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Old 12-05-08, 07:48 PM   #1
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Winter is here

The plants and animals are all adapting or trying to.

Of course the trees are shedding their leaves, but other things that I've noticed are.

The creek nearby is dead. Last summer it was alive with fish, birds, muskrats and snakes. They all seem to be gone. I don't know what happened to the muskrats. I fear that a neighborhood cat got them. The snakes because of their cold blood I assume are laying low. The fish disappeared rapidly. One time I looked and the local creek was full of them swimming and splashing on the surface, the next time I looked there were none. I have to guess that the freezing water got them.

There has been a heron feeding in the creek, I saw it yesterday farther down from where it usually fishes, but I think the sudden disappearance of the fish has left it dazed. Today I saw it over the road, flying down Green Mountain Dr in front of my apartment, taking its lane about 5 feet above the asphalt. It wasn't flying particularly fast, but following the road as it curved. It seemed a little dazed. At least it was going south on Green Mountain. Seems like it better make tracks for Louisiana.

How's the fauna doing in your neck of the woods?
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Old 12-05-08, 07:57 PM   #2
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It was 7 here yesterday morning, 8 this morning. Wind chills were below zero. Tonight it was 15 when I left work, as I walked into 20 mph wind gusts. Bitter cold. Haven't seen much fauna lately, except for the occasional deer. There are muskrat huts on the neighborhood pond, but I haven't seen anything stirring there in recent weeks, or at least not since it froze over.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:19 PM   #3
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It was 50 here this morning; supposed to be in the mid 40's when we start our century tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM. Winter has arrived!

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Old 12-05-08, 09:31 PM   #4
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Shortest day of the year is Dec 21st. But the earliest sunset here is Dec 10th. I like it when we turn that corner, even if the difference is only a few seconds a day at first.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:31 PM   #5
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0 degrees F yesterday

Shoveled snow off the driveway 2 times.

Yes, winter is here.

And I don't care what you say. I'm not riding in the snow and ice, and not below about 40F.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:39 PM   #6
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I saw that it was 66 in Parker on Tuesday, and 64 twice last week. That's what I wish would happen here, the occasional warm day.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:41 PM   #7
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I saw that it was 66 in Parker on Tuesday, and 64 twice last week. That's what I wish would happen here, the occasional warm day.
And it is 46F right now and shirtsleeves today.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:41 PM   #8
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The pond in my backyard is frozen. It's been mostly frozen for the past two weeks. In the 8 years we have lived here this is the earliest the pond has been frozen over. I was still planning to mow one more time to be able to grind up the last of the leaves. The lake effect snows we had kept the grass covered and it has acted like a green house keeping the grass growing and deep green in color.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:41 PM   #9
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Down to 30 here. Not too long before the bike goes to the shop to switch to studded tires. The pair of Red Shouldered Hawks near my office called to one another, joined up in a tight formation, and flew off down the stream that marks their teritory. On patrol. Big rafts of Rudy Ducks have appeared on the Potomac, looking like bath toys. The flying squirrel comes to my windowsill every night for dinner. While riding home from work, I heard the calls of Tundra Swans hidden by the dark clouds overhead. Big as dogs, fast as cars, heading south from the high arctic.

Hoping for snow soon.

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Old 12-05-08, 09:54 PM   #10
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Still riding down here in CenTex. I laid off two mornings this week as it was in the high 20's.

My new Descente jacket is not as windproof as my old, chainlube stained Pearl Izumi. The new PI Amphib bibs are cold below 40 degrees. I guess I'm going to have to add a pair of windproof pants over them.

I ride when its cold
I ride when its hot
I ride when its wet
I ride when its not
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Old 12-05-08, 10:03 PM   #11
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It has been in the teens and twenties here for a couple of days. I have noticed quite a few red-tail hawks flying along the perimeter of I-170 just south of Page.

Also have noticed that the squirrels are really fat this year. Much fatter than I have ever seen. Guess it could be a long winter in St. Louis.
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Old 12-06-08, 03:03 AM   #12
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Seems to be warming up over here. Still have cold nights but tomorrow the Sun is supposed to appear between 9 and 12. Temp will be up to 40+ so time for a couple of hills tomorrow. (Especially as it will be a tailwind of about 4mph)
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Old 12-06-08, 03:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
The plants and animals are all adapting or trying to.

Of course the trees are shedding their leaves, but other things that I've noticed are.

The creek nearby is dead. Last summer it was alive with fish, birds, muskrats and snakes. They all seem to be gone. I don't know what happened to the muskrats. I fear that a neighborhood cat got them. The snakes because of their cold blood I assume are laying low. The fish disappeared rapidly. One time I looked and the local creek was full of them swimming and splashing on the surface, the next time I looked there were none. I have to guess that the freezing water got them.

There has been a heron feeding in the creek, I saw it yesterday farther down from where it usually fishes, but I think the sudden disappearance of the fish has left it dazed. Today I saw it over the road, flying down Green Mountain Dr in front of my apartment, taking its lane about 5 feet above the asphalt. It wasn't flying particularly fast, but following the road as it curved. It seemed a little dazed. At least it was going south on Green Mountain. Seems like it better make tracks for Louisiana.

How's the fauna doing in your neck of the woods?
When I get up, the deer are clustered around my shed. I think they're hiding from yuppee hunting season. Last weekend, I heard what must have been over 250 rounds fired in the woods....... I would have assumed that the woods were depopulated, but there they are, all standing in my back yard.....

