March 06, 2016

Winter Walk-Off: The Big Melt

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It appears winter is making a speedy retreat from much of the U.S.

Les, at A Tidewater Gardener, annually hosts a Winter Walk-Off, and most years when I've participated in his meme in late February/early March, winter still had a firm grip here in Wisconsin. This year, spring is asserting itself a little earlier.

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Full disclosure: These photos were taken two weeks ago. Since then, the snow and ice completely melted, we had another snowstorm, and now it's nearly melted again.

But this was my winter walk-off.

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I chose to walk to Lake Waubesa, which is slightly less than a mile from my house. The sidewalk was a little treacherous, with slippery, melting ice.

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Along the way, I noticed many stems with seed heads, including these Goldenrods (Solidago spp.), sparkling in the bright sun.

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Squirrels' nests seemed high in the trees this winter, for some reason.

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Unfortunately, highly invasive Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) was getting an early start.

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As I approached the lake, I could see it was still frozen. Although...

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Puddles of melted ice and snow were everywhere.

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I was surprised to see many ice fishing shacks still on the lake, although some owners appeared to be preparing them for transport.

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The bright sun and mild temperatures were quickly melting the lake ice.

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Ice heaving along the shore, common this time of year with the freeze/thaw cycle, was fascinating to see.

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Moving a little closer, I peered under the snow and ice wedges to see the worlds beneath.

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I imagined tiny creatures skittering beneath the crust of the ice canopy.

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Back on land, little lakes formed from quickly melting ice not yet absorbed by the soil.

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The volleyball court and the playground were flooded.

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The stream leading to the lake was open.

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Across the bridge (which I didn't traverse), I could see that the parks system was working on the trails--cutting for the path, clearing away invasive species, thinning the understory, and possibly discarding Ash trees in advance of the Emerald Ash Borer.

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It was a beautiful sunny day--we've had many recently--and the perfect day for a winter walk off. Thanks, Les, for hosting the Winter Walk-Off meme.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Garden Lessons Learned meme is still active. To participate, simply write a post or share one you've already written about your "Lessons Learned" during the past season. Then share your link or simple observations in the comments of my previous post. The link will be available always under the "Lessons Learned" tab at the top of this blog.

Please also join in Donna's Seasonal Celebrations at Gardens Eye View! You can join in with a post that fits both memes, or separate posts for one or both of them. I'll include wrap-ups on PlantPostings' Facebook page as we approach the equinox.

[As winter fades to spring, I'm taking a short break from blogging. I'll be back soon!]

63 comments:

  1. A winter walk-off is a great idea! The ice heaves along the shoreline are fascinating. With the frozen lake and bits of snow and the ice blue sky, it still looks very much like winter to me!

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    1. Hi Deb: Yes, it's a fun meme. I'm always happy to walk off the winter! The ice heaves are nifty and always look different from year to year. This next week is going to be proper spring weather, and frankly with the thunderstorm we had tonight, I doubt we have any snow left now. I suppose the lake will open up soon!

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  2. Beautiful pics! I'd love to sit on the bench in that last pic and gaze out at the frozen lake (while wearing about a bajillion layers of clothing, of course) ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. You know, it's funny ... it looks much colder than it was. I think it was in the 50sF that day. Then we had another snowstorm, and now spring is back ... for the foreseeable future. Yay.

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  3. Hi Beth, I love the idea of a winter walk-off! Have never heard of it before. It was certainly a beautiful day when you did it and you captured it in a fascinating way with your camera.
    I have never seen ice heaving and it looks pretty stunning.
    I am glad for you that winter is retreating early for you in Wisconsin the year, you must be longing for spring so much already!
    Wishing you a wonderful week!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina: Thanks, for your kind comments. Yes, I'm always thrilled when winter is done. There's just a touch of moodiness usually with the last snow of the season--weird, I know. But then seeing the first Crocuses, Daffodils, and Snowdrops makes up for it. Enjoy your week, too, Christina!

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  4. Hi Beth, they are all very beautiful photos. If i were there i will certainly love taking those photos too. However, if i will be there for the first time, i guess it will be scary, or maybe because of sudden enthusiasm to take photos, maybe i will get an accident. Some of those look scary to me.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. How interesting that you find them scary. I think I might feel that way, too, if I wasn't familiar with and used to the conditions. It does kind of make me nervous to see people out on the lake while the ice is melting so fast. I did not feel comfortable going out on the ice this time.

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  5. A lovely collection of Winter Walk Off photos Les. Must be nice to have all that snow & ice starting to melt & signs of Spring starting to show up. We've just entered Autumn here in the Southern Hemisphere so Winter is on the way. That last shot of the Park Bench overlooking the lake is a fantastic shot. Well done!!!

