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.
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.
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.
Along the way, I noticed many stems with seed heads, including these Goldenrods (Solidago spp.), sparkling in the bright sun.
Squirrels' nests seemed high in the trees this winter, for some reason.
Unfortunately, highly invasive Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) was getting an early start.
As I approached the lake, I could see it was still frozen. Although...
Puddles of melted ice and snow were everywhere.
I was surprised to see many ice fishing shacks still on the lake, although some owners appeared to be preparing them for transport.
The bright sun and mild temperatures were quickly melting the lake ice.
Ice heaving along the shore, common this time of year with the freeze/thaw cycle, was fascinating to see.
Moving a little closer, I peered under the snow and ice wedges to see the worlds beneath.
I imagined tiny creatures skittering beneath the crust of the ice canopy.
Back on land, little lakes formed from quickly melting ice not yet absorbed by the soil.
The volleyball court and the playground were flooded.
The stream leading to the lake was open.
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.
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.
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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!]