Pond Ice and Green Thoughts

February 3rd, 2009

Too busy catching up on projects and activities over the weekend.  Ah, but that’s good right?  The weather can’t make up it’s mind however, swinging from cold to warm days and back again.  I think tonight the low will be around 7 degrees F, but in a couple of days the high will reach well above 50 degrees.  Just maybe this is the last really cold spell for the winter?  The ice will probably be gone in a week or so.  I’ve started making the rounds and pruning a few more trees- and it’s time to prune the apple trees too.  That’ll be a project for this weekend, along with the garden if we have time.

The snow melted off most areas around the property, but the pond is still frozen over.  I was never quite confident enough to walk on the ice beyond the really shallow corners.  I did see some folks ice fishing on a few smaller ponds in the local area.  Our pond is mostly filled from the watershed, with many warmer spots where the groundwater runs off the property- hence the ice along some of the shoreline areas is far too unstable.

I’m not sure if these cracks in the ice go all the way through, but I’m not walking out there to check either!  The snow has melted off, but the ice has gone through several freeze and thaw cycles.

Cracks in pond ice

Here’s where one of the circles in the ice has thawed, with cracks branching out.   The stump was from a hundred year old oak tree that had a rope swing on it from two decades ago.  The tree eventually died and woodpeckers tore it all apart.   I wonder how long it will last…

Hole in the pond ice

It’s not all ice, snow, brown and gray…  I found my little Shortleaf Pine tree the other day- actually there’s two of them.  They were the only two that survived after planting a couple dozen seedlings two years ago.  But this one is doing great, and has started developing branches.  

Shortleaf Pine

Naturally I picked a drought year to attempt planting those seedlings in the spring of 2007.   If I had done the same last year the survival rate would have been much higher.   But I’ve ordered more native plants again- especially smaller shrubs and trees that help local wildlife such as sumac, buttonbush, elderberry, etc.  (I love having elderberry plants around- they’re great for sauce and jelly during the late summer’s harvest!).   The plants will arrive in March or April, and I’ll spend a week or two trying to figure out where to put the seedlings.

I really appreciate Missouri’s State Forest Nursery and the fact that they make native plants available at very fair prices.  It’s almost too easy these days to choose landscaping plants that really don’t belong in many regions across the country.  We may see a plant or shrub we really like but without realizing it we end up spreading invasive species that detract from the biodiversity of the native environment.    I do appreciate new plants and beautiful landscaping, but at least for the fields and forests in Missouri’s rural areas I hope to foster a more natural approach with native plants.  It makes you wonder though- we’ve got non-native Autumnberry trees around that are very invasive, and yet they’ve been here for about a hundred years now.  I’ve got a bunch of them I need to cut back and remove, but at least the Autumnberry fruit is edible and can make decent jelly too.

7 Responses to “Pond Ice and Green Thoughts”

  1. Both you and Pablo are doing a great thing planting native plants around your land and I can’t wait until the day comes when I can do the same.

    I too would like for this to be the last cold streak but I’m not holding my breath. But I’m going to take full advantage of this warm weather due to hit in a couple days!

  2. pamela

    That’s a nice tree you have, Charlie Brown.
    It’s tremendous that you plant native species that offer support to wildlife.

  3. Ed- I imagine you’re at least a week or two later than us? Somehow all at once I’m ready for the cold to be finished!

    Pamela- It IS my Charlie Brown tree… so nice of you to notice :) Wouldn’t it be neat someday to see what it grows up to look like?!

  4. Over the years I’ve planted several hundred trees/shrubs from the state nursery. It really is a great service, and it’s handy that the trees are cheap since I’ve lost about half of the trees I’ve planted.

  5. Pablo- Wow, that is great. And if you’ve only lost about half, your success rate is very good indeed. My first year was over 200 seedlings… I won’t do that again! The last couple of years I just ordered 50-75, but they send so many in those bundles!

  6. folks up here may be ice fishing for another month! We’re to have some rain and highs in the mid 40s this weekend, but it cools back off next week–was -6 last night at bedtime, a +6 this morning! A nice pond you have there.

  7. Sage- I’ve always wanted to try ice fishing… but another month! You guys must be a month behind us… :)

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