Saturday, January 31, 2009

lynx tracks

Another beautiful day! After yesterday i want to take it easy today, and take 'normal' cross-country skis. I go in the same direction, up the 'firesmart'. When i come to the cross-roads of trails at the top. I see that Margriet, my neighbour, has made some fresh ski tracks on the North end of the 'firesmart' going East. I take advantage of that.
Thanks Margriet!
This is a nice trail actually, i don't take it often. It goes slightly up hill for 1 km. and then down for another. Getting glimpses of the mountain i was on yesterday.
On the downhill part i ski on a, few days old, skidoo track, which works wonderful, just gliding down with ease.
Now the skidoo happens to turn South, which would bring me to the road. Of course i want to turn North. Breaking trail! What did i say; the greatest joy? But these are neither the right skis or boots for that. I am getting wet socks, of snow working it's way in.
Then in the swamp i find another set of tracks. Lynx tracks. They follow the trail for a while and then turn into the woods, see photo. Another day i will follow them, see if i can find other sign of the Lynx. There are many rabbit (snowshoe hare) tracks too. I can see why the Lynx likes it here.
I climb (skis in hand)to a little ridge to sit and enjoy for a while, The sky is blue ,but above the Mountains in the South hangs thick cloud with yellow in it.
I glide down on skis back in the swamp.

Coming back on the 'firesmart' i am definitely in the shadow. This is a Northern slope. And suddenly i see the graceful branches of Birch trees(photo). I never knew there where Birches here, but considering its a North slope i am not surprised, there are lots of Alders too, another one that likes dark and wet.

When i come home, the sun is disappearing behind that cloud front in the South and it makes a nice shot of a very familiar view, some of you that have been here will recognize it.
The view from the out-house.
How do you like that guy?

Up on top

Here is what the wind was doing on top of the mountain yesterday.
Blowing away the snow under a thin crust and then once in while blowing away the crust, shards of ice blown away, tumbling over the snow, shattering to 'dust'.

Ah, and that's how i feel today.
I cuddle up to Don and cry a bit. He knows this and laughs.
That's good, because I am not sad.

It's that darn 'raising a child' thing again. i think.
I have so much fear there.
I am the mother, i am the mountain.
I cover my child with a warm blanket of snow.
Then comes the wind,
shatters it all,
exposes it all.
I know,
My child, who is not a child anymore,
Stands there tall like the mountain,
He withstands the wind.

Ah, where did that come from? Thanks to those who inspired it.
I only know, when i feel an emotion i have trouble with, I go there right away.
Today in this new form.
In the past i have experienced; dealing with my fear, everything works out.
Of course it is very scary for me to say this, that it works out.
Because i'll never know.....
It's maybe a mothering thing, having to let go of her child.
I will still go to the bottom of that, but to go to that depth, i can't sit here at the computer. I'll let you know.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Up the Mountain

Ah, it's a beautiful day. Just below zero temperatures and sunshine.
I didn't know where to go this morning, but then i was talking to somebody on-line, about beauty; -it's up the mountain, i go!
I take my epoke skis, which have bindings so that i can wear winterboots, which are better to climb the mountain, once i ski to it.
The wind is blowing,a South wind, soon i take my jacket of.
It's nice to hear the wind in the treetops, sometimes a breeze swirls around me.Till i come to the top of the esker. I love being in the wind! Snow is blowing.
Good thing i am not on top of the mountain opposite the valley. I love looking at it though. So, wild!
I loved the groomed trails in the beginning of the week,
but nothing beats cutting once own trail. There is incredible joy in that. Even when it gets a little out of hand, and i can barely pull my skis out.
Going uphill is quite ardeous too.
That reminds me of the beauty i am after. Nobody said it would be easy.I remind my self to go slow, one step at the time. And! I realize,i actually already am in the land of love and delight. I enjoy All, in between steps.

Yes, the snow is deep. I keep going till i find a nice high lunch spot. Higher and higher I go. Finally i reach a point i aimed for. Then the mountain makes me laugh, because the snow is shallow here, mostly blown off. And after struggling in deep snow, here i can actually walk, so i go higher yet! And I laugh again because this is no place to sit down, it's like what i saw accross the valley.
Going down is always fun. I have to make sure i go slow, uphill i had to stop every 5 meters, being out of breath. But now i have to make sure all this Joy is not over too soon.
Sun, wind, snow and the big, big sky, how good can it get?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Owl is hooting

It is almost 11 pm, way past my regular bedtime. I stepped outside, it's a starry night, Venus and the moon have gone down already. And there i hear in the far distant, an owl hooting. Over the years i find that often happens the end of January, but its been years since i've seen the owls.

