Tuesday, January 22, 2013
It was 5˚F when Moon-the-Dog and I went outside this morning. We both paused at the edge of the deck. Moon sniffed the deep-chilled air, looked back at me appreciatively, and went snuffling off to check things out under the cedars. Of course she has a warm fur coat. I had on thin sweat pants, a tee-shirt, and house slippers—and let's just say it didn't take me long to shoot a couple of photos, toss out a few scoops of cracked corn for the ground feeders, and make a hasty retreat back inside to wait at the entryway window for my old pooch and not risk frostbite.
Yup, it was cold out there. But not cold enough to freeze the river…at least not yet.
Since moving here to this riverbank cottage, I've become something of an expert at ice watching. When and where ice along the river forms, and how quickly, reflects many factors—water conditions including current speed and pool level, weather before the cold arrived, how long the current cold spell has endured, how cold it has been during the days and especially the nights, and such things as wind, amount of sunshine, and cloud cover.
The weather has been cold and geting progressively colder over the past several days and nights; the coldest temperatures we've seen all season. Yet only now has ice begun forming along the edges of the banks, atop the slower pools, and capping a few rocks in the big riffle. The ice-sheathes will continue to grow throughout the coming week, as temperatures are predicted to remain several degrees below freezing throughout. But any freeze substantial enough to form ice from bank-to-bank across the river's slowest stretch will have to work at it to get the job done, and it's certainly not going to happen overnight.
I will be watching.