Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Clearing the Trails

Lucky me, Santa Claus (Carroll) left me a "D" axe (Lee Valley) or Swedish Clearing Axe according to the catalogue (see link), for small brush clearing and it is an excellent tool for that purpose. It is great for limbing small branches. For larger branches that are greater than a 2 cm. (3/4 in.) diameter, a small hand axe is still better.

So with new axe in hand off I went to clear the trail. There were many more sad looking prostrate cedar saplings across the trail, and in some areas entire groves of 7 m (22 foot) cedar trees had their tops broken off also because of the snow. Managed to snowshoe and clear the trail all the way up to the end of the established trail, which ends at the northern boundary of the property.

There are many more obstructing branches in the trail, likely in part because the branches are weighed down by snow, but also because the hiker is raised as much as 30 cm. (1 foot) by the snow under foot.

One of the two bird feeders that we hung up, was spent and full of empty sunflower shells. Looks like the handy work of the red squirrel. The other has not been found by neither bird nor squirrel, yet.

It was overcast and warm today, -1 deg. C (30 deg. F), and by 4:30 p.m. - the days are already seem to be getting longer, yay! - it started to get dark and it was time to head back. Good thing that I wore a brimmed hat that kept the snow on the shaken trees from falling into my collar.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Snowshoeing as far as we could

Carroll and I snowshoed into the woods today. We managed to walk several hundred yards when we came across many small cedar saplings bent over into the trail making the trails barely passable. After a heavy snow, we have had wet snow and then rain followed by a sudden hard frost that pretty well solidified and weighed down the snow on the trees. The snow on the ground was still not solid enough to walk on so we still needed our snowshoes. The heavy snow has caused many cedars to bend over. We hung up some extra bird feeders along the trails. Last night we has a very light dusting of snow on top of the hard snow base creating an ideal surface to examining animal tracks. There were male white-tailed deer tracks of a good size, fresh fox tracks, again along the driveway and lots of snowshoe hare tracks, some red squirrel [Tamiasciurus hudsonicus] and field mice, all common wildlife for this area. We have yet to see fisher tracks this year, but I am quite sure they will be found if we went further east on the property.

It has been a beautiful day otherwise with a clear blue sky and cold. A beautiful Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Winter wonderland

This weekend we have had a large snow fall accumulating in at least 20 cm of snow on the ground. Every night a little more snow would fall adorning the trees, especially the conifers creating a veritable winter wonderland. Detected fox tracks along the driveway showing considerable activity in what looked like a pursuit of a mouse. Also noticed several snowshoe hare tracks.