The owl did make me want to write though. It's been a busy week and tomorrow i work all day. So tonight's the night.(to write)

About the pictures earlier this evening; I took the first one.
On the drive home; Venus was the first to show, in the fading daylight in between dark clouds. And suddenly the new Moon appeared too from behind the clouds. When we got home there was a little light left and i was able to take the first photo.
Then Alexander got ambitious, took the tripod and set the camera on a different setting. It's something else, i still have to learn. Kids these days seem to know these thing automatically. He explained to me to turn the dial to TV and then change the exposure speed. So there you go, he took the 2nd photo!

I also still wanted to finish the cross country ski story at Mount Mac. (McIntyre)
The trails are beautiful and the views incredible. The area quite extensive.
When we were skiing back, clouds rolled in and above Grey Mountain, they turned steal blue. With a stripe of light blue sky just above the mountains. A mountain above Lake Laberge shining in the sunlight and some dappled sunlight on Grey Mountain.
A beautiful sight. And i wonder if these steal blue clouds in the North herald warmer weather. I've noticed it before like that. And indeed today with a fierce wind it did warm considerably.

Well, i better go to bed now, Goodnight.

Venus and the new moon

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I am in Whitehorse today. And went on a very nice long ski with Mary. At the mount McIntyre ski lodge. Through some wonderful people I got a free seasons pass there. What a treat.
I haven't skied on groomed trails...ever actually.
It is a beautiful sunny day, the trees have snow on the them and the trails are....well perfect.
I'll tell you about it more later...gotta go.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Snow angels

Never too old for snow angels.
Last year around this time my friend Anne came out to make some snow angels.

It is snowing. I ski the 'beach trail' and with that fresh snow the skiing is excellent again. My skis scraping the ice underneath. Nothing really much to tell. All is grey and white. Towards the North-West there is some stripes of blue sky above the mountains.
I hear the birds, but barely see them.
This weekend the Grosbeak male was brilliant red. It is mating season and i suppose their colors show more.

What else was brilliant this weekend;

Venus! Yes that shining star,(planet) in the South-West in the evening. Apparently it was at its highest point in the sky last Wednesday. Now slowly going down until it disappears in March, till it becomes a morning star again.
It will get brighter though, in the next weeks. According to something i read (i forget where) on February 19 it will be most bright.
I always have to somehow wrap my mind about these things to understand it fully.
But i think this is how it is. Venus spins around the sun closer to it then us. Venus is coming closer to us. We are both on the same side of the sun. Where its shape actually becomes more crescent, because it is so close to the Earth on Feb 19 it is most brilliant. Picture the spinning of the solar system. Pfff when you get it ,i'll get it.
Christopher noticed i had gotten some of the facts wrong, i took those out. And do you want to understand it better, please read his comment below here, click comment.
I hope i get this right; but we only see Venus in the evening or morning, because it spins closer around the sun then we do. So we actually have to face towards the sun a bit in order to see it.

I'll just enjoy watching it, its out again as i am typing this

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Snow, what kind of snow?

The Inuit have many words for snow. On the Internet i find that this is kind of a myth. Well i have to go up North and ask them my self, because to me it makes very much sense to have many words for snow. And i believe they do.
Today i want to talk about 'aput' meaning, 'snow on the ground'.
Lately the 'aput' has changed because of the weather. Because of the warm weather and now cold, the top layer of snow has become a crust. Walking in it very uncomfortable, because the crust is not strong enough to hold me.
That's where snowshoes come in very handy. I snowshoed all the trails around the house.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I find more and more, that everything, as in everything, has two sides to it. When we experience something we call negative, there is always a positive side.
In my life i sometimes don't see the beauty of an incident or object. Nature helps me to know that there is a beautiful side to everything.

Today i set out to photograph the odd ball trees close by . And i wish i could keep you in suspense. Because the result totally blew me away in an unsuspected way.
Maybe that's it too; when one looks for beauty knowing it is there, one gets rewarded over amazingly, beyond....

This 40 feet high Spruce grew a round sphere on top.

And this one grows it's branches down instead of up.

I like those trees, because they have grown in a way, that is totally 'wrong' if you happened to be a normal tree.

