Mud Lake in Summer

Mud Lake in Summer

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cold and Messy

 

The Christmas Storm of 16 brought alternating rain, sleet, and snow leaving a slight snow coat here trapped in ice.  The main roads are thawing out and getting more cleared, but lesser roads continue to be covered in icy snow.  One can get around just fine, but it is slippery in spots.

The area was sort of lucky in that it fell into holes in the storm several times.  This meant no big ice build and no big snow build.  Clearing the drive fools you a first as it seems the snow is thick, but you can only push a small layer on the top.

The ice warning required full storm preparedness from many.  Making sure the  heat would stay on was the big thing.  We did have a pretty good wind, but nothing like to the west and north, sop no blizzard warning.  North Dakota really got the brunt of that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Warmth Comes

 

Today warmed to 32F.  A really nice day with bright sun melting snow on the roads all day.  Big storm looms in the off stage for Sunday.  No one knows our true fate.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cold Snap!

 

The warm start of winter came to a crushing close over the weekend as temperatures dropped to –33.1 degrees F with a –44 degrees F wind chill.  It became much harder top work outside, but little was even attempted.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Light Snow

 

The winter continues to build with more light snow falling most of the day.  The bigger shift has been to below zero temperatures.  Winter is here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Snow Comes and Goes, Comes Again

 

The yard is again covered with snow.  A wet snow has been falling into air just above freezing for a day or so now.  This is wild weather for November.  The temperatures certainly are nice, but the precipitation type just is confusing.  The squirrels are still getting to the cleaned off feeders.  The food taken  seems low now.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Melting Some

The snow is slowly coming down the roof, but has been slowed by forecast failure again.  We were promise some sun and a few more degrees.  Nope!  Cloudy and misty all day.  Some dripage has begun, but with only two hours of light left, not much off the roof today.

With rain and snow in the forecast for next week, the snow blower has been repaired and awaits them finding time to deliver it home.  A rock got behind the impeler and looking and looking one just did not see the clear cut path to getting in there and getting it out.  For lucky, there were more expensive alternative in the way of things to be wrong.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Snow Cleanup

The 13 inches of snow is cleaning up fine.  It was very water logged and is taking more time than most normal snowfalls.  The piles from the road are about gone.  The sun is heating the blacktop surface and evaporating the remnants.  The squirrel food and bird seed area will emerge this afternoon. Business has slow there.  One squirrel yesterday tried a lot, but seemed to get stuck under the snow.

Trees 32 and 33 are out of the way in piles, but will await the Spring for clearance.  Everything is winterized and put away for dealing with them.  I am not sure the road to the wood pile at the transfer station is very winter passable, either.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Storm takes out two trees

 

The winter storm hitting NW Minnesota took down a dead tree and that tree took out a smaller one on the way down.  Snow fall is at 9 inches right now.  An early morning car accident just out on the road brought excitement, but luckily no one was injured.  The snow is to pile through the afternoon.

Meanwhile the squirrels are still out looking for sunflower seeds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Winter Cometh

Winter is how officially threatening to arrive.  While today was another nice day with temperatures touching 50, Thursday and Friday have alerts already for possible snow.  The storm is off some, so specifics are light, but here is one of the potential spots for some snow.  One forecast has 1-3 inches after 2/3rds of an inch of rain.  That changeover is the risky part.  Winds are on the forecaster’s minds, too.

The squirrels are packing the sunflower seeds in like mad.  I suspect some set of trees in the woods is just solid sunflowers inside.  No red around, so no pine cone piles this year.

The geese are still on the lake, but in small numbers.  The main groups seem gone as I thought.  Two swans are still hanging around, but the river is the wintering place if they stay.  Mud Lake freezes tight while the river has open water in a few spots.

Monday, November 14, 2016

White Forecast

 

Snow is in the offing later in the week.  One forecast looks for 1-3 inches, but then temperatures will drop for highs only in the low 30s.  We  have all enjoyed the late season warmth.  It will be tough to take. 

Some Geese remain on the lake.  I thought I saw two swans yesterday, but they may have been distant geese showing their butts.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

More Wonderful Weather

 

The weather is holding just fine for almost everyone, I suspect.  Temperatures edged into the 50s with a really bright Sun holding court nearly all the day.  The wind held court, too, but did not seem to ruin the warmth of the day, of course that is given what a day in November in Northern Minnesota is normally like.

