I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The insulating value of snow.... and other stuff

We've been off-line for close to two weeks, getting Bell's 'blue screen of death' much sooner than expected. My computer guru is searching our machines to find out what used the extra data this month. He thinks some program did an automatic update, despite (we thought) having auto-updates turned off.

Finally, we have some lovely cold weather and a decent amount of snow! Several nights mid-January were -20C (-4F) and colder, and we got a little worried about our water system, especially as we'd had so very little snow at the time. The crawl space under the house is fairly well insulated, but we count on banking up the house with snow for some extra R-value. We finally got the snow and banked the house up.

 It has been so beautifully cold, and with the lovely blanket of white stuff topped up with another 4" on Wednesday, the snowshoeing has been excellent.

The deer are moving slowly to their winter yards, the deeper snow encouraging them. Over the last week or so, they have been bedding down at various places on our property. One night, they bedded down just over the stone fence in the cedar bush behind my compost bins, not more than 100 yards from the house. I found this evidence along the trail the next day. 

The snow around the edges of the indentation made by the deer's body, appears to be un-melted. Here is an old picture from a trail camera, showing how well insulated a deer is, the snow on its back accumulating and not melting. 

No wonder they can bed down comfortably in the snow!

The temperature was milder just before the last snow fall, and the snow stuck on the tree branches, giving then all a delineation of white, so beautiful, as seen against that incredible blue, blue sky.

This Saturday, we hiked a little further afield, it being an absolutely sublime, cold, sunny day. We explored a bit of crown land which had long ago been the site of an homestead, with some old apple trees still evident. We snowshoed up a rise to the old foundation, and there, in the snow, were 4 moose beds.

We'd seen the fresh tracks and were thrilled to see where the animals had bedded down. Each bed had a 'deposit' in it, as when the animal gets up, the first thing it does is poop. 

Along another trail, we were startled when a grouse erupted out of the snow, leaving it's little overnight snow cave, etching it's wing prints in the snow.

You can see the hole where it plummeted into the snow, then burrowed along, creating a snow cave where it spent the night. We are curious as to why we find their little overnight shelters so often along the edge of a packed trail.

These are bear claw scratches on an old, beech tree. The tree has obviously been a mast tree in the past, as evidenced by these marks made by bruins climbing to reach the nuts.

Last weekend, we hosted a snow shoe party for two neighbour couples. Hubby blew out the fire pit area in preparation for the fire, on which we brewed hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows after our walk.

That Saturday was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures around -19C (-2F), rising from -26C (-15F) at daybreak. A good time was had by all.

On the crafting front, another long legged pair of socks for Hubby are finally off the needles.

They started out as identical, and finished as fraternal twins, as I didn't want to unravel another ball to find the matching point. 

A quilt that has languished for a VERY long time in a storage bin is FINISHED!!  Hubby's great Aunt was cared for by his parents as she got older. She suffered from dementia, and sitting with her hoop and floss calmed her. She had been an amazing embroiderer all her life. I inherited her final mono-coloured squares, and had to fasten down a few ends and even finish a few missed cross-stitches, but finally, after sashing the squares, and creating "quilt-as-you-go" blocks out of them, I've just finished hand stitching the binding on.

It has been a long, long time in the making, as it was started quite a few years ago, and in the busyness of life, got put aside. It wasn't my preferred type of quilt, but I felt I had to do something with the squares she'd laboured over, so now we have a useful keepsake.

We have been having a regular visitor of late. Early this morning we watched the Pine Martin trying to find a way to access the bird feeders. He raced up the apple tree and did a flying leap toward one feeder, splatting down into the snow about half way between the tree and the pole mounted feeder. Then he raced up the crab apple tree on the opposite side, but found the branches too flimsy to get him any where near a launching spot from that side. He then contented himself with scavenging under the suet cake, getting bits the birds have dislodged from the cakes. He has been coming regularly, and here is a picture from the trail camera facing out over the rock garden where we put out odd scraps he might like.