What else do you see?
A face maybe?
(click on image if you like to see or look at photo below, same tree)


And of all animals to surprise me like this; it's the ordinary squirrel. I wonder, i wonder..... if i was a story teller.....

a lichen link

this is a lichen on that ice covered rock. And has nothing to with that i like Rachel who is helping me to create a link.

Boreal Chickadee

Poecile hudsonica formerly known as Parus hudsonicus.
Lately i have seen several of them in the Spruce forest around here in little groups.
This one has been at my bird feeder since last week, just one it seems.

Here's my rock that arrived here on an ice floe, in the days of Glacial Lake Champagne.
The other day i was dreaming of frozen waterfalls after seeing a post on 'Nature Remains'. And what do i find in my own yard today.... The whole South side of the rock is covered in ice, which probably happened when it was so warm here. In the meantime it has snowed and we are back to cold temperatures (-25 C earlier this afternoon). And this is the result.

The temperature is dropping again, but birds and squirrels don't care. They know spring will come. (which for us humans does take a while here in the North.)
This morning I spotted a Hoary Redpoll at the bird feeder. Being right on time, in the Yukon bird book it says there is a small increase in sightings in the third week of January. This bird is around here all winter, i just haven't seen it.
The Grosbeaks are gaining in numbers and singing!
The squirrels are chasing each other.
And right now the coyotes are howling somewhere very close by. But i don't know if that has anything to do with spring. OK, i'll read up on it.
And of course then there is that beautiful Boreal Chickadee, hanging out with the regulars (Black-capped Chickadees).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

to be interviewed

Thanks Sue and Anja, for volunteering to be interviewed by me.
You know, i don't know how to create a link, i don't even know if that's what you call it. Anyway when you would like to check out these 2 blogs, from 2 very special women.
You just click on 'Keep in Touch' or 'Anja's photo journal', on the right hand side of this page under 'blogs I read'.
And Anja and Sue, i'll be in touch.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bird song

This is the blade of grass in the water in the creek 'so secret', that i got pretty wet feet getting to it. Luckily i did bring dry socks. The blade of grass is hung up on the willow, and maybe frozen to it for now, as the droplets you see are ice. Please read about it in my yesterday's post, (The real reason for asking; I am in need of a volunteer. Thank you.)

I went a long way to find this secret creek. And almost couldn't make it because i had to cross this creek which is Pond Creek.
It took me only 2 hours to ski to this point, the skiing super fast. I know from other trips, that there is often open water close to here,from a small creek flowing into Pond Creek. It's where i wanted to go to find 'a place so secret'. I could have known i wouldn't reach it. How can it be secret if i know about it. Because of the water i could not get there. After crossing Pond Creek some where else, i found a lovely spot, where the water revealed itself for just a couple of meters, further up stream.
(note for my self: The old willow has a large nest in it, check it out in the summer.)

Today i took this picture of a Spruce tree. But what i want to talk about, is the birds. Today is a cloudy day, and now it is snowing. This morning it felt like spring. I think it is the birds. In between the chickadees chattering and the Magpie talking, i hear an unfamiliar song. I phoned Mary and she thinks it might be a mating Gray Jay!
Later that day i went to play in the water with my rain boots, in 'barb's fen'.
I heard the song again, light and short, but nevertheless a song. I look up and who sits in the tree; a Gray jay. I was ready to record it with my camera (which might work) was it not that the bird didn't sing again.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I had the good fortune to be interviewed by Rachel of the Waxing Moon! Thanks Rachel!
Check out her blog, it's a Yukon blog. It's full of good Northern stuff and fun poetry about her life in the North.
Rachel helped me to copy and paste the following;

One of the wonderful things about the Blogosphere is the way networks and interconnections form spontaneously. To help us all get to know one another, bloggers have been interviewing one another.

My interview follows; then it's my turn to interview any other bloggers who would like to be interviewed by me. :-) Let me know if you'd like to be interviewed by me; the rules are at the bottom of this post. The questions will be unique for each interview.

Here are the instructions if you wish to be interviewed by me:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me".

2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions (I get to pick the questions)

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I will post a list of those who have agreed to an interview so everyone can follow along Now it's my turn to interview any other bloggers who would like to be interviewed by me. :-) I'm going to keep a list up here of the names and blogs of every brave soul who volunteers, so we all can follow along. Please check out their blogs to see the wonderful things they have created!

