It first turned cold for a few days cold. We had good frosts and a couple of inches of snow, which made the road very drivable. I even brought my van home.
The fresh snow and colder temperatures meant that hiking was suddenly much easier, although it was necessary to leave early in the morning when the frost was hard.
The bushes in the swamp were starting to emerge from their winter blanket.
It was a race against the sun. As soon as it broke through the clouds, the going would get soggy. I climbed onto the south bluffs.
The slopes facing the sun were now bare of snow.
The river sparkled in the sun.
The lake across the road had lost the loose snow on top and was turing blue-grey.
That night, the sunset was visible again (very unusual all winter) and it almost cleared Nogwon – When it climbs over the summit, it will be the equinox.
The full moon was buried in cloud – I have not seen a full moon set for 6 months. I had to be content with a waning moon.
The cold spell lasted only a few days. Then we were promised a megathaw – daytime temps up to +13C, strong warm winds, and even a bit of rain. A good time to sprinkle a winters’ worth of ash on the garden in the sunniest spot, to get it to thaw quickly there.
Within 3 days, the ground was bare.
The big snowbank in front of the house finally dropped enough to reveal the rocks in the rock garden.
The first junco appeared.
It is usually a toss-up as to whether the juncos or the redwing blackbirds arrive first. This year the blackbirds won by about 3 weeks. Juncos are ground feeders so I guess they were waiting for the thaw.
Yesterday I drove the road again.
I was amazed how much bare ground there was, and how firm these patches were. Usually, the mud is slop for a while. But I guess, like last year, the ground was so dry before the winter came, that the frost did not go deep into the ground.
Winter, however, is just reminding us not to get too complacent. This morning we had a few lazy flakes of snow.
But once the sun came out, they soon melted. There’s still a lot of snow in the bush, but now the ground in front of the cabin is open.