Sunday, October 23, 2011

First Official Frost

I went outside yesterday morning to find a good coating of frost covering the landscape. A little touch of ice adds a bit of beauty to just about everything, except roads and electric lines.

This is actually the second frost we’ve had at Blue Jay Barrens this fall. The first occurred on October 2 and put a nice coating of ice across the lawn. It just didn’t meet my criteria for a legitimate first frost, because it failed to kill even one leaf on my unprotected tomato plants. This is what yesterday’s frost did and that gains it the distinction of being the first official frost of Fall 2011.

Most of the goldenrods were already on their way to turning brown. This frost put an end to any that were trying to hold on to a bit of yellow.

The frost disappeared quickly when touched by the rising sun. The stand of Indian Grass gave little shivers as the ice turned to water and dripped from the seed heads. I also gave an occasional little shiver. I rushed outside to get some frost shots before everything melted away and didn’t bother to change into more substantial footwear. My old tennis shoes are so worn that they are more like house slippers and they definitely don’t protect your feet from the chill of frosty grass.

The melting frost turned quickly to fog. It only took a couple of minutes to reduce unlimited visibility down to about 100 feet. I’m glad I wasn’t trying to land a plane here.

No ants moving this morning. I’m sure activity on the mound will resume as soon as the sun gets a little higher in the sky.

Frost didn’t stop the sparrows from feeding on Indian Grass Seeds. These Field Sparrows took to the Dogwoods as I walked by, but they quickly returned to the grass upon my departure.


  1. I'm new to your site so I don't know the ongoing ant story...what kind of ants and how big is the mound??

  2. Your frost shots are just beautiful! Lovely.

  3. Hi Jeff. The mound belongs to the Allegheny Mound Ants and is a small one of about 16 inches across. If you choose Ant Mound from the label list in the sidebar, it will take you to earlier posts about these mounds.

    Thanks Dawn.

    Thanks Lois.

  4. I have a bit of ant envy, as I find the Allegheny mound ant particularly attractive and interesting. We're just barely beyond (40 miles-ish) of the nearest occurrence of this particular species to the north. Of course, we have some nice ones that aren't there at Blue Jay Barrens, too, but with less spectacular nesting habits.

  5. Hi James. I agree that the Allegheny Mound Ants are some pretty fascinating creatures. I can't imagine what the prairies here would be like without them. They interact with everything within their reach and I imagine they can contribute significantly to shaping the prairie ecosystem.