Rachel : 1. I've enjoyed looking at your blogs, especially the photos of plants and birds around us.
What do you think inspires you to photograph the natural world?
me : To me every thing in nature is perfect. I look at anything in the natural world and see pure beauty.
Initially i wasn't going post many photos on my blog, but some friends encouraged me to do so.
I also found that especially the photos of plants and birds, were an amazing learning tool for me.
I can study a bird after it has flown away. I memorize what i learned better after
i go through the whole process of posting it.
And to me knowledge is the key to see. (some philosopher probably did say that better.)

Rachel :2. You describe your occupation as 'keeper of wild places.' Thinking back over your life,
what do you think has called you to become who you are today?
me : Everything! As a toddler i was put down for a nap
between the rows of bare soil on the field my father worked on. It just took me 47 years to see it.

Rachel :3. By what path did you come to live in Mendenhall?
me :That's a long path, i grew up in Holland. Towards the end of that path, with the 3 of us, we choose this property,
because it was cheap enough, out of town, and it felt good. I still remember sitting down on a grassy opening
in the middle of the forest, and we all said, this is it. Exactly on that spot is now our house.

Rachel : 4. If you were to wake up tomorrow and you could choose to have any kind of day,
how would your day go? What is the perfect day for you?
me :Ah! The conditions are right; With the whole family (3) we go to Bear Summit(Haines jct.) Don is skidoing,
Alexander snowboarding and I am climbing up Mnt. Decoeli (Up to here it all has happened before) Today i reach the Top!
And in the far distant, i see shimmering in the sunlight: Mount Logan. Who is the wildest of wild,
both in quantity and quality.

Rachel :5. When you come across a place so wild, so secret, it is as if no human has ever been there before, how do you feel?
me :Well, so that was my mission today (as on many days). I did find a spot like that today. My first feeling is; Hallelujah! How totally blessed am i.
I feel a desire to share and celebrate this joyous moment and kind of do. I don't sit down right away; i look here and there, taking it all in
Finally i relax and just enjoy. Yes i feel such gratitude. Then there is an uncomfortable feeling too. At first i can't put my finger
on it. You know what i think it is: .....I wish i was the Raven, that flies over and sees it all, I wish i were the roots of
that big Spruce, to know what's under the soil, I wish i was that blade of grass, that gets taken by the current,
and knows the flow of the creek. I am bound by my own body.

Thanks for asking Rachel! I didn't know i had this in me!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sun wind water

Waking up this morning it was still drizzling a bit.
Soon the sunrise made all the snow pink.
Off i went on my 'pelicans' again. I don't know if these peltonens are the best choice for a ski today, but i kind of like them now. You might think me rich, having all those skis. But those are actually bought some 30 years ago, probably 3th hand, the original owner of boots and skis, the Don Sumanik.

The sky is incredible again today. The skiing excellent. The snow different again. Another confession; i never use wax (there might be some 20 year old clister on my skis). Skiing up hill and downhill with ease. The lake a little tricky as i sink in too deep and sometimes the whole snowbed drops down. Walking in the snow is easier again too, besides that it has shrunk it is now so soft, that it melts while you step in it.

I am of to the water again, and get rewarded handsomely. The pools, which i also posted in the 'dancing' post, are clear with water. There are a few more pools now, one that my ski trail goes through. There's ice underneath, i speed through it and don't get wet feet.
The birds are active now it's warm. Ravens fly over and I scare some grey jays in the trees along the lake. Chickadees in the forest.
On my way back, on a South slope my ski trail shines as silver in the sun.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


In the meantime 8.30 pm.
Yes, that is very uncommon. It is dry at the moment, but the weather report of Haines Jct. says humidity 97%. What does that mean? 100% being as wet as it can get, just before you can actually call it rain? We either have Haines Jct. weather or Whitehorse' or neither I suppose. We in Mendenhall subdivision right in between, some 100 km from both, 'towns'.
I shoveled off the roof today and did go for a nice outing.
I have to find my bearings a little bit in this weather.
Alexander had a great day snowboarding at the local ski hill!
For me, Oh i almost forgot; i went bike riding on the road, that was fun.
For all of you wondering how i am always frolicking through that snow. Well, now it is... different. The trails soft and off the trail, no way; to heavy and it packs together under foot, which makes it hard to keep my balance. When the snow is cold, it is very dry and light.
Not to worry, i know i am going to love this! Just in time before it's over.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Female Pine Grosbeak.
She fits in perfectly with all happenings today. Maybe she doesn't have bright flamboyant feathers. But she still is darn beautiful to me.
Yesterday i was put in place by a friend. I think i got myself in trouble; because i think i am so darn special. Which i am not.
My new blog friend Sue always expresses so beautifully, how she is boring, which she is not, but that's part of the reason i like her so much. And for many more reasons i think she is very special! Check out her blog if you want, just click on 'keep in touch' on the right side of my posts. Today she posted a u-tube video, which puts us all in place, because well... this guy Matt Harding, he is definitely special, he is totally amazing.

