Wednesday 30 November 2022


    Yesterday minutes before 5:00 PM Pacific Time (6:00 Mountain Time), I was lying in my bed reading on my iPad.  Suddenly my bed seem to gently rise a bit, then lower.  There wasn’t any noise or anything.  I wondered if maybe an earthquake had happened.  I have an earthquake app on my iPad, so immediately went to see if it showed anything.  It didn’t, so I went on reading.

    About 15 minutes later, I went back and checked the QuakeFeed app again and it showed a 5.8 magnitude earthquake had occurred 240 miles away in Peace River, Alberta.  (The map above shows a later quake of magnitude 5.3 at the same location.)   The dark blue dot is where I live.  

    I doubt anyone else around here felt anything, what I felt was quite weak.

    Alberta is experiencing more and more earthquakes due to all of the fracking that they do.  Earthquakes rarely happened there before the fracking.  Although so far the news reports haven’t mentioned fracking, I am sure they soon will.

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Tuesday 29 November 2022

Brilliant Blue Skies

    How quickly things change.  Yesterday I was complaining about the lack of color and how everything was just shades of gray.  Well, as you can see from the photo, that is certainly not the case today.  Of course during the winter there is a price to be paid for clear skies, especially at night.   It can get really cold without the cloud cover.  

    This morning we woke up to -25°C (-13°F).  

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Monday 28 November 2022

Snowy Path

    This is the path along the pond dam that I took yesterday.  What strikes me is that it is all gray and white; it is devoid of any color.  That is one of the things I find hard to take during the winter, there is just not color, unless we get a blue sky.

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Sunday 27 November 2022

Missing Panes

    This morning when I looked out over the greenhouse, I noticed that I now have some panes of glass missing from the greenhouse.  We had some really strong winds lately and the panes, that had been held down with silicone, must have blown loose.  This has happened before, as the silicone and the paint on the wood, ages.  Hopefully they have blown off intact, sometimes they do, so I can just collect them and put them back up, this time secured with some small brad nails.  

    At least this time they weren’t broken by a tree branch that had blown onto the greenhouse

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Saturday 26 November 2022

An Unexpected End to the Pig Story

    Yesterday at the end of the blog, I was waiting for the owners of the escaped pig to arrive and cart her back home, but as usual, what I was expecting was not what happened.  Three friendly, older teens arrived in a pickup truck (no trailer to haul the pig away) and surveyed the situation.

    By the time they arrived, the pig had left the spot where it had been sleeping against our house, but I saw it over by the compost pile.  I got a bucket of very old corn, left over from when we used to have chickens, to try to tempt the pig to follow me.  The pig seemed disoriented and wasn’t really interested in the corn, but seemed to follow me anyway.  I led her into our fenced garden, then shut the gate so she couldn’t get out.

    The teenage boy, son of a local farm family, asked me if I minded if they shot the pig in my garden.  He said that if I did mind, that was okay, they would come pick it up, take it somewhere, and then shoot it there.  I knew it would be a lot less stressful for the pig to be shot where it was, exploring the garden, so said it was okay to shoot it there.

    The deed was quickly done, then the three began the difficult job of dragging the 300+ lb. (140 kg) corpse across the garden, across the yard and to the pickup truck.  Luckily I had some 2 X 12 boards we could use as a ramp to get the pig into the bed of the pickup.   Once the pig was positioned at the bottom of the ramp, I helped as we rolled the heavy carcass over and over, and up the ramp and into the bed of the pickup.

    I was thanked several times for all of my help, goodbyes were said, and up the driveway the pickup carrying the pig went.

    It was a sad ending.  It was not the first time the pig had escaped.   About a month or so ago it had made a sudden appearance at a neighbor’s property.  Our place was a bit further to go for the porker.  It had walked 1.2 kms. (3/4 mile) if it traveled in a fairly straight line to get to our place.  One of the teens mentioned that they didn’t want to have to feed the pig all winter long, so I guess it’s fate was sealed.

