December 2009

Click here to see the other months in 2009:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

The Calends of December It is a rare thing to have open water on Little Bass Lake in December, but such is the case today. As per my records, this is only the 4th December in the last 18 that such a thing has occurred, though I admit that I don't have the freeze dates for a few of those years. The latest freeze date was December 6th of 1999 and, unfortunately, I believe we have a shot at a new record this year. (The lake froze on this day in 1993, by the way.)

Play this sound a few times and let me know what you think it is. Click HERE.
December_2nd No, it's not birds chirping. Yesterday there was a thin sheet of ice on this side of the lake due to the fact that it was cold the previous night, and that the wind was from the west. But in the morning the wind changed and came from the east, which blew the ice sheet up against my shoreline and broke it into little pieces. So although yesterday's recording sounds rather Avian, that "chirping" sound you heard was the "tingling" of the ice as it broke into pieces and then jumbled together. This is what it looked like as it was making that noise: Click HERE. This morning the wind is still from east so there is no ice on this side of the lake. (The lake froze on this day in 2004, by the way.)

Note to North Carolina Laurie:   Did I hear that right? You fell out of a float in a Christmas parade? How much drinking was involved, I'm wondering.
December 3rd The lake level measurements for this season have been concluded. To net it out:
The lake level began the year at 1282.68 feet above sea level at ice-out this past Spring and then dropped nearly 6 1/2 inches by mid-October (which was unusual because in most years the lowest reading is in late August or early September). It then gained over 4 inches to end the year by being down only 2 1/4 inches since ice-out (1282.49 feet above sea level). It ended the year about an inch higher than last year and about 1/2 inch lower than the previous year. The lake level has varied a tad over 13 inches over the last four years, from its low on August 11, 2006 to its high on May 14, 2008. You can see all the lake information by clicking HERE.
December 4th The area snowmobile trails open on December if that is even relevant this year. Of course, we didn't have any snow to speak of at this time last year either.

Hey Stover, happy 63rd to the youngest person in our high school class.
The Nones of December Two below zero this morning and a little more snow!!!!

Hear ye! Hear ye! After viewing it with binoculars from my house, from the top of the duplex, from the public landing, and from Peterson Bay, I hereby officially declare Little Bass Lake to be completely frozen over. However, as the sun gets higher (it might get up to 20 degrees today) there seems to be water flowing out of a lot of cracks in the ice. If this continues I may have to post a retraction. By the way, if it holds up, today will be the second latest ice freeze date in my records. The latest date was December 6, 1999. Click HERE and HERE.
December 6th Saint Nicholas died on this day in the year 343. According to Wikipedia, he is the patron saint of children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, pharmacists, archers, and pawnbrokers.
Pearl Harbor Day According to a custom of Christmas cheer, any man and woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe are obliged to kiss. The operative word in that sentence is obliged.
December 8th Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his "Infamy Speech" to congress at 12.30 PM sixty-eight years ago today. It was short but powerful, and by 2:00 that very afternoon, Congress had passed a formal declaration of war against Japan, which officially brought us into World War II.
To read his words, click HERE.
To read a very interesting commentary on his words, click HERE.

Seven below zero this morning.
December 9th Oh sure! The whole southern half of Minnesota, the northern half of Iowa, and virtually all of Wisconsin got a ton of snow last night, and here we sit with the ground barely covered. Sigh.......

Two years ago this morning we had 27 below zero.
December 10th Fourteen below zero this morning. That's not quite as cold as it was on this date two years ago, but it's a tad chilly nonetheless. By the way, it's predicted to be below zero every morning for at least the next 5 days.
December 11th Another 14 below zero morning. The ice at the end of the "front porch" dock is now 4 inches thick. It's getting there........but by this time last year there were 2 fish houses on the lake.
December 12th This weather (cold temperatures and lack of snow) is good for freezing the lake, but unfortunately it's also good for freezing septic systems. Those people who have had frozen septic problems in the past are beginning to get nervous again. But don't fret, the snow will come and all will be least, that's what usually happens.
The Ides There's an ice fishing house on the lake........Lucas and his dad put theirs out yesterday afternoon. Awright!!!!!!!

It's a good feeling when the skis and mukluks move into the kitchen for the winter. Click HERE.

For the record: the first trip to the other side of the lake via the ice (albeit, near the edge) was late this afternoon.
December 14th Oh geez, one had better be more alert when one is out on the ski trails or on the ice these days. This was in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press 3 days ago. Click HERE to see it.
December 15th When you wake up to below zero temperatures day after day, don't you find it tad difficult to believe that in this very location not that long ago, the weather was like this? Click HERE.
December 16th Nothing for now.
December 17th Two more ice fishing houses went up yesterday. There are now four of them on the lake. Here's one of them way off in the distance. Click HERE.
December 18th Here's another sound for you to identify. It's short and fairly quiet, but it's the best I could do. Turn your sound way up, listen to it a few times, and then tell me what you think. Click HERE.
December 19th That sound from yesterday (see above) is the snapping of the ice as it expands and/or contracts. In person it has a "ring" or an "echo" to it that just doesn't seem to come through on the computer. Sometime it's a low slow rumble that sounds like moaning and growning, and sometime it's that thunderous booming sound that's in the recording from yesterday. It's one of the two sounds that I love to have wake me up in the middle of the night. The other one is the sound of loon calls in the spring.