The day it self was very special to me. It is around 0 C degrees. Which proofs my point, because that is probably quite normal for you.
Here everything had changed, All the snow had fallen of the trees, the birds where out. I almost couldn't get away from the house as i was enjoying sitting on the deck in the sun in a sweater.
With my fast pelican (oops) peltonen skis, i want to find some more water, then the amount that was dripping of the roof. At Barb's fen i find these holes with what looks like ice. With my skis taken off, i try to step on this ice. i am still in the snow, and now i should have stepped back, because my foot goes lower then the actual surface of the ice. Indeed i end up with a wet foot.
But it is so mild, a wet foot is not bothering me and i ski for another 2 hours. Taking many pictures.

This one of melted snow on a willow.
All looks so fresh and sparkly and the trees appear green again. The sky is most amazing today. And tonight at sunset there was all sort of incredible things happening.
Out of Jo-jo Lake some white mist was rising up in front of the sunset orange sky with steal grey clouds.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wood Bison

Yukon Wood Bison.
Bison bison athabasceae.
Finally i have a picture of Canada's biggest land mammal.
The quality of the photo minimal. It's the farthest reach of my camera, probably the animals are 5 km away from us.

Jane Vincent went skiing with me this morning. I still have a cold and am a little short of breath keeping up with her. On the bottom of a hill, she continued, and i slowly walked up to a bench, in the landscape. The seat i sat on ,was a dead branch.
Most of our trails here, are not round abouts, i would wait till she would come back.
As i sit there googling (can i use this word appropriately in this context?). I see some dark shapes in a far away meadow. The rest of the world more grey, with the snow coverage. Zooming it in with the camera, it looks like something, then like a truck(highly unlikely) and in the third photo i take, it definitely are Bison, it seems like 5 or so adults and 2 calves. My first sighting since March last year!

After we come back, we have some Moose soup (it could have been Bison).
I am not into cooking very much. Last night i took out a bone, with meat and fat on it. This morning I put it in the pressure cooker, and now don't follow this as a recipe, because.... well i just throw things together that are at hand. So there goes the bone, some sea salt, carrots, my own home grown potatoes, celery seeds, pepper, my home grown bay leaves. And then a hand full of dried wild herbs.
In season i pick several herbs, dry them on a rack with white cloth, put it in the sun, in the breeze. (this method works for me, because it is fast.) Store them in jars, with a few grains of rice, just in case some moisture was left in the herbs.
And now beautifully in mid winter i have this collection of herbs. Today i used; nettle, juniper berries, labrador tea and plantain seeds. Fill the pot with water, bring to a boil and put it on the wood stove to simmer. Voila! hot soup aroma greets us when we get back. It's a wonderful life!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pine Grosbeak party

As the thermometer is rising with the minute, the Grosbeaks are all gathering in my garden. Now only 6, but their numbers might increase as i remember from other years.
I know i do feed the birds, so forgive me that this is not a truly wild observation.
But I am so excited, with this warm weather (oh.. i thought i liked the cold).
On a deeper then deep freeze(thanks Anja) day i actually did meet with a Grosbeak.
I forgot if i wrote it, so here maybe one more time. As i was finding a trail through the thick forest, i saw a branch move ahead of me, and through further investigation, one bird flew off, probably a Grosbeak.

I also already had a post about Pine Grosbeaks, see label;Yukon birds.
The females, 2 in the first picture, have a yellowish color to them, I will be back with a photo, if i catch their less brilliant, but still beautiful, coloration with the sun shining on it just right.

