Balsamea Winter: daily walking snowshoe paths

These photos from March 26, 2013 are samples of Balsamea’s snowshoeing paths just before the big thaw.  This is a taste of the blessing of Balsamea that Buddy and I walk through three times every day, all year, in all weather, day and night, without fail.

20130326-Snow-Paths-10

20130326-Snow-Paths-02In many places the snow is still as much as 18 inches deep (hole to the left), placing the floor of the path (right) at about one foot above the ground.  That is very densely packed snow, from months of accumulations and walking on it.  Usually it begins turning to treacherous ice this time of year, and I rely on strap-on ice cleats.  So far icing has not happened.  It seems we will have a short ice spell, if any.

If my Uncle Jimmy were here, he would say, “Eat your heart out.”

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Wind Slayer – Scribblement 20130223

20130223.  A nice date brought to you by 0, 1, 2 and 3.
Congratulations to all of today’s newborns.

WARNING:  This blog is for my entertainment more than yours, including the parts that you contribute.  Apparent indications to the contrary should be viewed another way.

NOTICE:  You are reading the blog of
The Conqueror of the West-Northwest Wind.

colorful weather map

I enjoy clearing snow, but not when it is solely to remove drifts, without the benefits of fresh, significant snowfall.  In this context, the Balsamea Dictionary 8th Edition defines “significant” as at least four inches of snow within twelve hours, preferably at least once per week from Pearl Harbor Day to Saint Patrick’s Day.

Lately we’ve had more snow accumulation by drifting than falling.  It is an annoying pattern where one or two inches of snowfall gives you up to a foot of drifted accumulation in all the wrong places, and it keeps happening for a stretch of contiguous days, including days when there is no snowFALL, just snowBLOW.

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Winter Views Part B

No comment from me.  Aren’t you glad?

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Winter Wonderland

I shot these pictures today, 12/25/2012.  I have better winter pictures from February 2012, coming soon to a blog scribblement near you, but today I wanted to share pictures taken today.

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This has nothing to do with Christmas, but boy-oh-boy if you are into Christmas, in my part of the world the sky and the snow are performing just as Bing Crosby dreamed for on Christmas.

"Yo!  Tannenbaum!" German Tanne (fir) + Baum (tree).

“Yo! Tannenbaum!” German Tanne (fir) + Baum (tree).

For our nightly walk this most celebrated day of the year, in a brisk thirteen degrees (no problem when walking briskly, unless into a stiff headwind, then you have nose issues, but we were in dense forest cover with NO wind tonight) we had the “perfect storm” of combined crystal-clear sky, moon nearing full, and Jupiter parked a finger’s width from the moon, yet blazing its strong light right through the moon’s white-out drowning of all other stars near it.  I wondered what could be so bright?  Is there a kid being born by autogenesis in a manger somewhere?  Should I pack up some balsam incense and head east?

Since Rudolph’s nose isn’t white, and the light was not moving, I decided to check with StarDate, who told me it was a special presentation of Jupiter.  Just the gods playing around in the sky, as ever.  Orion was swashing his buckle just below the moon, also standing out against that moon-washed sky of few visible stars.

The timing was great, too.  The moon was not far from apex just when we set out for the walk, around 8:10 PM.  That makes the light pierce down through the trees with less shadow and more light hitting the snow.

We have a complete snow cover that developed slowly over a period of three days, totaling about four inches accumulation.  With temperatures staying low, the snow is staying put, and still sticking in billows to not only the balsam fir boughs, but to the upper surfaces of many maple and beech tree branches that don’t get hit by a lot of wind and/or sun.  I love the way it puts a white lining on the branches that are otherwise just sticks all winter (unless glazed in ice).

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Way – Scribblement 20121222

Saturday, December 22, 2012.  The second day of winter.  I meant to write something yesterday, to celebrate winter solstice, but I exhausted myself out in the woods being The Balsamean, celebrating for real, not just on paper.  Er … I mean, in pixels.  (That’s trite, isn’t it?)

If ever I lose the ability to walk in the woods as much as I do, maybe I would use the time to write a book (about what, I have no idea).  Unfortunately, most of my best inspiration arises while walking in the woods, the flow of creativity juices increasing proportionate to the time spent walking.  No walking, no writing.

Here on the second day of Winter 2012-13, finally we have some genuine winter weather.  On our morning walk, we had a beautiful 25 degrees and steadily falling snow, adding to the half-melted and re-frozen crunch-bed of snow underfoot.

Viewed from the window in front of me as I scribble, the snow is not falling so much as driven horizontally by strong winds roaring in from the west.  Deep in the woods, where the wind lives mainly in the treetops, the snow floated peacefully down to me during our morning walk.  (By the way, proper making of scribblements at Balsamea is with a window in front of you, if not outdoors.)

This morning, in addition to meandering through some passes and paths, Buddy took me on our usual walk around Balsamea’s perimeter trails.  He tends to want to go clockwise, beginning on Balsamea Way, to the west terminus of Stumpy Way, then Stumpy to the northeast half of Kiefer Loop, then across the east side of Beech Loop, around the southeast corner of Birdsong Loop, and back to the house via Whitetail Way.  Today we also ambled through part of Aranyaka Maze.  We walked about half of the entire trail network.

I cleaned yesterday’s crusty, icy accumulation off all the fireplace and woodpile covers.  This is a routine activity on every walk after snow.  We have large rock fireplaces (that’s large fireplaces made with large rocks) at five locations: Camp Balsamea, Turkeyfoot, Tettegouche, Silviden and Kieferhaven.  This year I made permanent covers for the fireplaces, to keep snow and ice out of them (I use all of them year-round).

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