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    1. Thanks, Tony. Most of the snow is now melted again. I'm not sure about the lake because I haven't walked down there for about a week. My guess is that it will break up soon with all the warm weather we're having. Happy autumn to you!

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  6. Oops... My apologies Beth for the wrong name. I saw the bit after the last photo where it said "Thanks, Les" & assumed thast was your name. Then I noticed your name in the footer. Silly me...

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    1. Ha! No problem. Thanks for visiting. :)

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  7. Beautiful photos of the views of and over the ice and the ice heaving. Love it, sigh....we had not any heavy frost this winter.
    Ice fishing shacks on the lake, totally unknown to us but interesting to learn and to see.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, it's very common on the lake. Every year it looks a little different. It's fun to check it out this time of year. :)

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  8. I have never heard of this meme. Interesting to see how cold it is still up your way. It is quite warm here and I am anticipating more warmth this week. I don't know if the warmth will stick around but hey, I will take it.

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    1. Hi Lisa: Yes, it's a fun meme, and perfect for this time of year. Funny that you mention the warmth, because it's hitting us now, too. Thunderstorms last night and almost all the snow is gone. I'll take the warm spring weather, too. :)

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  9. I think Beth you are just a bit ahead of us in Ontario. The garlic mustard is still a problem but somehow in the last few years it seems to be receding. I have a friend whose wood lot was covered with it but now there are patches of it. It is not everywhere. I think there is hope.

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    1. Ah, that's great news about the Garlic Mustard for you, Alain. It's still very much a problem for us here, in fact for some reason it seems to be bigger and healthier (just my impression, anyway). We pull it every year. But you're right--there is hope.

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  10. Thanks for taking us to your winter walk, it was lovely!

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    1. You are welcome, Lula. Thanks for accompanying me on the walk. :)

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  11. We also had quite a few evenings of snow which melted off the next day. We've lost all our snow now, and today it's 60 degrees! The puddles have begun sinking into the ground too, as it thaws a bit deeper. And the birds are beginning to sing in the mornings :-)

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    1. Hi Cassi: We have some tiny patches of snow left, but no more puddles. It was 64 here today! Yay! I've noticed the morning birdsongs, too. Cheers!

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  12. I'd be collecting pebbles, there's one in your picture that looks like a chocolate marshmallow.

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    1. Ah, good thought. I'll have to remember that next time. A chocolate marshmallow--nice! :)

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  13. We have crazy warm temps coming this week and are forecast to hit 78 on Wed! There is no snow or ice to be found. :o) Hello, spring!!

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    1. Wow, that is super warm! Our temps will be consistently spring-like for the next 10 days, and about 10-20 degrees above normal! Yay! After a thunderstorm last night, not much snow left here, either. Happy spring, Tammy!

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  14. Gorgeous photos, Beth, especially the last one with the sun shining on the lake! You are fortunate to have such a beautiful area nearby. I'm afraid I'm pretty much a wimp about walking outdoors during the winter, but we've had enough sunny, warm days recently when I've been able to walk. Hooray for an early spring!

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    1. Thanks, Rose. It was a lovely, sunny day, and actually quite mild even though it looks cold. And now this week, we're looking at highs in the 50s and 60s. Yay! Happy spring!

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  15. The ice heave is amazing, I haven't seen anything quite like that before. Have a good break Beth :)

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    1. Hi Jessica: It's so fun to see each year. Quite dramatic in person. :)

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  16. Thank you very much for joining in. The idea of fishing through a hole in the ice is not appealing to me, let alone putting a shack on the ice. I'd be nervous the whole time about it falling through, and I would probably have to drink a lot of beer to sooth my mind. Then again, isn't the whole point to drink and maybe fish while you do it?

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    1. Thanks for hosting, Les. I always enjoy "walking off" winter! Regarding ice fishing: I have no desire to do it, either. Apparently, some of the shacks are pretty fancy and quite warm. But you're right, beers are part of the fun of it. (That's my understanding, anyway.) :)

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    1. Thanks, Endah. It is pretty around here--cold, but pretty. ;-)

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  18. Your photos reminded me of our time in Michigan. That up and down winter/spring weather. I love the snow/ice on the lake and the structures that are created with the freezing and thawing cycles. Enjoy your mini-break!

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    1. Yes, that's March in the Upper Midwest. At least the signs of spring are increasing!

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  19. Looks like you've had a similar winter - much milder for us too. What headsnapping weather we've had recently - warm enough for just a sweater, cold enough for a scarf around my mouth and wooly hats and mitts. Snow/melt/rain - yikes. A couple of years ago I decided I was going to eat the garlic mustard as my contribution for ridding us of the menace. Did it once. Just pull and toss it now. I figured if they're going to eat those invading fish, why not Garlic Mustard? I can tell you why - tastes appalling!