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Friday 25 November 2022

    Our peaceful morning exploded into loud, uncontrollable, chaos, when my wife opened the door to  walk Kona.  Kona immediately knew something was amiss, charged away, madly barking, trailing her leash behind her.  When I  looked out of the window to investigate, my wife was sitting in the snow, arms holding Kona tightly against the garden fence, frantically trying to calm the dog, who was going nuts.  I went out into the dusky yard, to help, then noticed a strange big creature, slowly ambling toward me.  

    The low light didn’t help me figure out what it was.  It was white, with black patches around the eyes, and my first guess made absolutely no sense; it looked like a dirty panda.  As it got closer I realized it was a huge pig.  It didn’t seem at all aggressive, so I went to to helping my wife get Kona into the house.

    Being inside the house didn’t do anything to stop Kona from barking, or going berserk.  I tried to calm her by shutting her in the upstairs bedroom, but all that did was muffle her terrible barking a bit.

    There aren’t many people who own pigs nearby, and I quickly figured out where this one had probably come from.  As we ate our breakfast, the sow nestled down outside, beside the house, to rest.

    I didn’t really know the probable pig owners but after I had eaten, I drove to their house.  Their front yard was a ramshackle of pens, shacks, and barking dogs.  I knocked on the door and all of their inside dogs started going crazy.  I asked the woman who opened the door if she was missing a pig.  She replied that she might be.

    I described the pig and where I lived and she sounded like they would rig up a trailer and come and get it.  So far, an hour and a half later, we are still waiting.

    Each morning when we wake, we sure don’t know what the day has in store for us.  Life is full of surprises and this one was sure unexpected.


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Thursday 24 November 2022

Ice Design

    I haven’t had much outdoor activity lately, but I did manage to walk Kona around the pond a few times.  On one of those trips, I noticed this intricate design in the ice by the pond’s outflow.  All of the frozen bubbles make it look like it has sections of soap suds.  You can see one of the green sprouts of a Bog Arum plant frozen in the ice.

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Wednesday 23 November 2022

Bear Still Around

    Last Thursday when I got back home after being in the hospital, I took a short walk with Kona.  Coming back, as I approached the front porch, I was surprised to see some fresh footprints in the dusting of snow on the sidewalk.  They looked like a person had walked barefoot through the snow, but then realized I was seeing bear prints.

    I figured that the bears would have been hibernating, but I guess, not yet.  Neighbors were also surprised to find some bear prints on their properties.  

    Surely by now, a week later, the bears must be snoozing in their dens by now, but who knows.

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Loss of Appetite

    Normally, I love to eat.  Every day I would look forward to the next meal.  That all changed when I came down with Pancreatitis, or whatever it is, that has its grip on me.  I lost my appetite almost immediately, and being on an IV meant that I really didn’t get hungry.  When they took me off of IV and started giving me solid food, I had to force myself to eat it, and when I did, it tasted so bland and tasteless, that eating became a real chore.

    The toast was in no way crisp, the eggs without salt, was not at all tasty, the fruit seemed to be designed more for appearance rather than taste, and I couldn’t even make myself sample the cream of wheat.  I took the photo after I had “finished” the meal. 

    I was eager to get back home where at least food had taste, even though I still had no appetite.  They didn’t want me to eat any food that had fat in it, and fat is what gives food a lot of its taste.  I was able to find things that I could eat that did have taste, but it still didn’t give me any desire to eat.

    Things have certainly changed.  I used to really look forward to every meal, and now I dread the approach of mealtime.  As I force myself to eat, I know that in a few hours it will cause me discomfort in the abdomen.  

    I sure would like to get back to normal.

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Sunday 20 November 2022

The Worst Night of My Life

    For weeks I have been seeing and hearing news reports about the severe strains that Canadian Hospitals have been experiencing because of the overcrowding.  The crowding was being caused by and explosion of SRV cases in kids, cases of Flu and Covid, and the shrinking of the medical staff because of burnout and resignations.     That all became real when I was sent up to the Prince George Hospital last week due my attack of Pancreatitis.  At the Prince George Hospital, there seemed to be a lot of staff, but there just wasn’t enough room for the huge influx of patients.  