The leaf fall is done.  The only thing leaves are doing is that last blowing around for those not yet secured in their winter places, and an odd branch that never understood the  signals of the summer storms to fall down, is now finding its way down.  Not really many of them to enjoy the fall to the ground.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Geese Alert

Watch out in southern Minnesota and below!  The geese seem to be heading out.  Honking was not a big thing today.  That means they are coming your way.  And can they poop!  Many hope they stay away, or on someone else’s area as they can decorate with aplomb.  They are a wonder to watch and fascinating to listen to, but have the washer ready for the dock.

On the other hand this means winter is upon us.  We have had super nice days all week and outside is the place to be.  But the temperatures were in the 60s, then 50s, and now less is coming.  No snow near here at all, but rumors suggest something is coming just beyond the 10-Day Forecast.

Winterization is totally complete except for one more check of the garage door insulation.  Even the workhorse of the summer—the chainsaw—sawed its last stump piece off and has been carefully cleaned.  It shall winter in the garage at a nice 46 degrees. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Winter Coming

 

The leaves are majorly past prime at this time.  Many trees are empty.  The oaks maintain a nice percentage of their purple toned leaves through the winter, so bare forest is not dominant here, yet.  Of course the pines stay covered, and those late season brown needles are on the ground leaving a nice green set behind.  The tamaracks are yellow, but still holding those needles.  They are actually at the peak of color or getting just past.

The geese are in full gathering mode.   The honking is getting louder down at the lake.  They honk to attract other geese flying by forming bigger groups for the sudden decision to head out.

Docks and boats are moving to land.  A few remain, but most of this is way beyond summer peak. 

I have not noticed much fireplace odor yet this fall.  With the summer storms plentiful, timber has been easy to find and get ready.  Mostly it has been just outside the window.  Nights have been fortyish some, but only limited below freezing temperatures.  Frost killed then held back mostly.

There are still beautiful tree color combinations to be enjoyed.  Just down the road is one, but that is only for small groups of mixed color trees now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Itasca State Park and The Great Wind of 2016

 

We went to Itasca State Park today/  The weather looked super but turned cloudy, in line with most recent days.  The leaves were just glorious any way.  While those special odd purples and pinks were gone, and the northeast corner was pretty bare, many sections showed bright yellows and oranges mixed with longer stretches of pure yellow.  Even the tamaracks were in full yellow needle.

Mixing in was the very obvious, widespread damage from the mid-summer Great Wind of 2016 (reference in humor to Vicar of Dilby scene).  Trees were sawed off where they had blocked the road, but many then just sat piled on each other, left alone for a couple month period.  Some were average,m but others were among the bigger, older trees of the preserved park.  One has to assume that the Park’s policy is for the forest to remain in its natural state of forest recycling, or, financially and in terms of personnel the Park does not have the staff to take the massive amount of trees away.  More will go as select trees still threaten to fall over the roadways, especially the Wilderness Drive.

We did note some twisted wood indicative of spinning winds.  Most accounts and a look at the radar that night suggested straight line winds.  The single direction fall of the down trees was notable.

Still the trees were wonderful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tree Loss Now 25

 

This latest tree to fall is a puzzle, but likely damaged in the earlier two storms only to fall by the slightest of breezes Sunday morning.  It was a +/- 75 foot aspen/poplar (15 inches across near the base).  There was no storm or meaningful wind, but over it went.  It took 4 newer 2 inch across trees when it fell.

The debris will require a third trailer rental to haul to the transfer station.  We notice our tree skills have gotten a lot better.  Me with the chainsaw is hitting those trees at angles I never did before.  Sue i just picking up log pieces of amazing size.

It was another root ball type fall.  Since it is in the woods the root ball stays.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Chainsaw Wars

 

I never thought I would retire teaching to become a lumberjack.  But…that seems the case.  We have had two major storms with minor event between and the total seems to be 20 trees down.  Four of them were in the 75-100 foot range and likely 125 years  old.  The four were all poplars, which local tree service people hate.  The winds were likely around 70 mph (105 mph 10 miles to the South).  They went down with root balls.  The roots are just not all that massive unless you have to cut at them to reduce the ball down.

Other people had it worse.  Going to the county brush pile we met a bunch of nice people, all of us in the same boat, more or less.  We are nearing a state of acceptability in maintaining the trees, but some people may not be there for a long time.  It would be weeks before the tree service folk can even get to you if you use them.  We do it ourselves if we can.  All were in the do it yourself category.  Those that hang in the air are the ones we do not do.

The rain has also set the ants in a wild phase.  They seem to be giving the word “antsy” new enhanced meaning.  They are just going everywhere and in large amounts.

