forms of wildlife also engage in some form of relocation during autumn to deal with prolonged bouts of cold and an absence of food. Among the migratory reptiles in the Adirondacks is an abundant and widespread snake familiar to anyone that spends time outdoors – the garter snake.

As daylight wanes and the temperatures cool, garter snakes begin to travel to various sites that afford protection from the intense cold that settles over our mountainous region in winter. Typically, garter snakes rely on specific crevices that extend deep into a rocky outcropping situated on a south-facing slope. Also, garter snakes are known to utilize selected abandoned woodchuck, fox or skunk dens that exist deep enough into a hillside to get near or below the frost line. » Continue Reading.



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