Arrival of Winter

And suddenly the colours were gone and we were presented with the monochromatic palette of winter.

The pond thawed for a while, but then it accumulated more ice.

The beaver house looks quite stark, partly because the leaves have gone, but also because the beaver have cut down the surrounding willows

Beaver are not the only occupants, though. All summer there has been much coming and going of muskrats. A video narrated by (a very young!) David Attenborough describes this sharing of accommodation. Beaver eat a variety of plants, preferring the inner bark of aspens and willows. Muskrats favour sedges. I saw them often in summer but it was hard to get a decent photo. Once the ice has formed, they like to sit on it while they eat. Mostly, individuals were scattered around the pond, but two always seemed to be together. Siblings? Partners?

It grew colder, and the last of the open water froze over, making, in some places, extravagant ice crystals.

Finally, only one open hole was left. (The creek runs through there). And around it were no less than 6 muskrats looking as though they were having a round table conference. (Sorry about the poor quality.)

The next day that hole froze over – and I haven’t seen a sign of any of the animals since. The beaver have their branch pile; the muskrats must swim under water and bring the sedges home to snack on – or maybe they have a sedge pile stored.

A little more snow.


A lot of rosehips this year. They look very Christmassy.

I started feeding the birds and got the usual cast: blackcap and mountain chickadees (this is a blackcap)

And, like last year, a red breasted nuthatch showed up.

I had planned to do a lot of fire-smart burning this year, but the Fall was so dry that the permission date was moved from the middle to the end of October. Almost immediately, it snowed. Fortunately not enough to seriously impede the operation, but it did slow it down. Here is me making my contribution to global warming. This wood was too rotten or small for me to use for firewood, but I can never so this job without thinking of all the poor people in the world who walk miles to get a few twigs to cook with. When our community hosted a family of Sudanese refugees, I brought Hussien home to help with the task. He spent several days at it and then confessed that all this trashy wood would be worth a great deal of money in Sudan.

This is my driveway. It took 2 days to cut the dense brush and haul it to the road but the thinning of fallen dead branches and mistletoe tangles will go a long way to slowing down a ground fire.

My pond has 2 creeks running through and is full of sedges. Both reasons make it not a good skating lake. However, there is one part way to the highway. Jade and the kids were able to make use of it several times.

We had quite a lot of sunny weather but often the mountains hosted cloud. This following photo, where the sun sets to the left of Finger Peak, gave me a kick in the pants to put blogging to the head of my to-do list. It indicated that the end of the year was not far away.

A typical low-light winter sunrise.

Another sunset. Ice crystals in the sky make the light column.

And here is my house, all dressed for winter.

6 thoughts on “Arrival of Winter”

  1. Chris…it was with great joy to open your web page and see new postings. The mural is a thing of beauty and so great to see the kids being involved. I’m sure they will have fond memories of their creation and of you too. My Dad bought my Mom a beautiful wood cookstove for their cabin in the north on Tagish Lake years ago. So many memories of fresh baked bread and other wonderful meals. We have moved from Courtenay where I first met you and now we live in Sorrento on the Shuswap Lake. Not as cold as where you are but -28 this week was certainly different from the island. Merry Christmas from Russ and Arlene

  2. Hi Chris, I join in all the previous words of praise yet still I have to add some extra emphasis on the mural: the way you planned it, including the first steps on the blackboard – perfect! And how wonderful – there are altogether 4 walls!
    Also – thank you for learning about the name of the “Nuthatch”.
    In German this cude little guy is called “Kleiber” and my bird books are still packed. Where I live right now in a rented old house near my place to be lives a tame nuthatch and he is so unbelievably charming – he even greets me like a dog on wings when I come home …
    I wish you a wonderful, peaceful and healthy wintertime ! Alice

  3. Enjoyed all the lovely photos, especially the mural that the school kids helped with suggestions and then creating it with you. Love your new stove! What a beauty. Too bad the old one couldn’t have been found a home as a display in some store.


  4. I am glad you got some blogs posted. Yes I see you have been quite busy. As usual your photos are spectacular! I really enjoy seeing your slice of paradise and your descriptions. Keep warm (I am sure you will with all that wood). How is the new stove working out?

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