   I was fortunately housed in a curtained room-like enclosure, but looking out I could see other patients whose “room” was just the hallway.  I felt very lucky.

    That all changed on my second night, when they moved me out of my “room” and rolled my bed beside the counter of the central nurses station.  They needed my old space for someone with an IV and I had been taken off the IV.  That yellow jacket is hanging on the end of my bed, where I  spent the night.   

    I knew it would be a bad night, but I hadn’t realized, just how bad.  The photo shows what is was like during the night with the lights out.  I had to tuck my head under the counter, so it would be a little dark.  There were constant conversations going on throughout the night at the nurses station, there were continual beeps and buzzes of medical machines and monitors.

    I did manage to fall asleep several times during the night, but only for short periods.  My dreams were full of rapid chaotic movements.  I certainly was in worse shape after that night than I was before it.  Fortunately, they released me from the hospital and I was very happy to be heading back home. 

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Saturday 19 November 2022

At the Prince George Hospital

    The photo shows the view beyond my covered feet, onto the line of patients bedded along the hallway of the Prince George Hospital. 

    Once I was delivered to PG, I was given blood tests, urine tests, an ultrasound, and a CT Scan in hopes to discover what exactly was wrong with me.  Like in McBride, my tests results were troubling, but even the CT Scan didn’t clarify the problem.  The physician declared it to be Pancreatitis, but the CT Scan didn’t show the expected blockage that was the suspected cause.   After 24 hours in Prince George, I was taken off the IV and started to be given hospital food.

    As I lay there, I started to learn more about the other patients that were bedded around my me.  In the next cubical was a man in his late 50‘s whose name John, who had a bad heart.  He was awaiting a stress test that would determine whether or not he would be sent to a Vancouver hospital.   He told me that his father had died from a bad heart.  His father was not a good man, a traveling salesman, who the family later learned had 5 other families hidden away in the various places he traveled.

    An 80 year old woman who whose bed was in the hallway was irate at being in the hospital.  Although her story wasn’t exactly clear, it seemed there were “hackers” living in her “house” that continually caused her problems, and disturbed the peace and her sleep.  She made an official complaint mentioning the fact that she couldn’t sleep and the official had her sent to the hospital, and there she was stuck.  Obviously, it was not a place where she would be able to get a peaceful sleep.

    There was a ruckus caused by a Native man, who started ranting and cussing about the “fuggin” white people who were “touching” him, trying to calm him down and.  He loudly yelled that he just wanted to stab himself, and poke himself.  He screamed, “Help, help”, disturbing everyone on the floor, insisting that he was calm.  Eventually they did manage to take him away.

    My dreams the first night were very rapid images, building, rebuilding, chaotic, and not very restful.  I woke often, but was able to return to sleep (and the chaotic dreams) quickly.  Conversations, the beeping on monitors, and lights continued through out the night.


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Friday 18 November 2022

In an Ambulance

    Life is sure full of unexpected incidents.   When I woke up last Saturday, the last thing I expected was that I would be whisked away to the Prince George Hospital in an ambulance, but that is what happened.  It all started shortly after eating supper, when I suddenly was wracked with pains in my abdomen.  I assumed it was a bout of food poisoning, that, after some very distressing pains and disgusting actions, would slowly disappear.

    I began experiencing powerful overwhelming chills that where scary because the caused extreme trembling that restricted my breathing.  The intense shivering lasted for 30 minutes despite all of the covers, hats and heat pads that were warming me, then they would disappear, I would slowly return to normal, but they would return about 10 hours later.

    By Monday, I figured that I had better get myself to the McBride Hospital, and they did a lot of tests that indicated that my body was seriously dehydrated, and they kept me overnight feeding me by IV. The next day they ambulanced me 2017 kms (135 miles) up to the big Prince George Hospital, where they could do more intensive testing.   