About the rest of the day, i did some snow shoveling(while taking pictures of the birds really). We had a dump overnight. In the morning it was clear (the grosbeaks out and about) Suddenly it darkened, we had another snow shower and only the chickadees remained. Sunny again, and that's when i went out for the yard work only to find the Grosbeaks were back. Well, what would you say is more important to do?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rosa acicularis

Prickly Rose
Rosa acicularis
June 24 2008
acicula means needle.
And coincidence will that in the photo below, the little sprigs sticking out of the snow are rose bushes. To be honest not that much of an coincidence, as i live in an infinite rose garden here.(the prickly rose one of the main ground covers here)

Just think when you get tired of the cold and snow. Think of me out here in the frozen North. After weeks of around -30 C , I tell you -25C feels so wonderful!
I do have a cold though today, it started last night. On a day like today the angels are watching over me, and they send me an angel to take me for a ski.
I would have sat in the house all day, watching movies. It's with Margriet i go for a ski. All is gloriously sunny in winter wonder land. The weather feels soooo soft. Yes, if you believe it or not, the sun feels almost hot.
And soon i feel totally healthy again. Even when i don't have a cold, my nose drips in the cold anyway. The only difference, I'm still sniffling behind the computer now.
I drink herb tea , picked in spring and summer from the woods and hills. Wild Sage (Artemisia frigida) and Spruce tips for vitamin c. And talking about the herbs, before bed I will make a cup of Rose petal, wild chamomile tea. The petals from the Prickly Rose and the chamomile, Matricaria matricarioides.
I didn't know i was going to talk flowers today and to late now to have a picture right here, it will have to do on top. And rightfully so, as i love flowers most!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Three-toed Woodpecker

Three-toed Woodpecker
Picoides tridactylus
In the thick Spruce forest, north of the Mendenhall meadows.
Not the perfect picture, but at least you can see his barred back and when you look closely the yellow patch on his crown.
I met two of them today and it was neat to see how they each are stripping their own whole spruce tree of it's bark.

I went for a morning walk with (jessica), Destiny and (josh).
Still cold , but we bush girls don't mind.

In the morning the sky was clear, which normally doesn't indicate much warming. In the afternoon the sky becomes cast over, we will see what it brings.
In the afternoon i went for a two hour walk and near the end of my walk, around 4, the sky close to the horizon became blue with an almost purplish tinge. These were clouds though. What is that and what might it mean? Secrets of the sky.

I didn't know where i was going this afternoon, so i just walked, which still gives me the most freedom to go anywhere.
Soon enough i was drawn towards the mendenhall meadows. They are in the direction of the 911 pond. I am still working on figuring out about that land application. If you are reading this and are interested , you can google YESAB and pull out file 0234 Warren and Tiana Zakus.

Anyway i could have more easily been skiing, my legs grow very tired. But it does give me the freedom to step of the trail often, to investigate some sound or sight deeper in the woods.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Trumpeter Swan

Oct.10 2008
911 pond.
Trumpeter Swan
Cygnus buccinator

Sunset 4pm Jan 9 2009. Today i didn't get out till late in the afternoon. Part of my day went into investigating a proposal. One can still apply for land here in the Yukon. Which is a good thing , but not always. In this case someone is applying for an 460 acre Agricultural lease. Right on my favorite 911 pond. Where over this summer i watched the Trumpeter Swans.

June 10 2008

August 27 2008

Killer Queen

While listening to a good ol' tune from Queen, finally i admit i am defeated.
The Queen of the North has beaten me.
It started 3 days ago when i lost a lens out of my glasses in the deep snow. It was 40 below and i was leaving for town.
This morning i found out that i had driven home last night, having forgotten to unplug myself.

I do love this cold weather, and do stay upbeat ridiculously long. Nothing will bring me down.

But this is it. And guess what, the weather man says; Finally this cold weather is going to break.

After i admit defeat, the Queen of the North will withdraw her extreme force.
And gracefully i will except her beauty again.

So, what did i forget? Unplugging myself? For Southern dwellers that might need explanation.
When one wants to drive a car here in this weather, most of us have to park the car indoors or plug it in an electrical outlet. (or leave it running, which is the least advisable).
After my last stop, I forgot to unplug the car, taking my own electrical cord and that of my employer with me, probably having broken the receptacle on my car. Hopefully someone will find the cords and use them so they can start their car.

Glad to be home again! where i can look at the chickadees who resentlessly, merrily and ... gracefully, keep going.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hairy Woodpecker

Jan. 6 2009, Mendenhall subdivision.
Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides villosus

June 3 2008, Harry's baby peaking out of the nest.

The bird today, did have a red dot on it's head, which means it is a male.

Snow creatures

Today it is -40 C again. No wind, Blue sky
a family of snow creatures.

