Friday, February 10, 2012

Ice on the Lake, Sun in the Sky, Fish in the Pan

Thursday, February 9:  What a day for a walk on the lake:  a radiant blue sky overhead, solid ice underfoot, fresh air in our lungs, warm sun on our backs, a good friend to frolic with, and a fisherman generous enough to share part of his catch with me.  Sweet!

After checking with staffers at Moreau Lake State Park, who assured us the ice on the lake was plenty thick enough to walk on,  Sue and I donned our Yaktrak and headed out to enjoy that wide expanse of ice and sky.  Sue was a little dubious about our safety at first, especially with the ice roaring and cracking and grumbling and growling as if it were about to explode, but I (who grew up on a Michigan lake and was used to such "singing" ice) was able to reassure her.  So off we went.

We stopped to chat with the ice fishermen and admire their catches.  Here, a man named Jim shows us some splendid  perch.

Oh my, look at the size of those fish!  Much bigger than any perch I used to catch off my daddy's dock when I was a kid.  Jim's going to have a nice supper.

The biggest, fattest perch was full of eggs, Jim told us, and when I asked him if he was going to eat them, he told me no, he didn't like them.  Oh boy!  Would he give them to me?  Yes, and gladly, he said, as he pulled out a knife and opened up that fish and gave them to me.  Luckily I had a zip-lock bag with me.  Caviar for supper!  And lots of it!

No, Sue hasn't taken a fall in this photo, she's just lying down to get a good shot of some ice formations glistening in the sun.

The ice had many different kinds of interesting cracks and crazes and ridges and more, including this patch of crystal-clear ice that was as full of bubbles as champagne

There were lots of these "ice spiders" all over the lake, and they always make me a little nervous.  They look like you could put a foot right through them, but closer inspection reveals that that black ice is plenty thick and hard.  Different people have different explanations for how they form, but I'm not sure the mystery has been solved.  My friend Ed Miller told me he'd heard they are formed when a snowfall  too heavy for the ice to support forces water to rise from tiny cracks and spread out in that spidery pattern, melting the snow and then appearing black when the water refreezes.  I don't know.  We haven't yet had a heavy snowfall this winter, and the lake was covered with "spiders" today.

Here's a photo of that perch roe, the whole clump of eggs dusted with flour and sauteed in butter until firm throughout, dressed with a little lemon and salt.  The flavor was very mild and the texture was more like polenta or couscous than caviar.  Not fishy-tasting at all.

I would have shared the roe with Sue, but she didn't want any.  However, we will be sharing supper on Friday (Feb. 10) at the annual Friends of Moreau Lake annual chili dinner, held at the Moreau Community Center on Main Street in South Glens Falls.  Good eats and cheap ($5), and after dinner you get to hear Sue and me talk about the plants and animals and people of the park while we show some photographs.  Hope some of you can join us.  Supper starts at 6.


asita said...

Oh I wish I could come!

Elizabeth said...

Interesting! This is the first year I've noticed those "ice spiders" on my own walks, and I don't know if I'm more relieved or disappointed that other people haven't come up with an easy explanation for them. They're definitely pretty, though! Thanks for sharing!

hikeagiant2 said...

A symphony - nature's art - AND dinner - does it get better?

Virginia said...

That caviar looked like a corn muffin! Very interesting, and I love the ice photos from your previous post.

One time I was skating on our neighborhood pond here in Albany, and we could see the fish swimming below the ice. So cool!

Jens said...

again, just looking in to enjoy your blog...

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for stopping by to leave your comments, dear readers. Sharing my adventures with you sure adds to their pleasure.