Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Frost!

It was COLD this morning!  But instead of getting the snow that had been predicted, we found instead a bright blue sky, clear ground, no wind, and frost all over the windshield of my car.  Oh boy, I thought, perfect conditions for Frostweed!  My friend Sue and I had arranged to meet at Moreau Lake this morning to hike in the woods, but I was sure she would want to go look for Frostweed instead.  And so she did, but first we had to stop by the lake to watch the mist rise from the surface.  Lovely!

We then made our way to Mud Pond and the powerline right-of-way that runs along the north shore.  Here in the clearcut is where we find lots and lots of Frostweed (Helianthemum canadense) growing in the sandy soil,  as well as many other low-growing plants that we expected to find covered with a fine coating of frost.

And so we did.  Here's beautiful blue-green Sweetfern and rosy Little Bluestem Grass, all dusted with silver sparkles.

The bright red leaves of Cinquefoil were outlined in frost.

The baby Bear Oaks had leaves of the most amazing colors, enhanced by a fine dusting of sparkles.

 Last year, the power company treated all of the shrubs under the powerline with herbicide, so that most of the Bear Oaks and American Hazelnuts died off.  But now these shrubs seem to be recovering, sending forth new shoots from the old roots, new growth that seems to be far more colorful than the old shrubs ever were.  This photo is of a new shoot of American Hazelnut,

Common Mullein has produced its leafy rosettes that will winter under the snow and then send up tall flower stalks next summer.  This morning's frost emphasized the fuzziness of the leaves.

These little gray mushrooms looked as if they had been rimmed in silver.

And there they were -- the frothy curls that emerge from the stems of Frostweed when the nights are cold enough that the stems develop fissures, releasing a fine vapor of sap that freezes solid in the air.

Not very solid, though, since this frothy frozen vapor melts at a touch, or even if we breathe on it too closely.  So fragile!  And so pretty.

Within a matter of just a few moments, a breeze developed and blew across the water of the pond, carrying with it warmer, more humid air.  When we turned around to retrace our steps, we found that the frost had promptly disappeared, leaving only a trace of dampness that lent a shining gleam to the leaves.


Raining Iguanas said...

Amazing how you take a frosty morning and turn it in to a High Def color extravaganza. Some of the best fall photos I've seen.

Rathore said...

Amazing view i love it thanks for sharing it.niagara falls

catharus said...

Amazing detail and colors! Beautiful!

The Furry Gnome said...

Gorgeous colours, especially in those little oaks. We haven't had a serious frost yet, even though we had the snow yesterday.

Carolyn H said...

It looks as though your frost was a lot harder than mine down here in PA. I had a few snowflakes but nothing as serious as a flurry

Unknown said...

Frost weed..what a wonderful concept! I at first wondered what special plant "Frost Weed" would be. No frost on LI yet..the latest in 20 years of record keeping. Stunning photos!

Paul said...

It is always a joy to read your column and the photos make me feel as if I'm there with you. Still think there is a great book waiting to come out from your authorship.

Ellen Rathbone said...

The leaves are just gorgeous!!! And frostweed, too! I have yet to see that.