Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Frozen Pond

Here on the farm, we haven't done any real snow removal yet. We're laying down a "base" of packed snow so when the Kabota gets out there with its big shovel attachment, it isn't clearing gravel along with the snow. The snow has fallen only at a rate of an inch or two at a time, and no more than four inches total, so it's easy to drive over it and pack it down.

But yesterday, Tim got serious about snow removal on the pond. It's impossible to skate when there's snow on the ice, and this year we didn't get out there before the snow fell. What I like about this photo, taken early in the process, is the view of Steve's tree nursery in back, with its rows of arbor vitae. It looks impressive, whereas for me, in other seasons, it just looks like an enormous amount of work.

Tim and Annie are hosting Christmas, which means 30-37 people, and of course he's thinking, "What will we do outside?" When Paul lived here, some years he would string Christmas lights around the pond for night skating. We're not really up to that task. But Tim got out there with a little snowblower and cleared off a large figure eight pattern on the ice. It's really beautiful. It's been at or below zero for probably six of the last 12 days, and it's not supposed to go above 20 this weekend. As long as it's near 20, I'll skate.

The thing about skating is that it's so painful, you really can't do it for long. I don't really understand why skates can't be made that have structure but don't kill your feet, but it seems to be true. The pair I bought were even specially designed to mold to your feet. The salesman put them in a special oven and then in the store I sat with them on my feet until they cooled, supposedly custom-molded. I don't think it did much, really. After about 15 minutes, I can't bear the pain through my arch, even with my orthotics in the skates. It's time for hot chocolate.

Steve cleared a winding path through the prairie below our bedroom window and out through the wetlands at the end of the season, and it's filled with snow. I love it, and think it will add a lot to the view next summer. But just seeing everything transformed like this, I realize that I really do love winter.

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