Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Fun on a Frozen Lake!

My pal Sue and I like to kid each other about being "cheap dates":  it doesn't take much to amuse us when we're out together in nature.  And since some of our greatest amusements can be found on a frozen lake, we were truly primed for fun when we visited Moreau Lake last Sunday afternoon.  The lake was covered with ice, gleaming beneath a bright-blue sky!

Well, most of it was, anyway.  We could tell there was still some open water even before we arrived on shore, from the cacophony of honking geese arrayed around an open area out in the middle of the lake.  We could hear their racket even before we could see the lake. (But why are they up on the ice, and not in the water?  Hmmm.  Good question!)

There was definitely ice near the shore, ice that had frozen clear as glass.  We could see the minnows darting away from out footfalls as we approached.

In some places, the ice was so clear and smooth, we almost weren't sure if the water was really frozen.  Turned out that it was, but not yet thick enough to bear our weight.   See how it cracked as soon as I stepped on it:

When we rounded the shore into the cove, however, we found the ice was much thicker.  Back here in the sheltered cove, the surface had been frozen for nearly a week, allowing us to venture safely out at least a few feet from shore.

And here the fun began!  Here, the lake bottom is mucky, rather than sandy, with the muck releasing lots of methane bubbles as it decays.  Those bubbles freeze in descending layers as the water freezes over time, creating displays of icy beauty.  In this photo, the topmost bubbles were encrusted with crystals of hoarfrost.

The bubbles come in many sizes.  The big ones here were between two and three inches across, the smallest ones no bigger than the head of a pin.

Some of the bubbles look like stacks of silvery coins.  And see the threadlike streams of tiny bubbles, too.

Whoa!  These streams of tiny bubbles look as if they were exploding!  It sure remains a mystery to me how this configuration could occur.

Or this one, that looks like a furry snake!

Of course, we found many fallen leaves embedded in the ice.

But what happened to the leaf that once was embedded here?  Did it somehow sink to the bottom? Or was it merely resting on top of the ice and eventually blew away?   Lots of puzzles, most of which we will never know the answers to.

Did I mention before, that we are easily amused? Just turn me loose in a winter cattail patch and see how happy that makes me!  (Sue took this video.)


Nancy Peterson said...

LOVE the whole piece and the piece de resistance with the cattail video was hysterical.... especially the spitting at the end !!!!!

Bill and dogs said...

The cattail video made me happy. It's wonderful to enjoy the glories of nature.

Unknown said...

Thank you, so much for keeping the winter joy alive. I miss your excitement and wonder! Your video made me laugh out loud.

Momo said...

Fun!!! I love the ghost oak leaf and the video especially. We were up above on Sunday at the lookout watching the geese arrive and glide to the ice edges for a rest. Then on to toast ourselves by the warming hut fireplace. The many joys of Moreau!

Pat Fitzgerald said...

I love your blog, Jackie. Good to see you and Sue having some fun!

Woody Meristem said...

Beautiful bubbles in the ice. Don't ever grow up, always enjoy simple pleasures.