    I arrived at the hospital as I was again shuddering as the result of one of my extreme chills, and after some heated blankets, I again slowly returned to normal.  I was poked and prodded for blood tests and IV feeding.  I was allotted a curtained “room” for which I felt fortunate, because as I looked out from my space I could see other patients had to spend their days and nights in beds lined up head to toe, out in the hallway (photo below).

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Sunday 13 November 2022

Kona Photo

    I took this photo a week or so ago after Kona got a few stitches on the barbed wire wound on her chest.  We dressed her in a T-shirt so she wouldn’t lick the wound.  I think we had just put the T-shirt on her and were messing around trying to get it straight when she backed away from us and gave us this look.  It was a strange look and I don’t know exactly what she is thinking, but I thought it was an interesting photo.

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Saturday 12 November 2022

A Bag of Black Gold

    I guess I do love the local birds, I just spent $80 for a 40 lb. bag of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds to feed them.  I used to be shocked when the bags were $40, but I guess this is what they are talking about when they talk about inflation.  I sure hope this bag lasts a long time.

    I am sure we can thank Emperor Putin and his invasion of Ukraine for this price rise.  Ukraine is one of the biggest growers of sunflowers and if they can’t provide them to the world, the price of Canadian and sunflower seeds everywhere, goes up.

    I sure hope the birds appreciate what I am doing for them.

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Friday 11 November 2022

A Complicated Square

    Every day I paint a square of the painting I am working on.  I have the whole image on my computer and I zoom in on the square I am going to paint that day.  The square you see on the left is the square I had to paint today.  It was pretty complicated and chaotic and so I bisected the square with a horizontal and vertical line, then drew diagonal lines connecting the corners.  These are guide lines that help me draw everything in the right place.  I drew the same lines on the square on the canvas, before I sketched the image out.

    You will also see some white lines outlining some of the areas of color, those also I drew them onto the canvas before I began to paint.

    The square on the right shows the square I painted.  It looks pretty crude compared to the image on the left, but once it is surrounded by all of the other squares I will paint, it will look okay.

    The square is just two inches by two inches, so it is not very big.  I first sketch out everything I see onto the canvas, then begin painting.  Usually it takes me between 45 and 60 minutes to paint the square.  Today, because the square had so much going on as far as image and color, it took me an hour and a half to paint the two inch square. 

    The painting shows a tree standing in front of a sandstone rock face that I saw at Zion National Park.  Below is what the painting looks like so far.  Can you spot that square I painted today?

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Thursday 10 November 2022

Holes in the Woodpile

    Getting and preparing firewood in the spring is always a big job and it is always gratifying to see it all stacked and ready to go for the winter, but then when winter finally hits and I start going through it to keep the house warm, it is always pretty stressful to see the firewood disappear.  That is what has been happening over the last few days as unusually cold weather for this time of year, has hit us.

    The temperature this morning when we got up was -21°C (-6°F) and it was a few degrees colder the night before, so we have been starting to go through a lot of firewood to keep the house warm.  The daytime temperatures have “highs” around -10°C (14°F), which hasn’t been too bad because the sun is shining and there is no wind.

    Every winter, as the firewood starts to disappear, I start to worry if we will have enough to get us through.  Every year, we do make it through with some left over, but you never know.

    The firewood you see left of the post is Cottonwood, which is not great for burning.  It doesn’t put out a whole lot of heat and burns rather quickly.  We burn it during the day.  On the right side of the post is Birch, which is the best firewood around here.  It burns slowly and puts out a lot of heat.  That is what I have been burning during our cold nights. 

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Wednesday 9 November 2022

Pond Outflow

    I have mentioned before that we have gravity-feed water that comes from a waterfall.  When the frigid temperatures of winter come, we have to keep the water constantly flowing so that it doesn’t freeze, so some of the water continually flows into my pond at one end.  At the other end of the pond there is an overflow, so as the water pours in one end, it flows out the other at the outflow.  