Root ball trees are easier to cut up.  You just start at the top and cut the short chunks.  Trouble is that that root ball takes a couple days by itself.  Of course nothing is likely to fall on you doing it.

For some, of course, firewood for winter is near free for the asking right now.  Folks are stocking up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Storms and Tree Loss

 

It has been a bit more than a week of storms with significant tree loss.  Others had it much worse than us, as we had no damage to the buildings.  We figure we lost 15 poplars, birches, and Jack Pines.  Two of our tallest trees blew right over leaving sizable root balls.  One nice pine was just tilted, but looked so loose that it had to go down.  We do have two pines that we just tamped the soil back down to prevent water from going under them in hopes they will survive.  We know, long term, that trees can hold themselves straight like this as we have some tilted trees in spots.

And I thought of the two crossed palm trees in Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World years ago.  Trees need not be straight.  That is how the woods is.

All this has been made worse by the heavy rains we have had of late.  Two storms right after each other totaled five inches.  The sand can handle it, but the hold on the roots goes down.   Strange weather for drought, but I suppose that is gone now.  As I always said in North Dakota, “Drought is your friend.”  Of course basement water in the clay soil was the focus of my thoughts.

The root ball trees puzzled Daisy the Dog.  She stared at them trying to figure out how her world changed.  Hated the thunder, too.

It has been a number of clean up days so far.  The house area and woods along it are in good shape.  The root ball closings may take some time.  The more distant woods is on a wait and see basis.  Some of the litter has been taken away, but the main trunks may have to wait a while, maybe next season.

On the good side, the new Stihl chainsaw works nice.  I knew I wore the old one out, so getting the new one was  matter of time.  And in the start of this crisis for many, they had one ready to go at Ace.  It is just a bit small for the bottom of the root ball trees, but a neighbor said he can take those apart.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Heavy Rain Ends, We Hope

 

The heavy 5 inches of rain and the winds that followed, seemed to have come to an end.  Only light misty rain today.  Damage to the forest continues to be assessed.  The tree loss count in in the 5-7 range.  Sadly they are mostly living trees hit by wind or wind and sift sandy soil.  The two large dead trees we spot are still standing tall.

Given the size of this group we may just remove the more burnable branches and leavers and let the trunks become forest soil eventually.  They were meant to end that way.

I must check on the chainsaw and get it ready to help.  On its last legs but should be ready for some effort.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Days of Rain and Wind

 

One assumes the drought is over and gone for now.  The sky has been, shall we say, plentiful for the last few days.  With the sandy soil the water drains with super haste, but the plants have all been refreshed to the max.

The tree s are certainly restocked in water, but the winds have taken some nice ones.  All living trees, which is a puzzle.  Why not take the two dead ones down to the ground so I can more easily recycle them?  No.  Nice living trees losing the whole or top parts.  Saw a study in which a guy found that it took 92 mph to take a tree down, no matter the type.  While still not sure on this study’s applicability to all trees and situation, we must have had more wind than we thought.  The lightening in one was so continuous you could look outside and evaluate if the trees were falling.

Them squirrels seem to take a break, too.  They seem to hide out more and visit the sunflower feeders meant for them.  One would expect them to not hide out in the search for nosh because rain is more natural to them, just damper than normal.  But they do seem to hit the food supply in the yard less these few days.  They do stock up so maybe it is all just stored away in some tree hole.

This afternoon’s storms missed mostly to the south, but I see another line way to the west. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Them Loons

 

Forgot to mention that the loons have been about.  Status of the child bearing is not clear yet.  We hear a lot of calls, but most are a bit out on the lake, nothing close.  They are up during the night as a quick middle of the night call will attest.

Popcorn Day

 

A strange day today with popcorn storms.  Good rain for two minutes then the sun comes out.  Clouds then sun.  Clouds then a short storm that hardly starts.  Some outside work done but nothing big.

Bad news on the turtle eggs as the fox or something else struck.  That is Nature. 

Good day for shorter walks.  Temperatures are set to be rising soon, and today one could move nicely around.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Beautiful Day

 

It was a beautiful day on the lake, today.  The popcorn storms seem to be missing here and that has left wonderful temperatures and a lot of sun.  Some general cleanup took place as has been true the last bunch of days.

Potatoes are showing their heads nicely in the garden and some are growing right up.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Turtle Walk Time

 

A snapping turtle was seen crossing the yard yesterday.  This is the local sign of egg laying and turtles on the move. 

The nest has not been spotted, so maybe whatever eats the eggs every year will not find them either. Turtle eggs have not fared well over the last few years.  Deposited by our garden they are dug and eaten almost as laid. Never seeing this done, we have no idea what gets them.   Maybe baby turtles this year.

