Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Water slows down for the season

Yesterday I spent the day in the Adirondacks.  The spatterings of snow that moved through the area, and did not accumulate near Lake Champlain, did stick around at the higher elevations.  At the mid elevations, the ground was too warm to allow snow to stick around, but the vegetation was not.  Snow accumulated on the spruce, on downed logs, even on lichen... clearly demonstrating that trees don't just intercept rainfall, but also slow down water of a more icy sort.


In one case, a puddle had frozen over, then began drying up.  The result was an interesting layer of thin ice held 2 or 3 inches above the water level.


Last night was by far the coldest night of the season thus far in Vermont.  Temperatures dropped like a rock the second the sun set, into the mid 20s by the lake and colder elsewhere.  There was still frost on shaded leaves and grass until around noon, and areas of frozen ground in Centennial Woods stuck around all day.


The Green Mountains are covered in snow.


If you have a rain barrel (in an area that regularly has freezing temperatures), and haven't drained and winterized it yet, it's time to do so!  Water expands when it freezes, with enough force to rip apart rocks and burst pipes - easily enough force to ruin a rain barrel.  Rain gardens can be left alone, and runoff that would otherwise go into your rain barrel can go into your rain garden - ice may form in these areas but the wetland plants in most rain gardens are used to icy conditions!  Snowmelt is usually a much more gradual process than rainfall, but there's no reason not to let that water soak into the ground (when it isn't frozen), too.

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