The Full Moon that Wasn’t

1 ploughing roadA day or two after the snowfall, my neighbour came to plough.  It cost me $200.  But already the temperature was well above freezing, and the wind was howling.  A warm gale blew for 4 days and four nights – some of the gusts must have been storm force.  All the snow melted.

3 laundryThe same thing happened after I paid my neighbour $100 for ploughing the first time.  So I have literally thrown $300 down the drain.

Last Wednesday, I made a trip to Tatla – the first since Christmas Eve.   Naturally, I had to cut several more trees out of the road.  I went to the library and borrowed the washing machine at the church.  They have bought a new one and it can take really big loads.

Finally, the temperature dropped at night, and of course we got fog.  The winter full moons are beautiful on the snow, but both of them so far have been deadened by cloud.  Bare ground makes the night dark as well.

2 fogIce was everywhere.

4 iceThe weather has remained calm and stable since the gales, but it is rarely clear.  This means we have had some very pretty sunrises…

5 sunriseAnd sunsets.

6 sunsetThe days are at last noticeably longer although with so much cloud about it was not obvious at first.  Interestingly, the mornings seemed to stay the same, only the afternoons grew longer.  Now the sun has cleared Finger Peak.  On the shortest day it sets among the bare branches to its left.

Earlier, the river spread over the gravel bars.  That water froze, and now the river is back in its bed.  It is a rare year when it freezes well enough to be safe to cross as it flows very swiftly.

7 riverIn sheltered places, there is a bit of snow – in a few hollows, it is 10″ deep but those places are rare.

7a snow in fieldWolves are common this year.  I hear them occasionally but see lots of tracks.

8 wolf trackThey have a hard time in a low snow year as their prey can run away.  Goodness knows what has happened to the mice who normally live under the snow.

I am working hard on my manuscript but one beautiful afternoon I took time to hike up onto the north bluff.

9 north bluffFlocks of robins are everywhere.  They are enjoying last summer’s abundant crop of kinnikinnick berries.  These berries can survive all winter under the snow.  They are not very tasty for humans to eat, but a great source for the birds.

10 kinnikinnickJuniper berries are also thick on the bushes.  These are enjoyed by townsend’s solitaires, who often winter here although I rarely see them.

10a townsend solitairThere were, inevitably, a lot of newly fallen trees up on the bluffs.  The surprising thing was that there were any left standing after all that wind.  These trees were beetle-killed about 7 years ago.

11 fallen and standing treesThe bare ground is not even frozen

12 cracked groundStorms still boil over the mountains

13 storms over mountains


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4 thoughts on “The Full Moon that Wasn’t”

  1. This is the strangest winter out West. So much of the US has been under the grip of terrible cold and snow and wind. Our mountain place at almost 5000 feet has been sunny during the day and only freezes at night. We have very little snow which is kind of spooky. We sold our home in Pilot Rock and have to be out of here by Feb 7th. We can be thankful for this open winter as we move our things to the mountains. But I would rather be moving them to a storage container and dealing with snow in the mountains. Perhaps spring will bring lots of rain. The spring rains actually do more to replenish our water supply than the winter snows. That water usually runs out to the Pacific Ocean. Love all the photos you posted. And really felt for you losing that $300. That’s a bundle of money !! Bummer.

  2. Sounds like the winter that wasn’t too. Still, pictures that make me smile, Chris. Today I am in Florida awaiting the arrival of a friend from Indiana where 24 inches of new snow was predicted. We shall seen when she actually gets here. I find the robins a curious thing too. Have you seen them this early before? Your book, ” Nuk Tessli arrived. Stunning cover photo.
    And ‘stunned’ me with your bear encounters! I so love the wild, but I so could not deal with a bear break break in. I enjoyed a Florida sunset at a Preserve the other day. Not a soul to be seen. Boundaries melted away. I felt free…until I went to drive out .
    A gate stopped me! Hadn’t noticed a gate when I entered.I pondered being locked in a swamp when a man came up and said,” gate closes at dark.”
    He opened it for me. I think the wild things ‘locked ‘ inside
    Will remain more free than me out.

  3. Chris – you have such a keen idea for a good photo. Artistic mind in all ways…It seems so weird that you have robins this time of year. Is it weird? I picture them as being South for awhile yet.
    I hope Ruby is adjusting well and loving her new home. Animals have a tough rap sometimes when they are left or abandoned. Thank goodness she has a cozy home with you. I bet she is good company, especially during the winter when you are not outdoors as much.
    P.S. I hope the dogs are well also – and that they like the cat!

  4. That’s funny, I was just thinking earlier today that the afternoons are getting noticeably longer (sunset at 4:10pm versus 2:45pm at Solstice because of a chunky mountain in the southwest), but the mornings seem to be stuck 🙂
    Gorgeous sunset photo. Love that mountain peak!
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