Ice, Not So Nice

I’m tired of ice. This is New York State. We’re supposed to have tons of snow. Not ice, slush and rain every other day. I have ice two inches thick on my driveway. I can’t even wheel my garbage containers to the curb because of the ice. I’m done with it. I’m staying inside until it stops. That’s not a threat, it’s a promise.  Because nobody knows how to drive on ice.

I am requesting a melting of the ice on my driveway, then some real winter snow. It doesn’t need to be deep like when I was a kid, but just sufficient so it can protect plant roots and so I can play in it for a little while.

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March 6, 1971, LaFayette, NY

Niagara Falls Ice Bridges

Mon@rch sent me some really cool photos of Niagara Falls Ice Bridges a while back, and I’ve been wondering about this phenomenon ever since. Well, I finally found my answer while reading Nature’s Niagara, A Walk on the Wild Side, by Paul Gromosiak. Yes, I could have looked it up on the Internet, too, and now that I know about it, I find tons of stuff out there about it.

Hokey, where to start. Mon@rch says he doesn’t know where the photos came from, so I can’t ask or credit the source. There’s a great online collection from the Niagara Falls Public Library called Historic Niagara Digital Collections in case you want to search for more photos.

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Amazing, huh? I’ve been to Niagara Falls in the middle of winter and seen the ice build up, but nothing like this, nothing that I can even imagine wanting to walk across. But I’ll let the book tell you why. And no, it isn’t because of global warming.

From pages 74 & 76 of the above mentioned book:

Ice Bridges. Nearly every winter ice floes from Lake Erie go over Niagara Falls and mass together in the gorge from shore to shore forming a bridge of ice over the liquid water.

On March 29, 1848, gusts of wind dammed up the Niagara River at its source, nearly drying up the falls for a day. People on both sides of the river were astounded and humbled. It was possible to frolic on the riverbed where no person had ever been.

After the dam broke up, the ice formed a bridge from just below the falls to Lake Ontario. It was possible for people [to] go to (sic) from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Youngstown by walking or riding a horse. Ice boulders as high as 50 feet (15 meters) did a lot [of] damage to structures along the shores of the lower Niagara River.

Until a fatal accident in 1912, people were permitted to go on the ice bridges. In January of 1938, the ice in the gorge was able to knock down the Honeymoon Bridge.

The ice bridges have been less impressive since the 1960s when Ontario Hydro and the New York Power Authority began installing the ice boom at the source of the Niagara River. The boom is a chain of floating barrels across much of the river which controls the movement of ice floes from Lake Erie.

For more on this phenomenon from Niagara Parks you can click here. Alrighty then. I don’t think I would have walked on that ice back then, no matter how thick it was! Would you?

Much Better Day! Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, Lake Ontario at Durand Eastman Park

So I played with my blog by upgrading it to 2.1.2 and added sidebar widgets for a while (update: which I have since had to stay up to midnight Tuesday night to remove them and downgrade to WordPress 2.0.7 because 2.1.2 isn’t working properly and now I have to fix all of my links), and then headed out to 1000 Acre Swamp and encountered the sign “Parking Lot Closed For the Winter.” I drove back in there anyway. The driveway was full of snow, ice, mud and water:

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And swamps on either side of me:

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And the parking lot was still snowed in: Shoot.

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Hey, I’m declaring winter is gone, let’s get that snow plowed out of there! I was ready with my hiking boots to slog through some deep water if I had to, just to find birds and skunk cabbage and other things. No place to park without getting towed. Okay, change of plans.

I went out to the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse on Lake Ontario which was built in 1822. The keeper’s house was built in 1863.

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The following information is from the detailed sign:

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A Heritage Harbor – The outlet of the Genesee River has always been an important location for commerce. Native Americans camped here, the first white settlers chose this site to build a cabin, and the bluff was also recognized as the best location for the beacon that marked the entrance to a growing lakeport.

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A Strategic Location – Charlotte was once a bustling commercial shipping port, the destination of sidewheelers and sailing vessels unloading supplies for a growing city and loading products from the region. Today the harbor is still an unimportant hub, but now it is used primarily by recreational boaters.

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Timeline (some dates were hard to read, so they may be off by ten or twenty years).

1781 First Light on the Great Lakes at Mouth of the Niagara River

1789 Lighthouses Become Federal Responsibility

1792 Hincher Cabin Built

1822 Lighthouse and Original Keeper’s Dwelling Built

1829 First Piers Built

1838 Pier Light Built

1856 New Lantern and Fresnel Lens Added

1863 Present Keeper’s House Built

1881 Light Remove from Service. Lantern Moved to Pier

1905 Lighthouse Saved from Demolition. Primarily by Efforts of Charlotte High School Students.

1984 Initial Restoration Begun

Daffodils in front of the Keeper’s House – another sure sign of spring – woo hoo!

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My next destination was Irondequoit Bay, but first I stopped along the Lake Ontario shoreline at Durand Eastman Park (which is a place for exploration for another day or two or three or . . .). Here’s the pier with the light mentioned above:

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Same gulls I’ve seen a million times now, but that’s okay, I like it when they spread their wings:

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The beach is a mixture of sand and ice-snow – it felt really nice to walk on sand again:

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Since this post is getting really long, I’ll save my blogging about Irondequoit Bay for next time! I got at least one new lifer there! Yay!

