Yesterday our ice went out. A strong easterly wind of 20 to 30 MPH pounded the ice into our shore, grinding the pack into tiny cubes that melted quickly. The lake ice gave up the ghost without much effort this year, perhaps due to the heavy snow loads on the new ice last December. Heavy snow falls early last winter created a lot of deep slush which then eventually froze into a rather “punky” ice. This thick blanket of snow so effectively insulated the ice that, in spite of the record cold temps, we saw signs that the deer were pawing down to the slush for a drink throughout the winter. The end of April is typically when the ice goes out, so it looks like we are on track for a “normal” spring, whatever that might be?!
We are looking for a silver lining in our late spring snow yesterday. That bright spot might come in the form of nitrogen. We have heard that a late spring snow-fall was referred to a poor man’s fertilizer. A quick internet search turned up plenty of evidence that this is in fact the case. So, right now our gardens and lawn are getting a bit of a head start to the growing season.
It looks like Mabel is ready for summer. Our recent warm weather inspired this classic shot. Other recent quotable quotes from our guests: a recent text from one of our kid’s resort friends, “we are coming to HMT in 52 days, 6 hours, and 14 minutes. We are just that excited!” And this from a 5 year old grandson, overhearing an adult conversation about Half Moon Trail and evidently feeling flush with some recent Easter $: “This year we have to stay 3 days …. And I’ll pay for it …. 3 cents for 3 nights.” Thanks Liz for this great photo!
Park Rapids is home to a winter flock of trumpeter swans. These birds are huge, standing 4 foot tall with wing spans of 8 feet. The river flowing out of Fish Hook Lake is usually ice free, and these birds seem quite content to hang out all winter. A few people bring shelled corn, which I assume helps augment their limited food supply this time of year. I stopped by last week to see how many where still here. The first stop was a nice day and all the swans evidently were out feeding in the now open fields and other recently opened rivers. I stopped again a few days later; the weather had turned cold again, with more snow, and this time there were a couple dozen swans in the river. Here are a couple quick shots of our winter flock of swans.