We are now in a warming period that has the optimistic among us believing that Spring will arrive not only by calendar but by the emergence of soil from under its icy blanket in less than two weeks. Getting back from Florida last week, I spent four days chipping and shoveling out the (hopefully) final blast of the artic season. As Juana was only able to keep the driveway clear, many areas had been untouched by shovel leaving me to tackle them. Because of successive thawing and freezing cycles, I was faced with shoveling a multi-layered cake of fluffy, dry snow iced with ice. A shovel was only partially effective as I needed to cut out pieces before I could move them away.
We were lucky in that we didn’t suffer much ice damage save a gutter being pulled away from the house. The icicles and ice dams look artistic albeit threatening as they ranged from tiny triangles to 6 foot long columns appearing to hold up sides of the house. Every so often my house liberated a hunk of ice with a crash.
The strangest thing that occurred was how ice formed around a chain that I had left on a plant hook. During most of the season, just a small amount of ice dangled on the chain, hanging down like a lumpy frozen treat to be licked by a very large child. But during my absence, something happened that seemed to defy gravity. As you can see from the picture on the left, the chain moved from the vertical. And from the position of the icicles, at one point the chain was perpendicular to the vertical slats of my house with icicles hanging as they should. (This was in full view the night before, but I had been too lazy to photograph it.) Over the last few days the chain became more a slave to gravity, falling back to vertical and yesterday was empty of ice. A mystery of the winter.