Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice Storm!

When talk began Sunday about the possibility of an ice storm coming through this week, Margo and I got pretty excited. The odd mixture of below-freezing surface temperatures and slightly above-freezing precipitation, which coats everything exposed in an icy glaze, never seemed to happen in Willits while we were there. While they cause multitudes of wrecks, power outages, interruptions in commerce and the like, both Margo and I have always enjoyed them, and despite their destructive potential, no one who has taken a walk through the fields or woods after (or during) an ice storm can argue that they aren't beautiful events.

It started Monday night, and as I was heading home from Aikido on I-70 the windshield actually froze entirely over. That got me into the slow lane. Tuesday morning brought school closings and gratitude that none of us had anywhere to go for the day. On the half-mile walk to the garden to check our temperatures I found that the branches of honeysuckle, one of our many invasive shrubs, can be broken right off at the swing of a stick!

They were predicting up to a half-inch of ice accumulation, which seems incredible when you realize that every available surface will get coated, including roads, doors, steps, weeds, grass, littered trash, mops left out to dry, fences, power lines, and the dead limbs that have been waiting over those power lines for just such an occurrence... Which might explain the amazing green glow we each saw out different windows when the electricity was trying to decide whether to stay on or go back out last night. We only lost power for about an hour, which was long enough to be grateful for lots of candles, our new woodstove, and the foresight to have put a bunch of water aside for drinking water and toilet flushing.

As I walked around yesterday afternoon to take photos there was nearly a quarter-inch already.Today it has gotten worse from the additional fall of rain overnight, and now many businesses have decided that the school districts knew what they were talking about.

Here are some of the pictures I took... At top are weeds completely coated in ice, including their seedheads (which has something to do with how popular our bird feeders are right now). Next, one such bird feeder with a nuthatch on it. It has been entertaining watching the bigger birds, like grackles, sliding off the sides. Third, the chicken-wire roof of our hen-house run, sagging appreciably. Below are our clothesline, out of commission, and branches of a sugar maple with next season's buds encased.The weather forecast shows temperatures staying below freezing till at least Saturday, so I guess this will all stick around for a while...


  1. Beautiful pictures! We got nothing but snow, which is gorgeous, but it's hard to appreciate just by looking how deep it is. You have to jump in. :)