This January has brought winter to Leafhopper Farm and locked nature in a tight grip of frozen wonder. Every year the land reacts uniquely to the changing seasons. For 2017, a glaze of ice has covered the farmscape, catching the last of fall in a layer of white glass.
For two weeks now, the temperatures have stayed low enough to lock the world in ice. For a water world, this shift creates new physical form in everyday spaces to take note of.
Western Washington is usually soaking wet, full of water, overflowing. The mosses and giant trees speak to the abundant moisture in this ecosystem. On the east coast, ice storms are common, and frost heaves are unavoidable. In Washington, a freeze locks everything in ice, and frost heaves out of the soil in incredible shapes. Even soaking wet branches on the ground explode in delicate white lace under extreme cold.
Luckily, permafrost temperatures do not happen in our area, yet, but two weeks of frozen ground is more unusual. Considering we had very little winter last year, it’s comforting to see things freeze up again. I hope we are rewarded with a light mosquito season, not that the bugs are bad here, but they’re certainly worse when the cold die off does not happen. We did have mosquitos this fall into November.
When it freezes in Western Washington, you get a special chance to get out on the ice and explore some of the water features more intimately. Our cold plunge spot is like glass, reflecting trailing blackberry from the bottom. The pond was solid enough to stand on, though now, with the ice settling, we’re staying off the deeper water. Yes, our pond is holding more water this year. Once it’s full, we’ll have a potential for ice skating in future cold winters. With climate change, I wonder if we’re in for colder, or warmer? I think extreme fluctuations are here to stay, meaning hotter summers and colder winters. Regardless, Leafhopper Farm will continue to plan diversity to adapt for all potentials.