Category Archives: Hill Dog Writes

The Hill Dog Writes is a collection of writings by The Hill Dog.

Work in Progress

The road in front of the house leads to work ski patrolling at Elk Mountain and continues on to Chet’s Place, a great source of good food and companionship.

Absent much interest in anything else, I pass the same view near daily.

Late last Autumn, I noticed that what had been marshy seemed to be a bit wetter than usual. A couple of birch in one of my favorite stands had been fallen.

Winter white covered everything for a couple of weeks obscuring the change that had been occurring.

This recent thaw removed all ice except that on what had at once been only damp.

A slow ride with intent along the valley revealed that the tipping point had been reached.

Revealed by the contrast of dormant grass and ice a couple more beaver dens appeared southward from what had been the main community.

A gentle arc alongside the birch stand described a beautifully engineered dam. Further south, yet another dam had been built and was now holding back a considerable amount of water.

When one finally awakens from life’s routines, great change becomes evident.

Horses in meadow

On the first clear day in several, on the way from car to back door, my glance was drawn through withered pear tree branches.

A familiar motion of far away lazy tail betrayed horses, apparitions, flashing brilliant white, deep in distant swollen green freshening meadow.

Habitually turning toward home, thinking not much of noticing the horses in their pasture, in a very few steps I realize it’s been many many years since horses pastured here. 

 

Pearl Buds

Temperatures have been ranging from -15 to near +50 degrees leaving the tree buds and limbs alternately coated with ice and snow. When the sun illuminates them, the frozen water droplets seem almost as iridescent as pearls.

“I know I shouldn’t do this, I know I shouldn’t say this.” I announced to my co-workers when I walked in one morning earlier this week holding a piece of ice in my hand.

“Think of what an 80 degree day feels like. Now think of how different from that a 40 degree day feels. Point being, a temperature differential of 40 degrees is significant. ”

“I did some math just now and realized that the piece of ice in my hand at 32 degrees, is more than 40 degrees warmer than the current air temperature of – 15.” They smirked, shook their heads, and continued to layer up.

We bundled up and got on the chairlift. By the time I reached the top, the half inch gap between my goggles and hood had let enough air on my cheeks to cause them to burn. I had felt this before, and knew that if left exposed, my skin would soon freeze.

I added my face mask to all my other layers, and set to morning chores. 

The weather station on top of the mountain reported -12 air temperature – warmer than the valleys. With the wind sensor frozen, we estimated a 15-20 mph wind consistent with current weather reports. 

Soon word came down that given the combination of ice, cold, wind and bad roads, we would close for the day. So, we undid the chores done so far, packed up, and enjoyed the day from inside the home.

Once there, curiosity got the best of me,  so I looked up and found that a 20 mph wind with -12 air temperature resulted in a -37 degree wind chill. The National Weather Service calculates under these conditions, exposed flesh will freeze in less than 10 minutes. My chairlift ride seemed to confirm this.

We had eaten a good breakfast, and layered up in warm technical clothing. Though with preparation, caution and mindfulness we could have stayed outside, it was a nice day to enjoy from the warm side of the windows.