Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Life

Bear Lake in January is a black and white photo.   What little light there is comes in just over the southern horizon and the combination of spruce forest shadow and almost oppressive white of the snow seems to extract all but the brightest colors, a skiers red anorak, a yellow school bus, the orange snow machine.
At first look, one might think the lake and its shore is deserted, abandoned by the wildlife of summer.   Some are gone, but others have moved in or stay year round.  A flock of ptarmigan have taken lease on the willows along the shoreline.   They leave their trails in the snow as they work through the willows eating buds and perhaps bark.   They are hard to spot, for they are literally white as snow with only black eyes and a flash of black at the tail when they fly.   Spot one, then keep looking and slowly others appear when your eyes adjust to see them well-disguised against the snow.  We also have a moose hanging around; a male with one antler jauntily angling off one side of his head. T hree dogs tied in the yard do not deter him from browsing the willows between the house and the lake.  He uses the snowmachine trails and groomed ski trails to shop the pickings along the lake shore, often taking his midday nap out in the open on the lake's blanket of snow.

After last week's two feet of snow we have been busy with 'snow management".  As much as we like snow too much of anything is a pain, in this case a pain in the shoulders and lower back.  Some berms are over our heads and the trails from pole shed to dog lot and woodshed grow narrow.  The forecast for the next week or more is for cold and windy.  before long, we will be wishing for more snow.    

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