It’s only the middle of February but the forecast is rain during two days of 11C and the next two weeks will have every day above freezing. I’d say that’s it for the snow and ice. Last weekend we had days of snow and I was quite handily snowed in. A heap of shoveling to breach the snowplow drift at the road and my all wheel drive finally got me out and off to town.
For pictures, the landscape is particularly colourless; white, gray, brown, black. So it was time for a farewell hike over the frozen beaver pond and a walk to the beaver lodge which will be unreachable again until next year’s freeze. The beavers are secure in their iron hard fortress walls which no hungry wolf or coyote can penetrate no matter how furiously they dig.
The beavers settled on the edge of the now long flooded over farm pond. This was smart planning for they use the pond to store their winter fodder of twigs and branches, many of which stick out above the ice. A walk on the ice reveals how many young ash trees the beavers have taken down. There are pointed stumps everywhere. They have also killed other large trees by gnawing at their bolls. An annoying waste if they are not going to fell the trees and use them. They say beavers move on when nearby resources are used up. These beavers have been gnawing for years with nary a sign of shifting their butts elsewhere.
In winter, it is odd to see the pond still and silent, bereft of the teeming bird life that fills it in the summer. The frogs and turtles are settled at the bottom. No dragonflies, no attacking mosquitoes. Only dead reeds and flattened swale. I looked for the swan’s nest but could not find it. However, life goes on. The snow is full of deer tracks and coyote tracks and the rabbits have been pretty active too, perhaps dodging the coyotes. Field mice hide in tunnels under the bushes. The trees at the edge sport squirrels now gamboling about with romance on their minds
There’s even a puzzle, a large circle of brown ice radiating from a frozen over hole in the centre. Large radiating cracks make me think of impact. A visitor from the sky? Perhaps I’ll take my axe back and see if I can dig up a meteorite before the big thaw swamps it all.
I wait for the red winged blackbirds and won’t be surprised to see the swan pair standing on the last of the ice any day now, eager to set up house again and get this year’s family started.