narrow hard-walled holes in the snow
Tuesday, February 25 2014
This morning I walked the dogs for the first time in a week. Due to that recent partial thaw, there was enough of a crust to permit me to walk off-trail without snowshoes. The snow still gave beneath my weight, but it only did so by about an inch and a half, which actually gave me more traction than is available when there is no snow at all. Still, these conditions were somewhat tiring to walk in both for me and the dogs. We managed to do the loop consisting of the Farm Road to the Chamomile Headwaters Trail to the Stick Trail and then back home. Along the way, we crossed numerous (though always solitary) deer tracks, most of which looked to have been made before the thaw and consisted of narrow hard-walled holes in the snow that reached all the way to the ground. Such holes are actually somewhat dangerous to a dog, another deer, or any other creature with thin legs; it's possible to accidentally step into such a hole, trip, and break a leg.
This patch of forest is the among the least productive local land outside the Catskills themselves, and so it shouldn't surprise me that I didn't see evidence of large groups of deer (something that I do occasionally see in these woods in warmer weather). There was one place under a hemlock where it looked like a couple deer had lain (and shat) in the snow and spent the night, but there was nothing resembled a cattle feedlot. I'm not clear on what exactly deer eat when the snow is this deep, though if they can subsist on White Pine needles and hemlock (both of which are abundant) they should be alright. (When I was a teenager, we used to cut down small Virginia Pines and give them to the goats in the wintertime. But a Virginia Pine needle is thicker, sweeter, and more succulent than the wispy needle of a White Pine.)
There was sun in the morning, which seemed to promise good conditions in the greenhouse. But then a layer of altostratus moved in and made it into yet another five o'clock day.
Throughout the day, I made good progress on two different web development projects. Keeping busy in dreary winter weather is essential to mental health and an all-around better solution to the problem than, say, drinking.
Taking a nice hot bath is also helpful, and I did that as well.
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