Early skiing

I just came in from feeding the donkeys, Moses and Jethro. What a change out there in comparison to when I wrote a few months back about them being in donkey camp at the top of our powerline. Then the weather was hot, dry and sunny till eight or so in the evening. Now we have snow on the ground, it is 12 degrees, and it soon will be dark out. We think that the donkeys actually prefer this time of year, as it means that there are no flies or mosquitoes bothering them. There's a lot to be said for that.

The other thing that came true is that I pulled out my skis yesterday, and ventured up to the Lonely Lake trail for a look around. It has been more than twenty years, I think, since I was able to ski in November. That is mainly due to time, but also some years to lack of snow. Just as I remembered and expected, the trail was wet under the snow, but I still was able to ski for a good mile or so. It was great to be back out there! Several tracks pointed the way for me, but not the kind layed out by the ski groomer. Deer, fox, people, wolves and birds had gone down the trail before me. Occasionally, I would encounter a puddle, where the ground and the water were still so warm that the snow hadn't even covered things up. In other spots, my ski would plant down into slush, and the bottom would get coated. For anyone that skis, they know all about these slushy patches that instantly stop your skis on the next glide. I scraped the icy mass off my ski bottom and continued on. My "ski legs" started to come back, meaning I was able to make it down the hills and still do the snowplow. The whole time, and again today, snowflakes were falling lazily from the sky. I would love a huge snowfall right about now, but even those individual flakes start to add up. So keep it coming!

At the bottom of the powerline hill, I saw a pattern in the snow from a grouse. Sometimes they flutter one wing and turn in a circular motion while they do so. I can't say why, this is all I know. But as I looked at it, I decided that it is the partridge's version of a snow angel. Keep an eye out there in the woods--you may spot one someday, too.