Saturday, 24 February 2018

Winter in retreat

It is late February and the back of winter seems broken. The snow is retreating and low areas have become temporary streams and ponds.
 Scylla hesitates to cross the temporary waterway in the low point of our field
Railway Creek pretty much fills all the available space with its huge volume of snow melt

The aspens will have their roots submerged for the next couple months until  warm (and drying) weather arrives

The thermometer reads 6C with nighttime lows falling below freezing. The conditions for making maple syrup have arrived! Scylla and I decide to take a walk to see if Ivan has tapped his trees. Yes, of course he has, using both repurposed cans and classic maple syrup sap buckets.

 Repurposed cans catching maple sap
This nice old tree is big enough to take two buckets, one on each side of the trunk

 The classic maple syrup sap buckets
I've included a little video of the sap dripping into the bucket. This morning when it was a little colder it seemed like the sap was dripping at a rate of one drop per second. A little warmer in the mid afternoon and it seems to be flowing slightly faster. Since the ratio of maple sap to syrup is 40:1 it is a reminder of how precious this northern treat really is!

Once through his sugar bush we carry on across swollen Railway Creek and make our way out to the road. We emerge from the trail to hear a man saying "Get out of here, you little bugger." Always a little unsure of country etiquette and property boundaries, we prepare to make a hasty retreat to the cover of the woods. Just then our detractor starts laughing and explains he has just seen us. He was actually addressing the nervy chipmunk who tried to come into his house when he opened the door.

So with a green light to carry on we walk along this dead end road until it comes out onto a county road. The sides of the road are lined with beautiful rock profiles exposed when the road was built. A reminder that we are at the edge of the Canadian Shield.
 Many of the rock faces seem chiseled or split almost like in the making of old slate tiles

 The rock face here is split into many faces and also more three dimensional

 A little spruce has seeded itself and taken root in the accumulated humus  on the rock shelf.
 The rocks here have much bigger faces and the layers are clearly diagonal 
Here there are huge chunks almost cantilevered over the shoulder of the road 
As we continue homeward a temporary pond spills over the rock face in a little waterfall and makes its way east under the road.

As the water continues it sculpts a wonderfully serpentine creek.

Back home we marvel at the exposed byways of small rodents who have spent the winter under the cover of the snow.

A pair of ruffed grouse (grice?? hmm) have appeared at our feeder. I often hear them as I ski by the hedge row but this is the first time we have seen them out in the open, both in the tree at the feeder and feasting on the fallen seed on the snow.

1 comment:

  1. So wonderful to see these pics!!! Makes me miss this land so much! And more than anything makes me wish I was tappin' trees!!! The lines on the rock faces you captured so well here point in the direction that the glacier was advancing as it scraped across the landscape ("ablation"). xoxox