    Because it is flowing, the outflow is late to have ice form on it.  That is what you are looking at.  You can see some unfrozen water around the old fence post that is sticking up.  I was surprised a few days ago to find a duck swimming around in this little bit of open water.  All of the other ducks had migrated weeks ago.   

    It is always a treat to see open water, although as winter progresses, this will also eventually freeze on the top, but underneath the ice the water will still flow out of the pond.

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Tuesday 8 November 2022

Northern River

    Although I have seen patches of ice flowing down the Fraser River every year for decades, every time I see it, it makes me realize I live in the North.  Of course in every season there are unmistakeable signs of the northern environment I live in, it is really this flowing ice that really cements the realization. 

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Monday 7 November 2022

Teepee Across The Water

    Here is a view of the Fraser River as it looked yesterday.  I liked the fact that you could see the teepee jutting up from the bushes on the far side.  The teepee is part of the Beaver Creek Cabins complex.  It has been standing there both winter and summer for a couple of years.  It sure adds a feel of the Old West to the scene.

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Sunday 6 November 2022

Dentist Stories

One sunny summery Sunday afternoon, I was returning from my home town after a weekend visit.  I had the top down on my MG, and I was motoring down the highway with the wind in my face.  The cap I had on one of my front teeth had been starting to loosen for some reason, but as drove back to Indianapolis, I was too wrapped up in the immediate pleasures of music coming from the radio, and the sunshine on my face, to give much thought to my tooth.

Suddenly, I experienced an overwhelming urge to sneeze, and when it exploded, the cap from my tooth shot out of my mouth, clearing the windshield, then as it hit the wind streaming over the windscreen, made a U-turn and was carried over my shoulder, disappearing forever somewhere down the highway.

The next day at work, keeping my mouth closed as much as possible, I discovered that because of my low income level, I was eligible to get dental work done at the Indiana University Dental School in Indianapolis.  There they fixed me up with a temporary cap, and scheduled me for weeks and weeks of future appointments.  It seemed I had a mouth that offered lots of opportunity for learning dentists.

Having been used to small intimate dental offices, it was strange to sit in a large room, full of people in rows and rows of dental chairs, while an army of dentists-to-be walked around peering into all of the open mouths.  It was also a bit disconcerting to know that the dentist working on me was the same age as I was.  One of the student dentists there was even a high school classmate of mine.

On one of my visits, after giving me a shot of Novocaine, my student dentist had to go and get a supervisor, before going to work on me.  I sat there and sat there, waiting and waiting.  I looked around, I waited, then I waited some more.  Finally, he returned with the supervisor, explaining to him how he was going to proceed.  Once his explanation was over and he had gotten the okay, he began to grind away.  Unfortunately for me, by the time he finally began, the novocaine I had been given, had started to wear off.  After some violent twisting in the chair, and some jerks of pain, thankfully, my student dentist figured out why I was reacting the way I was, and gave me another shot before continuing.

Another dental moment that I found a bit embarrassing, happened when the supervisor who had come over to check on the work that was being done on me, noticed a squirting gland in my mouth.  To my chagrin, he called out to the whole room, full of young dentists, to come over and take a look at my squirting gland.  So I had to sit there with my mouth open, while the whole group of dental students took their turn gawking at my over stimulated gland.

Although, I realized that I was getting a lot of good dental care for cheap, after week upon week of tightly gripping the dentist chair and listening to the whirr of the drill, the experience was beginning to get a little old.  I was greatly relieved once all the work in my mouth was complete.  Because the students had to get experience doing all kind of fillings, I had one cavity filled with gold foil.  For years, afterwards, whenever I went to a dentist, he would look into my mouth with surprise, and say, “Wow, you have a gold foil.” and I would have to tell the story of my contribution to future dentistry.