I am having quite a time making today's post. It's a good thing it's cold out there, then i don't mind sitting at this computer for so long.
I will happily think of myself as an artist. Don't artists struggle to express what's in their mind? But sometimes i wonder.... Well i was wondering, maybe i don't have the brain capacity to figure this all out?

You know, i never have such thoughts when i am out there. Today it being that cold, i just deal with it; I wanted to make some pictures close by to capture that white stuff, building up. Snow on snow. My fingers nearly freeze, but it never occurs to me that maybe my body is not made for this. What i do find these days; that the body is an incredible machine, generating heat.

And it is all so very beautiful outside, maybe i don't capture whatever ihad in mind, exactly as i thought i would. But nature always rewards me abundantly. Today Harry drumming on a tree that i walked by. My fingers couldn't handle much more, but again i took off my mittens, he let me take a few photos and my fingers are fine (see they're typing away).
And it just happen to be that last night, i came upon the baby pictures.
It's all magic.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Boreal Chickadees

Sunrise this morning!
I don't know about you, but sometimes i can be so overcome by emotions? Today i had an incredibly beautiful ski trip, but also some sad news. Now i am so 'full' I can't write, and will add the words later.

See the shades of blue in the sky? That's looking North.

Here I look South, what's happening on the top of those Mountains?

Lets find those chickadees. No, that wasn't my mission this morning, but as it is the title of this post, that's where i will go.
I left at 10 am this morning, it's still warmer then it was and warmer then it will be (the forecast). It is around minus 3o C. And it looks like it is going to be a clear day.
There has still been no wind here, and the trees have yet more snow on the them, on the little path in between the firesmart and the lake, the trees are almost all white, and creating interesting shapes.
On the lake and the swamp i can feel a wisp of the North wind, that is out there somewhere. It's cold on the cheeks. At around 11am i reach the first drumlin at the foot of 'maria mountain'. I take my skis of and climb up it. On the top awaits me the sunrise(see photo). I even get a glimpse of a sun dog in the East.
Yesterday, i was talking about more snow at the coast. But that snow is probably heavier and ones ski don't sink in so much. Here i am happy when there is a little bit of a base, Because when i get of the track, my skis disappear deeply in the snow, walking is easier(just because the snow is so light). Sometimes i will do a side way step with my skis on to make a nice path uphill, other times i just walk a bit.
There is that giant rabbit again! Just it's footprints actually.(i will do some reading again tonight about the size of prints from the snowshoe hare.*)
Finally on top of the esker, from here i will follow this esker in stead of going up the mountain. Here the snow has a different aspect. Nobody has been here all winter, (no base) And because of wind the snow has drifted here and formed a hard crust on top. Which at first moment supports me, till i crash through. Luckily it has not drifted like that most of the way. I do walk the last part though to reach the highest part of the esker. Glorious!
I work on the trail a bit. On the way back,now the trail is in ,i enjoy being on the narrow ridge of the esker and look straight into the mountains South of Taye lake.

Snowshoe Hare
Our rabbits here are Snowshoe Hare(Lepus americanus) And listen to this; Louise R. Forrest says "In winter, snowshoe hares, or varying hares, grow particularly thick fur on the soles of their hind feet, making 'snowshoes' well-suited to snow travel." *that explains it!

One Raven i hear, and i sing; where are the.... (the song calls for eagles), i haven't seen one bird yet. Going down i take a different route, and come upon a disturbance in the snow,where snow has fallen of the trees recently, here, there, everywhere. It seems birds where in the trees, disturbed the snow while flying off.

Still i see no bird, and today i will not know who had been sleeping in the trees..

Finally on the little path i hear the call of a chickadee. I stop and wait and get rewarded with a small group of Boreal Chickadees, distinguishing themselves with their rusty flanks.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pine Grosbeak

Pinicola enucleator
enucleate - to remove the kernel
pinicolous - living in pinewoods

It's snowing all day.
Yesterday Jane snowshoed part of the beach trail. I will take advantage of that and ski it today.
I talk about trails a lot, but actually making ski trails here is a futile venture. There is a lot of snow this winter and not enough people to keep up the trails. I am not complaining though. At the coast they have much more snow, and i wonder how much effort it takes there to keep any path. About the amount of people, i kind of like it that way. Nevertheless i am very happy Jane used one of 'my' trails.
Off i go, the temperature a wee bit warmer, gliding away.