Snow Making

Busy with winter preparations and with unseasonably mild weather up until this week, I pretty much forgot about winter itself.

As initial snowmaking concentrates on the north west trails, the trails facing my backyard have been unilluminated. Last week or so, the Delaware lights were lit during the day. “Tony probably testing the lights, and making final adjustments before the season.” I thought to myself.

For the past few days, the steady low roar of the snow guns round the clock, is unmistakable.

The other night while having some soup at Chet’s Place, Brad comes by my table with a look in his eye and says “Prolly this week…”.

Jack then turns to me, “You ready?” more of a statement then a question. I think a moment, and utter a low “yeh”.

NOAA says snow and cold, some of it single digit, for the foreseeable future.

Work last nite and tonite bartending for people enjoying themselves and each at their holiday banquets. Pay some bills tomorrow. Stock up on food and supplies monday. Maybe cook some to put in the freezer.

Then ski.

Just ski.

Oak Sentinel

At the right time of year, it’s almost impossible to not notice the abundance of acorns in places near the top of Elk Mountain.

On a walk several years ago, I gathered, and planted a few in the side yard.

Now, this tree and a few of it’s kin planted nearby, conspicuous seasonal sentinels, splash the last glimpses of color as autumn fades, nods toward winter.

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Wikipedia reports:
The red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is a medium-sized woodpecker of the family Picidae. It breeds mainly in the eastern United States, ranging as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada. Its common name is somewhat misleading, as the most prominent red part of its plumage is on the head; the red-headed woodpecker, however, is another species that is a rather close relative but looks quite different.

Orange Orb Weaver

Walking out to greet the UPS man, I almost stepped on this little critter. Reminded me of a pumpkin.

Wikipedia reports:

Araneus marmoreus, commonly called the marbled orb-weaver, is a species of spider belonging to the family Araneidae. It has a Holarctic distribution.

Araneus marmoreus is found throughout all of Canada to Alaska, the northern Rockies, from North Dakota to Texas, and then east to the Atlantic, as well as in Europe. It is one of the showiest orbweavers.

Walking Stick

From a distance, it looked at first like a piece of grass, or maybe pine needles that had blown against the wall and stuck.

Closer inspection revealed movement – it is a bug – a walking stick!

Wikipedia reports:

The Phasmatodea (also known as Phasmida or Phasmatoptera) are an order of insects, whose members are variously known as stick insects in Europe and Australasia; stick-bugs, walking sticks or bug sticks in the United States and Canada; or as phasmids, ghost insects or leaf insects (generally the family Phylliidae). The group’s name is derived from the Ancient Greek φάσμα phasma, meaning an apparition or phantom, referring to the resemblance of many species to sticks or leaves. Their natural camouflage makes them difficult for predators to detect, but many species have a secondary line of defence in the form of startle displays, spines or toxic secretions. The genus Phobaeticus includes the world’s longest insects.

Members of the order are found in all continents except Antarctica, but they are most abundant in the tropics and subtropics. They are herbivorous with many species living unobtrusively in the tree canopy. They have a hemimetabolous life cycle with three stages: eggs, nymphs and adults. Many phasmids are parthenogenic, and do not require fertilised eggs for female offspring to be produced. In hotter climates, they may breed all year round; in more temperate regions, the females lay eggs in the autumn before dying, and the new generation hatches out in the spring. Some species have wings and can disperse by flying, while others are more restricted.

How much different can heaven be?