By the way, I assume that when one hears that sound, there is, quite often anyway, a crack opening up somewhere on the lake. Here's a crack in the ice that I saw in early April, 2007. It ran all the way from Jim and Patti Davey's shore, across the whole lake width to the shore by the duplex. Jim and Patti's house is behind me in the pictures. The brown building on the right side of the top picture is my house, and the crack (which was about 4 inches wide) is going directly toward the point by the duplex. Amazing, eh? I wonder what kind of a noise that made when it split open. By the way, the ice was about a foot and a half thick at that time. Click HERE. However, cracks in the ice are normally more like this: Click HERE.
December 20th Pine Siskins are here in droves again.
The Solstice Today we will have 8 hours and 30 minutes of sunlight, and if anyone is interested:
  • Lori in St. Paul will have 18 minutes more daylight than us
  • My daughter Tracie in Rochester will have 25 minutes more daylight than us
  • My friends Bob and Jo in Des Moines will have 42 minutes more daylight than us
  • My cousin Mary in Knoxville, TN will have 1 hour and 13 minutes more daylight than us
  • My friend Laurie in Forest city, NC will have 1 hour and 17 minutes more daylight than us
  • My friend Bob in my old stomping grounds of Boca Raton, FL will have 2 hours more daylight than us, and
  • The people in Key West will have 2 hours and 9 minutes more daylight than us
At the other end of the scale:
  • My daughter Teri in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her sunset at 3:40 this afternoon will have 1 hour and 32 minutes less daylight than us (less than 7 hours), and
  • The residents of Barrow, Alaska haven't seen the sun since mid-November and they wont see it again until late in January
December 22nd Both of my daughter Tammy's computers are out of commission at the moment. As we speak, there is no way for her, her husband, or their kids to send or receive e-mail from their home. And goes on.
December 23rd Once again a delightful winter storm is fast approaching the southern end of the state, and once again us Northerners are going to be left with only the dregs. Obviously the snow demons are mad at us. They're tormenting us with this wimpy weather because they're angry. We must appease them! But how does one do that, do you suppose? Any recommendations?
Christmas Eve Okay, okay Dotz, I'll take your advice and quit whining. Things have changed considerably since yesterday. We got a few inches of snow early this morning and the forecast says we'll get another foot by tomorrow night. Now let's see if it really happens.
Christmas Day Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to put her away quietly. But while he thought of these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary as thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”

-- Matthew 1:18-21
Boxing Day Today had a slow (due to somewhat bad driving conditions) trip to Rochester, a lovely Christmas celebration with the family, and a "not quite so slow" trip back to Saint Paul to visit Lori.
December 27th The storm is over and as it turned out, we got twice as much snow than was originally predicted (1 to 3 inches), but not as much as what was eventually predicted (12 to 14 inches). I have heard nothing official yet, but I'd say that we got 8 or 9 inches. Not bad.........but not nearly enough. Oh well, it's not even January yet.

As a result of the snow a few ski trails have been packed and tracked, and several more are scheduled for grooming tomorrow. I'd guess that there will soon be some pretty good skiing around here. I haven't found much about the Snowmobile trail conditions yet, other than the fact that they should be ready by the weekend. I'll update this when there is more information, or you can look for yourself by clicking HERE.
December 28th I have a lot of good genes. It's too bad they are all recessive.

To my daughters:   That was a joke.......honest, it was just a joke. I didn't mean it. Really.
December 29th It was 18 below zero this morning. Not terribly cold, but it's a sign that we may have a winter after all.

Deb and Randy went skiing on the Joyce Estates Trail this afternoon and they said the conditions were GREAT! If you'd like to do some skiing one of these weekends, I have a couple of cabins available for you. Let me know.
December 30th To Dave K:   You're right Dave! So at your request (twice) "Today's Picture" has been renamed "This Week's Picture". (And a Happy New Year to you too!)
New Year's Eve Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
    The flying cloud, the frosty light:
    The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
    -- Alfred Lord Tennyson (circa 1850)

I hope that you have a productive, prosperous, safe, and happy, New Year........and whatever definition of a Blue Moon you accept (there are several of them, ya know), I hope tonight’s skies are clear where you are so you can enjoy the second full moon in the month of December. Click HERE.

Click here to see the other months in 2009:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Click HERE to see the Chronicles for other years.

Click HERE to go to the LBLR Home Page.

If you have any questions or if you'd like something mentioned here, send me an e-mail and let me know.