Sunday, November 10, 2013

Freeze-Up - Part 1

We woke up this morning to a landscape cloaked in dense fog. I'm writing upstairs in my office this morning, the temperature (inside) is 55 F and I am nestled under a warm blanket, dressed in a down jacket and lightweight hat, and fingerless gloves.  The state snow plow truck has been by already this morning.  It moved through slowly with great noise, scraping sounds across the highway could be heard quite a while before the truck passed our house.   I went in to "town" this week for a few days and while I was gone the temperature dropped significantly.When I left on Tuesday morning it was 23 F, by early Friday morning it was -15 F.  A thin layer of snow has fallen and leaves, grass, and twigs stick out across the ground.  Fall still feels so close, and yet so far away.  Freeze-Up has begun.


1: a freezing over of a body of water esp. when marking the onset of winter 
2: a period during which the bodies of water in an area are frozen over

The Steps to Freeze-Up
1. Frazil Ice: Ice crystals form and mix with river water forming a slush.
2. Pancake Ice: Sheets of frazil ice cluster together and form "pancakes" of ice that float like rafts down the river, bumping into other pancake rafts, creating rough edges along the pancakes boarders.
3. Boarder Ice: Solid ice that forms as the temperature drops, the water at the rivers edge freezes first creating a frozen boarder framing in the river.  
This is as far as we have made it in the "freeze-up" process, but the next two phases: freeze-up ice and sheet ice, should be here any day now.

4. Freeze-Up Ice
 5. Sheet Ice
 6. Candle Ice
 7. Break-Up Ice
Ice forming in sections of the river has changed the river and we now have 
rushing rapids where previously calm waters meandered down the river.  

The dip in the temperatures has put a little fire under our behinds, in terms of getting our furnace up and running.  Currently we are heating the house with the main floor kitchen wood cook stove (8 burner, with an oven), a U.S. Army model from 1950, made in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. 

Hot cocoa parties follow any outdoor activity and we have finally managed to get around to watching DVD's we'd never even opened before we moved here. We opted not to have cable for a number of reasons when we moved out here, thus far I am not regretting that decision one bit, but it's not February either.
The forecast for the week suggests reasons to be hopeful: let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  I bruised my tail bone being a bad dumb ass, a few weeks ago when we had a thin covering of snow and an ample amount of rocks were not covered, thus obstructing the sledding path.  As a result I have been a little more cautious and am considering strapping a pillow to my behind next time I feel the urge to do something fun stupid.  A subtle reminder that I am not in my twenties anymore.  

"The snow doesn't give a soft white damn 
who it touches." - E.E. Cummings 

What are you favorite wintertime traditions? 

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Mt. Sanford at the Chistochina River, 16,237 ele. 
Mt. Drum at the Chistochina River - 12,011 ele.
Mt. Sanford sunset taken from the deck off the third floor, 
looking out across the icicles dangling on the roof.
A quick pit stop on the drive to town.
Taken at the rivers edge, 11/09/13