Back in January, it looked like this winter might not actually be very strong; a second warm not-really winter. I was wrong.
In February and March, the snows and ice storm brought down a number of trees and also took out the power. The downed trees were too dangerous for me to cut up, so a crew came out and took out a number of the cedars, maples, and oaks that fell across the main road. (Unfortunately, none of that damnable buckthorn was broken.) The box elder (Acer negundo that borders the east side of the grassy area may well have to come down this spring. It suffered heavily from the ice, and one of the major boles is broken, another is already dead, and with the trees behind it having been blown down, knocked down by falling trees, and/or cut away, the remaining boles and limbs are likely to break. More hardwood for campfires.
On the plus side, all the snow (and ice) has brought up the lake levels (although they are still lower than average) and returned water to the frog pond. Indeed, the "frog man" was out once again this last week, checking the fencing, anticipating the spring to come. It was, of course, late; one of the latest times that he's come out during his multiple decades of monitoring that pond.
Looking into the waters from the dock, I saw a few shoals of bluegills. They've started to emerge from the depths as the near-shore waters slowly warm up. Third Sister is one of the first lakes to open up (due to its groundwater source), but it also takes a while for the water to warm up (again due to its groundwater source). Still, even though the water vegetation is only just starting to poke through the muck, it's good to see the fish swimming around. It's another (also late) sign of the spring.
Finally, this Easter was one that came without any flowers to meet it. Even now, the bulbs are only just sending up green shoots, as the nights continue to drop below freezing five nights out of seven. However, last night didn't drop below freezing, and - as I went in for the evening - I heard the single *pweeep... pweeep* sound of a spring peeper. (Not in the frog pond, but in the nearshore wetlands of the lake.) Soon - hopefully - it will be deafeningly loud once again; a veritable amphibian ode to spring. (And at that point, I'll likely have to sleep with the windows closed.)
Use of the Forest
Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):
- No parking in front of the access gate.
- Public use hours are from 6am to 6pm only; no camping on the site!
- No vehicles or bicycles are permitted on the site except those for approved research and teaching use (bike parking available at the main gate).
- Dogs with owners are welcome to visit, but they must be on a leash. (Also see here.)
- Dog owners must carry out all pet waste; please bring your own doggie bag to do so.
- No cutting or collecting of plant material; no hunting or harming vertebrates (this includes no fishing).
- No smoking.