The other event likely to happen is spotting turtles crossing the roads slowly around here.  None so far, but one does have to be in the right spot at the right time to view this.  Problem occurs as people stop and wait for slow turtles to cross.  Moving them is not advised, but if one must, then only in the direction they were going.  If not, then they just walk back on the road.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tamarac Growing

The most viewable Tamarac we planted last Summer is growing well.  It came out of winter with some good bushy growth.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fishing Opener

The fishing opener was a cold one.  Temperatures have gone to 28F overnight.  The load on the lake was tiny.  It might just be too cold or too early.  I was out for an hour and had no nibbles.  A fellow trolling the lake seemed to just be trolling.  The two loons in-between us seemed to be finding plenty.  They were diving away.  With three layers on, it was ok, at best.  The sun was bright and did warm my jeans so I could warm my hands.  The black handle on the fishing rod also seemed to warm nicely.

Weed growth seems early and very spotty.  The usual weeds fish can go in on Mud are just not growing yet.  And the water is just a bit high, but only a few inches.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Daisy on tour: Potato Lake

 

Daisy has been restless about checking out the boat landings.  Those squirrels and chipmunks have been up to their evil, along with piles of other creatures.  Potato Lake has a beautiful spot in the Northeast.  Looking down the lake to the East it almost has that mountain appeal at times.

Daisy was most concerned with what some creature did by a dead stump.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ice Out II

 

And the ice is out once again.  It never covered most of the lake.  We have heard of other lakes doing the same thing.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

And Now Lake Ice 2

 

Temperatures only down to the teens brought some thin lake ice back this morning.  Gone since Easter, the ice is very thin and covers only the more south end of the lake.  A set back to Spring.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

White Snow Again

 

The snow roller-coaster continues.  Yellow but greening one day and covered in white the next.  Another light layer of shite snow blanketed us over night only to melt on the roads, then roofs, and still needing time on the forest floor.  Still it is good for fire prevention.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Thick Snow

 

A thick light snow came today.  Things are coated, except most of the road.  It was hard to see the distance as it came through, and it was wet for sure.  The nature crowd seems to have finally located the bird feeders.  We even suspect deer are getting some seed from the cabin type feeder.  Squirrels have been to the sunflower seed sunflower feeder, for sure.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Them Deer!!

Damage has hit the tops of some of the Tamarac plantings.  Deer have been wandering around the last two days and suddenly some tops are gone.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ice Out

The official ice out date for Mud Lake will be April 26-27 this year.  The lake produced none of the whale-type sounds, but slowly melted away.  Ducks and geese have found it and are swimming around.  The water just seemed to expand from the northern shore without and great sinking that we caught.  The more southern shoes have some remnant ice cover for a few feet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Rains

The Spring continues to come.  Last night the rain was fairly heavy.  No thunder, as with a true summer storm, but a good downpour.  Keeping the grass in the woods wet is important.  Spring dryness can make for fire danger.  

It looks like tomorrow will bring some snow.  The forecast is in the 1-3 inch range.  I suspect much will melt upon touching the ground.  The road will certainly not accumulate much at all.

Growing weeds have been found already and the first tearing up of a weed has taken place.  No doubt a record of some kind.

The lake has full ice excdpt along the shore line.  Water there separates ice from land by a small space.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Early Spring

The lake is iced over yet, but had ice fishermen on it today.  Not sure how dangerous that might really be.  Temperatures and Sun have left most snow melted.  The roof is clear and only piles more hidden from the Sun remain.  People in town seem overjoyed at it all.  Even the snowmobiliers seem resigned to the end of play time.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Snow and More Cold

The lake got about 5 inches of nice light snow.  The local septic tanks are getting a nicer snow cover to keep those little bacteria happy in there.  A lot of snow sitting in beautiful position in the trees.  The arctic blast is expected to begin tonight with warnings and cold wind chills.  Nice to get the snow all out of the way, then it turns cold rather than cold as you plow.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Snow as Dust Period

Snow has been coming as a series of dustings.  The good news is that it is building over the septic tanks and drain fields in the area.  A few more inches would be nice, but there is some to keep the pipes warmer if it turns real cold.

Odd one';s thoughts on real cold.  It is 21 degrees out and we looked at it as nice and warm.  Maybe a jacket might not have to even be zippered if one went outside a short time.  No need to even get on the full winter coats yet.  Rare for News Year's Day when the big minus sign usually is on the temperature.