We rolled the pumpkins back there that were left over from Haloween and gave them a feast.

All the leaves are gone and riding fast on the trail requires really dark glasses. There's this wierd strobing effect going through the shadows of the tree trunks. Not much left of the riding season.
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Old 12-06-08, 05:30 AM   #14
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And I don't care what you say. I'm not riding in the snow and ice, and not below about 40F.
What Denver said.
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Old 12-06-08, 06:37 AM   #15
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This AM in the Eastern Panhandle it's 11 degrees F. This my be the coolest Fall I remember; for the last five years I've had daffodils bolting in late Fall, way too hot. This is a good thing in the sense it might beat back the deer tick (and Lyme's) that's the scourge of us outdoor folks back East.

Hey Artkansas, I'll bet your muskrats are "hole-up" in their lodges this time of year, only coming out as absolutely required.

Here's a winter scene: I left my mountain fastness yesterday and betook myself to my flatland bretherans' precincts to get in victuals, bullets, and powder and to gain what news of the kingdom might be about*. There is a race track (swayback nags) in the nearby town and therefore is overrun with fat pigeons. The pigeons were swirling in a huge compact cloud. Sure enough, at the center of the cloud was a Sharp Shinned Hawk whose stealth had been breached and who was being none-too-gently escorted to the gate. In the winter without the cover of leafy trees, the Sharpies must often go "down town" to mount their ambush from human structures. Sharpies are fierce; if they were three feet tall, we could never go outside. They eat the entire bird; beak, feet, toenails, feathers, and all.

Cycling content: "Mushrats", Sharpies, and pigeons don't bike in the Winter.

* It seems there is a New King in Washington Town, different sort of bloke it's said; I must learn more of this matter.
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Old 12-06-08, 07:05 AM   #16
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I's 14 degrees out right now. I just took this image while waiting for my riding buddy to show up so we can ride together. Tomorrow's high will be 25 and I'm wavering on weather or not do do the last cyclo cross race of the season. I's going to be real cold while warming up, then waiting for the start, then racing for 30 minutes.

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Old 12-06-08, 07:25 AM   #17
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Hey Artkansas, I'll bet your muskrats are "hole-up" in their lodges this time of year, only coming out as absolutely required.
Proof that muskrats are smarter than I am. I'll be heading out into the frosty morning for a 35-mile MTB ride in a little while, because, well, um, actually I don't really know why. But I think there's a rule somewhere that says cycling season ends on December 31 and begins on New Year's Day.

PS--Love the backyard and pond A-Jet.
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Old 12-06-08, 07:26 AM   #18
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What Denver said.
Honestly, you guys don't know what you are missing. Not necessarily the snow and ice part but the 40 degree thing. With the clothing available to us we can ride comfortably to temps much lower than that.

I got tired of stinking up the house on the trainer and missed the outdoors and once I tried riding through the winter I was surprised and thrilled how nice it is.
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Old 12-06-08, 09:46 AM   #19
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Seems like it better make tracks for Louisiana.

How's the fauna doing in your neck of the woods?
Making tracks for Louisiana is an outstanding suggestion. That's what I did at Thanksgiving. The fauna should note that the food in Louisiana is plentious but perhaps a little spicier than it is in Arkansas.

The fauna up here has all but disappeared from the MUPS. When the weather was civilized, there were many exemplary specimens of fauna visible, routinely. Currently, the fauna that ventures out is so bundled up... oh, wait a minute, never mind.

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And it is 46F right now and shirtsleeves today.
46 and shirtsleeves Poor DnvrFox is losin' it!
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Old 12-06-08, 09:55 AM   #20
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Now that morning temps are barely 40 when it's time to leave for group rides, it's time to invest in a pair of warmer knickers for winter riding.
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Old 12-06-08, 09:56 AM   #21
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If its bad, I think we are supposed to blame it on the carbon-enriched atmosphere.
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Old 12-06-08, 12:29 PM   #22
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After reading what some of you gentlepersons partook on the recent feast day I would of thought that methane was a factor.
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Old 12-06-08, 01:12 PM   #23
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I wrote something earlier this week about almost running over an armadillo on an evening ride. Today, on a ride out to the beach, there was very little fauna out and about, except armadillos. I saw three on or near the road over about two and a half hours. The alligators are all packed away in their nests, and the wild pigs were nowhere around. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has one of North America's widest variety of birds, but I've never been much of a birdwatcher because I'm colorblind.
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Old 12-06-08, 04:36 PM   #24
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Already saw -3 on our therm. Yep, winter's here. Just got back from a nice hour of cross country skiing. Saw plenty of birds, but no mammals (including H. sapiens). Absolutely gorgeous out there in the woods today!
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Old 12-06-08, 05:18 PM   #25
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There's a place along a small lake on one of my usual rides that's top-notch for bird watching. I've seen a bald eagle a couple of times. Two weeks ago he was on a log in the middle of the lake; while I was struggling to get my cell phone out of my pocket so I could take a pic to post here, he flew off.

The Canada geese are plentiful, as are the ducks. The fawns born in spring have lost their spots. Many calves and lambs are cavorting about as well. The horse farms I ride past have moved the almost-yearlings to paddocks near the road; I like the way they still behave like babies.

The fall colors are still raging even as the fields and mountainsides green up. Many flowering pear trees are at their peak. They'll be flowering anytime from Feb. to late March. Some trees are devoid of leaves while others are only partially turned. About the only thing that's missing to establish winter is the rain. I hope we get more, and soon.
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