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    1. Yes, more recently we've had ping-pong weather, too. I have flowers blooming, and they won't like the 20sF forecast for later this week! Regarding the Garlic Mustard: I actually like the taste. I wouldn't eat it plain, but it's good mixed with other salad greens. It's also tasty in hummus. But I don't like it in my garden!

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  20. Similar situation here--early warming but then a snowstorm. Now it's melting off quickly. I enjoyed your ice heave photos!

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    1. Hi Hollis: It was warm here last week, and now we're cold again. No more snow, but our forecast is looking pretty frosty toward the end of the week. March is fickle.

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  21. Wonderful to see, even though it looks cold but sunny, plenty of lovely photos, hope it keeps on warming up. Have a lovely week.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks, Amanda. It was warm while we were gone last week, but now we're cold again. Not terribly cold, though, but now I worry about the plants that have started blooming. :(

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  22. I never noticed the ice-heaving before - interesting. I'd be pretty nervous out in one of those ice fishing shacks.

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    1. Oh, yeah. I'm nervous to go out on the lake even in the middle of the winter, let alone when the ice is melting! I love to see the ice formations, though.

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  23. Looks like you picked a perfect day for your walk! Our weather too has been more reminiscent of April than March. I'm surprised that those ice fishing shacks weren't moved much sooner as well - you wouldn't catch me walking out on that lake, much less towing a shack!

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    1. No, I only go on the lake when it's been frozen for a long time and it's still cold. I haven't walked over there this week, but I wonder if the lake is thawed now. Our weather is weird this week!

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  24. Those images of the ice sheets on shore are great. Not sure I've ever seen that up close.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I wonder if similar formations happen on the other Madison lakes. I'll have to check out Monona, Mendota, and Wingra sometime. It's fascinating to see, and the formations are different every year.

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  25. This was fun. Enjoy your break.
    Think Spring :-))
    Carla

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Carla. Are you having the same wacky weather (like a yo-yo) we are this week? First, it's really warm, and the next day it barely makes it above freezing. I guess this happens every year, but it seems more extreme this year...

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  26. What a beautiful walk, though you wouldn't catch me on the lake ice with all those melting patches! Truly a landscape in transition.

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    1. Yes, it was a lovely day. Change is accelerating here, some warm days, and then right back to winter. It's frustrating, but I guess it happens every year.

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  27. I have always wanted to participate but it was never anything but snowy here at the end of Feb/beginning of March....of course this year I could have done it but was away.....love the ice heaving images and the last one says it all...spring is here early...although just beginning here. I think you are a bit more ahead.

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    1. It's a fun meme--even if you still have snow. I find the tiny, barely perceptible changes of a northern climate moving from winter to spring quite fascinating. I'm getting a little tired of our "yo-yo" weather, though. ;-)

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  28. Nothing like a brisk walk to blow away those winter cobwebs Beth. Fascinating images of the ice and snow. Thank you so much for sharing your walk with us. I had no idea folks put shacks out on the ice for fishing. You learn something every day.

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    1. Yes! Quick walks in a chilly season can be refreshing...if I can motivate myself to get going! You're welcome, Angie, and thanks for walking along!

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  29. wonderful photos, Beth, I found them deeply satisfying and spent quite a while looking at them. Ice fishing shacks are new to me. Have a good break from blogging.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. I always enjoy photos from other parts of the world. It's so much fun to visit Australia through your blog! I had a nice break, and now I'm trying to catch up again!

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  30. How fascinating, getting a little peek into the world beneath the ice and snow, and watch as it melts away. I linked to the older post by mistake so am linking again, my lesson learned about overplanting and having the shrubs or trees turn into unruly monsters down the road.

    How fascinating, getting a little peek into the world beneath the ice and snow, and watch as it melts away. I linked to the older post by mistake so am linking again, my lesson learned about overplanting and having the shrubs or trees turn into unruly monsters down the road.

    http://weedingonthewildside.blogspot.com/2016/03/peak-hellebores-plus-march-14-2016.html

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    1. Hi Hannah: Thanks for joining in! I think most of us deal with those "overplanting" issues at one time or another. There are times of the year here when everything grows so fast! Soon, we'll be in prime growing season!

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  31. Your winter is more challenging than ours but it sure is beautiful. I seem to have fallen off your email notification list. When I tried to re-up, they wouldn't recognize my email address. Anyway, that's why I haven't been following and commenting as before.

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    1. Hi Ricki: Yes, it's pretty here, just a little cold a little too long. But we have our ways of coping. ;-) I don't know what's up with the email list. I'll take a look. Thanks for letting me know.

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  32. The photos of the ice formations along the shore was worth the walk for me.
    -Ray

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