However, I will say this morning I woke up to the rusty gate sound of Grackles. Yay! The Grackles are back. Also the crows (thanks Susan). When I got home a crow was doing its thing in my yard:

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Growing Icicles, Squirrel Flinging Snow

This icicle on my neighbor’s house really freaks me out. It grows a little bit every day and I’m waiting to see just how long it will get before something happens. I took this photo through my window:
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And then I was looking for anything moving and saw this squirrel flinging snow – wait for it, he’ll fling the snow twice – I thought it was too cute even though I haven’t got the art down of not moving (sorry it’s a wiggly video taken from far away and through my sliding glass door).

The Moon, The Stars and The Flash Card

So I went to bed early with every intention of getting to sleep earlier than I have been and also so I can get up early tomorrow and remembered I didn’t get my US mail. And with my new flash card for my camera expected any day I figured it may be out in the mailbox getting colder and colder. So I got up, got my outside duds on, and what did I see when I went out? The full moon and a sky full of stars – I haven’t seen stars here in a long time due to all of the ambient light. And since it was snowing earlier I didn’t even bother looking for the moon. So I was out at 11:30 in way below freezing temps taking moon and star photos. Not as interesting as the other night and a bit off center due to my wiggling at high zoom, but still, a nice full moon.

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And I didn’t feel like raking my roof today and knocking icicles down (bad Pam) and those created eerie shadows in the night.

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Oh, and my flash card did arrive, I let it warm up while I was out taking photos. I just stuck it in, formatted it, and I can now take ten times the amount of photos (that’s ridiculous – 1195 photos) but the part I like is I’ll be able to take photos and movies without using up the entire card in one place. What did I end up buying? A 2G flash drive. Why? I did the math. A 512M flash drive cost $20. A 2G flash drive cost $45. A 4G flash card costs $180 (that’s out of the picture, so to speak). If I bought 4 512M cards it would cost $80. 2G is obviously the way to go money-wise right now. And it takes up less room to carry a 2G card around than 4 512M cards.

Now I’m going back to bed.

Everything Is Quiet on the Bay!

Since we’re having a heat wave here today (hey 27 degrees F is much warmer than 0 degrees F), I stopped at LaSalle’s Landing Park again to see if I could find any new birds. The first thing I spied was. . . a tent in the bay. Alrighty then. I still see unfrozen water pretty close to this tent, so the ice has to be pretty thin. I don’t get the thrill of it.

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No Great Blue Heron hanging out here today:
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There were a bunch of gulls hanging out beyond this but I didn’t capture any good photos of them. Besides I’ve shown them enough for now. I love the way the water is freezing in swirl patterns:
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As I turned around to leave I captured this small barn. I have no clue if it is still being used for anything. 2007-01-27 028

While I was waiting at a red light I captured the side of a the Sticky Lips Pit BBQ restaurant:
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Why? Because I love old signs:
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Full Serve! Do you remember getting full service at a gas station? Actually there is a place across town that has the most reasonable gas and is still full serve. Too bad it’s too far away to make it worth driving there:

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A Cold, But Magical Day

The precipitation finally stopped this afternoon and the sun came out for a little while before it set tonight. I went outside to get rid of the snow where it doesn’t belong and then took some photos. This photo of ice sparkling on my silver maple really caught my attention. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do it full justice:

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The ice and snow was pretty on my lilac shrub:

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This shrub needs a serious pruning – I’ve never pruned it – the previous owners planted it *way* too close to the house and I threaten to take it out every year and never do. It does either need to come out or get a major pruning this summer.

Here’s the Rose-of-Sharon again with snow on top of the ice weighing it down even more than yesterday:

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I also like the little icicles hanging from my clothes line in back of this shrub. And here’s some ice and snow on the plants I leave in my garden:

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And now I know why I bolted out of bed from a sound sleep at midnight last night. I heard someone walking their dog across my lawn. I hate that with a passion . That’s what the road is for!
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(Why I hate it is if *they* get hurt on my property it would be *my* fault). Time to put in some Rosa rugosas around my property this summer! Not only are they really prickery, but I *love* the smell of the roses. Here’s a young one just starting to blossom in May of 2005.
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Ohhhh, I can’t wait to see color like that again!!

One of *Those* Days and . . .

Phew! It’s been one of *those* days here. If you have ever been through a major ice-storm listening to your favorite trees’ limbs breaking off, living with no electricity for over a week and ice everywhere inches thick, then you know how it feels when you see ice forming all over the trees and the weatherman says it isn’t letting up. I have been on pins and needles all day long just hoping my electricity stayed on (and I hope it still does because it’s not over with yet). Even though I don’t like ice accumulation on anything, it did make for a couple of cool photos. Here’s ice on the much blogged about Rose-Of-Sharon:

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And little icicles hanging all over from the top of my deck:

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One of the many times I looked outside, guess who I saw!! The grown up babies were back for a visit! These photos were taken through the sliding glass door so they wouldn’t bolt. Here’s a butt shot of the first one:

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And here’s the second one:

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For anyone relatively new to my blog, I had two fawn lying all over my back yard this past summer. If you want to see photos that make you say “ahhhhh, they’re sooooo cute!” then you’ll want to click on the link to see the two fawns. It’s always nice to see “my” babies again!

I hope everyone has had a great day honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.