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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Ice & Snow Days

It’s ice... that’s not so Minnesota nice.

Weather in March is always a tricky and unpredictable phenomenon. Last week a major low-pressure system concentrated a powerful ice storm right around the communities of Finland, Silver Bay, and Isabella. Heavy ice brought down power lines and many residents lost power for two or three days. As one might expect, the storm created a landscape disturbance in the forest. Folks I work with responded quickly. DNR chainsaw crews sawed their way through and opened up select campgrounds, parks, roads, and trails. Still, I'm guessing that thousands of downed trees block several miles of remote roads and trails. Photo credit: Natalie-the fishin chick from Silver Bay.

For a slideshow of ice damage in the North Shore State Parks visit here . Read about how ice storm leaves ‘heartbreaking’ tree damage in its wake.

How about you? Have your trees been impacted by extreme weather recently, maybe an ice or thunder storm, or severe winds? If so, you might be able to claim "casualty losses" on your federal taxes. For additional information read "Income Tax Deduction for Timber Causalty Loss" by Dr. Linda Wang, Forest Taxation Specialist, USDA Forest Service.

Remember that line from the Blues Brothers film? Jake- " How often do the trains go by?" Elwood- "So often you won’t even notice it." Well, I ask a similar question, "When will the snow-plows stop plowing?" Answer- "Just as soon as pundits stop predicting when spring will arrive".


Fair enough.

On Monday March 30th the sun came out and things started slowly melting. Well, sort of. As I left the truck and put on my snowshoes, I began to hear a lot of sharp cracking and popping. Looking up, I witnessed an aerial parade of small ice chunks breaking off branches and sailing rapidly to the ground.I began to worry about getting pummeled by flying ice chunks. Although I was SO looking forward to working in the forest, that inner voice spoke to me… maybe another perfect day. The shrubs adjacent to the trail were so densely packed with ice, I might need a machete just to hack my way through. Needless to say, this wasn't going to be a productive day.

It's Tuesday, guess what? The Arrowhead region of Minnesota gets pummeled by another winter storm warning!

Yippee! Let's sing have I told you lately...



Requiem Pt. 2:

When everyone’s rested I’ll think about the driver,
the plow
whose sand truck
struck-
the blade dropping Grrrrrrrrr!

In sleep I’ll dream about flashing yellow lights
bouncing playfully off the Celtic cross that overlooks my bed.
I’ll barely notice my neighbors car alarm
activating again,
alarming for the 24th time-
the blade dropping Grrrrrrrrr!

Glancing at The picture of Jesus,
"I thirst"
it’s 1:44am.
He contemplates a mysterious spread called de-icing
that works on Duluth roads
usually steeped
and provided with peace of mind
for struggling motorists getting somewhere.

When everyone's rested I'll think about the driver,
the plow
whose sand truck
struck-
the blade dropping Grrrrrrrrr!


The grinding roar of a snowplow blade on concrete doesn’t bother much me anymore. Why should it?

Here's a little mini-set of music:

The Ice & Snow Days
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