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Saturday 5 November 2022

Snowy Shades of Gray

    We got our first real snowfall overnight that left us with 15 cm (6 inches) of the white stuff on the ground.  I am always happy to see snow on the ground before we get a cold snap, because it gives a bit of insulation to the ground and to the roof.   The cold snap is gradually developing, with a forecast of -9°C (16°F) tonight dipping to -22°C (-7°F) on Tuesday night.

    The temperature is just below the freezing point, so it is a wet snow and every time we take Kona outside we have to march her to the shower to melt off all of the clinging snow she has on her feet and legs.

    Just after I shot these photos the wind started to come up, blowing the snow off of the heavy laden trees.


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Friday 4 November 2022

At the Dentist's

    Weeks ago, while eating popcorn, I crunched down on an un-popped kernel and then noticed a sharp edge on a tooth.  At first I thought that a corn husk was stuck between my teeth, but soon after realized that part of the side of a tooth had sheared off.  It didn’t leave the tooth sensitive or anything, but the tooth’s sharp edge started to rasp against my tongue which made it sore.  Luckily I had previously made an appointment with my dentist in Prince George for a dental checkup on the following week.

    When I went to the checkup, the dentist rounded off the sharp edge, and suggested that I get a crown put onto the tooth.   I decided that since the tooth was still firm and healthy, it might come in handy for chewing as I grow older, so I decided I would go for a crown.  An appointment was set for this last Wednesday to do the work.  

    Waiting for two weeks for the appointment, left me plenty of time to agonize over the procedure.  I knew it meant grinding down the top of the tooth, and that filled me with fear.

    Since childhood, I have had a fear of going to the dentist.  I am sure it stems from my first dental experience that I had as a very young child.  I don’t remember it, except subconsciously, but I am sure it left me traumatized.  Here is what happened.

    When I had my baby teeth, one of the two front teeth on the bottom started to discolor and turned  gray.  The dentist said it should be pulled and my parents took me in for the procedure.  When the dentist began to pull on the tooth, it soon became evident that the bad tooth was attached to the tooth beside it and that caused a lot more trauma for my young brain, as he struggled to get the two teeth out.  

    It didn’t help matters that I had a lot of cavities as a kid, and that our dentist never used Novacaine to deaden the pain of the drilling, so going to the dentist always meant sitting there suffering as the dentist ground around on a tooth with his drill.  I was surprised to hear the other kids in my class talk about getting a shot at the dentist’s that killed the pain when he worked on their teeth.

    Like I said, I don’t remember any of this, but my mother had shown me the double-headed tooth, and I have always had a fear of dental work, and have a history of fainting during dental and medical procedures, many of which were absolutely painless, but my unconscious and deep seeded fear was always working overtime when ever I had to go to a dentist’s or doctor’s office.

    Anyway, Wednesday, I went up to the dentist, and was amazed at how quickly and painless the whole thing went.  I was given a relatively painless shot to deaden the pain before the work began.  The dental drill was very fast and things proceeded quickly.  The only real pain I experienced was that my jaw began to ache because I had to hold my mouth open so long.

    I am sure appreciative of the fact that the dental tools and procedures have improved so much during my lifetime.   

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Thursday 3 November 2022

Probably the Last of the Petunias

    We have been amazed at how well these petunias had grown this summer and were further amazed as they proceeded to thrive through the Fall, but here they are frost-bitten with snow crystals on them, so I suspect, this is finally their end.  Truly our weather has the unmistakable feel of winter to it.  Snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow and then they have a frigid -24°C (-11°F) by next Tuesday night.  Yikes!

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Tuesday 1 November 2022

The Pond is Frozen

    When you live in a place like Canada, with distinct seasons, you tend to pay attention to the seasonal changes, particularly those on either side of Winter.  We had our coldest temperature of the Fall last night, when it got down to -8°C (17°F).   When I looked out over toward the pond this morning I saw that it had frozen.   That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will stay iced up until Spring, because we may have some warming spells before the big freeze arrives, but for me, getting the first ice on the pond is always one of those noteworthy events of the season.

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