Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Winter's Scene

A color photograph--but a world in black and white.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


From our family on Treasure Island and Lake Manitou--to your family. May your holiday be joyous and your New Year safe and prosperous.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


When you are on an island, ice takes on a whole new interest when winter comes. Will it bear my weight? How slippery is it? Is there anyway I can cross to shore? I've done some reading on the subject--and I thought I'd share some things I've learned.

If you want to walk on water, the consensus seems to be that three inches of thickness is needed. You can get away with a lot less if you are on black ice. That was the condition we found at the beginning of last winter. After a rousing storm which truly stirred the last vestige of warm water from the bottom, we entered a quiet time which promoted a "perfect" layer of ice of about one inch in thickness. The still air and cold temps allowed for a uniform freeze that allowed a perfect crystalline structure to form in the ice--a structure of great strength. We enjoyed a full winter of this strong underlying surface, as additional layers were built.

This year looks to be a white ice year. We started with a nice one half inch of black ice, but it was quickly lashed with a warming rain, and now we have a hodgepodge which will probably serve as our base layer for the year.

For Cookie and myself, it means walking across with the kayaks close by. For those of you on shore, I'd recommend watching the ice fishermen. When they venture out to open areas of the lake, it will probably hold the average pedestrian as well.

Remember to take care wherever warming current may run. The channels where we are located fill with warm roof runoff from the channel homes and flow the water along the west shore toward the damn. Add to that the radiant heat of the seawalls in the morning sun and you have a pretty threatening combination on a sunny day. As we found with sailing, sometimes the greatest danger lies just before making port. The last few steps can be pretty exciting.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Swans--How do they Know?

I suppose it just could be coincidence. Last year, our only sighting of Mute Swans in the heart of the lake (near Big Island) came the day before the lake froze over.

Sure enough, yesterday--a cold and crisp winter's day--we saw them again in the same location. Today we have Lake Manitou with a new top of winter ice.

This is tricky for us because we have a "do not miss" appointment tomorrow. Will the ice hold us?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Eagle has Landed!

Here is a great Mike Kenny photo.

Every morning my wife and I settle in the sun room with a cup of coffee and view the wonder of the lake waking up to a new day. Today was special. Swooping in from the North came a very, very large bald eagle. He came to a rest in the tree at the point deck, causing a very substantial limb to yield and bounce back with his weight. I couldn't help but think, "there's a dog in my tree--with wings!" What an unbelievable sight. As he left, I held my breath that our hunters on the South shore left the beer at home! Sure enough, no gun shots echoed as the eagle moved across the Elks.

I will always remember the view this morning--as the flag on the pole waved in the breeze and that beautiful eagle stood proudly in the line of sight in the point tree.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The First Snow

It's winter for sure. This is the first snow that stayed with us. All is new and clean and crisp again. My wife and I fled the snow for California when we were young. Now we are back again with a new appreciation for the changing seasons.