Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Third Inch - A Snow Day

I’m talking about receiving the third inch of snowfall for this winter season.  A fast moving system came through yesterday morning and delivered the half inch of snow needed to bring us up to the three inch mark.  Temperatures stayed around 32 degrees, so the snow was wet and stuck to whatever it touched.  There was just enough to change the appearance of the landscape and put a highlight on certain features, like the mowed trails that leave the yard area.  It was also enough snow to cancel any plans I had for mowing or clearing activities.

It was bad enough that the snow stopped me from working, but then it went on to highlight some of the things I still have to accomplish.  A cap of snow identified each Teasel seed head in the field.  Teasel is one of those invasive plants that I need to get under control.  Fortunately, Teasel numbers are negligible in most areas.  This just happens to be the most prominent patch.

Indian Grass is still standing tall and straight.  It takes either a heavy snow or hurricane force winds to bring this grass to the ground.  The Indian Grass stands have been full of sparrows all winter.  The sparrows spend a lot of time on the ground searching for the grass seed that fell to earth a few months ago.

Big Bluestem doesn’t have the strength or durability displayed by the Indian Grass.  In this mixed stand, much of the Big Bluestem has fallen over.  A few inches of wet snow will take it all down.  I see a lot less sparrow activity in the Big Bluestem areas.

Wet snow really enhances your ability to see individual tree branches in the woods.  The dark of the wet wood makes a beautiful contrast to the bright white snow.  The effect changes a tangle into a collection of individual parts.  It reminds me of my early days with coloring books.  I would trace the lines with my black crayon before filling in the colors.  I liked the contrast and the stained glass window effect.

Temperature of the creek water doesn’t change very rapidly.  However, my perception of the water’s temperature does go through some erratic fluctuations.  I walked past this spot the day before the snow and because of the bright sunlight, my impression was of a cool water stream.  When I see the gray sky and watch the water flowing between snowy banks, I get the sense of a frigid creek.  Fortunately for the creek creatures, their environment doesn’t change as often as my mood.

The snow has only been on the ground for a couple of hours, but the turkeys have already scratched it up in their search for food. I wonder if I could instill in them a golfer’s etiquette and get them to replace their divots.

Their search must have been unsatisfying, because they formed a single file line and hurried up to the yard to scrounge beneath the feeders.  I followed their trail back to the house, a distance of about 1,000 feet and noticed that none strayed from the column during the journey.  By the time I made it to the yard, they had eaten and moved on.

The day never got any brighter, but the snow ended by late morning and had melted away before the end of the day.  Hopefully we can now cycle back into some sunny weather.


  1. I think you wouldn't really want those turkeys to cover up their divots. Those might be providing germination opportunities for seeds too small to attract the turkeys' attention, but which had been waiting to get uncovered so they could sense the light of spring days.

  2. Hi James. It would be nice if it worked like that. I'd have a whole woods full of new plants.