Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11, 2011

Winter creeps ever closer towards New Hampshire and Lake Wicwas.  There have been one or two glimpses of snow in the area, and an occasional skim of ice along the shores of the lake, but it is looking like we'll have a late ice-in for the start of the 2011-2012 winter.  People up north are trying to make up for what nature is lacking, and the product of snow guns can be seen forming a white arc on Mount Tecumseh from the north-facing hills around the lake.
Snow Making at Waterville Valley Ski Area

Back closer to home, the full Cold Moon could be seen setting late in the morning behind a thin ribbon of ice.
Cold Full Moon

It is quite strange to see the full moon hanging so high in the sky late in the evening - well above the trees, much higher than the sun rises at its zenith.  The full moon has a trajectory opposite of the sun, so near the solstice, when the sun is low, the moon rises high in counterbalance.

I mentioned in November that the November full moon was known as the Trading Moon.  It is also called the Beaver Moon, and this year, that certainly is fitting.  Since last week, the beaver have been back to the same area, clearing more and more of the trees.  But if you want your trees back you know where to find them - they have used them to construct a second story on their lodge for an in-law apartment!
Fresh Timber on the Beaver Loddge

The heavy rain this week has brought the lake back up near flood level again, at almost a foot above normal level even with the dam allowing a very large flow.  I saw one pair of common mergansers near the south end of the lake, and still more pairs of ducks.

Hunting season ended this week, and some of the local deer have eluded the hunter's sights, as we found fresh hoof prints after the heavy rains.  We also found evidence of an animal strategically marking its territory in a highly visible - and olfactory - location. It is most likely a fox, as this is their characteristic mark, and it's on a trail where I often see fox, but it's large enough that it could have been a coyote.

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