Saturday-- February 7, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 33

Sometimes a stronge steady wind in the middle of a cold winter is a good thng. I was afraid that the river would freeze up on me on Wednesday night as temperatures sunk back into the teens but the wind swept river was too choppy and wavey for ice to form. I had no trouble coming and going on Thursday as the wind kept the channel open. Then the wind died. I came home from the Banff Mountain Film Fest on Thursday night to find that I had to chop through a thin layer of ice. Just six hours before the channel was ice-free! I was able to get across without too much trouble but I knew that it ment I'd be doing some serious ice-breaking in the morning.

Carlos and his crew decided to show up on Friday morning and after ringing the bell they had to watch me as I slowly hacked my way through the half inch-thick ice. I was glad to see them and glad to know that at least some progress was being made on the house this week. We passed two electrical inspections and it looks like we have a new plumber on the job, hope he's better than the last.

I wish that I could descibe better what its like to take a winter paddle around the Island. I can name for you the birds I see and I can try to descibe the hues of a winter sunset or the way the moonlight is captured by the patches of ice and snow but words can't capture the deep and primal satisfaction of being a part of this landscape. The scene at sunset with the moon high over the river is something most of you will never see. It is amazing how far away the cars and traffic lights seem when I'm navigating through chunks of floating ice with flocks of ducks flying overhead. Gone are the green leaves and great blue herons. There are no flowers and there are no song birds to listen to. But the shadows of the trees in the moonlight and the sound of a flock of mergansers taking flight makes me not miss those summer things.

Monday-- February 16, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 42

This week the river has been free of ice so I have no ice stories to tell you but I did see a chicken. I was coming down the trail above the canal when I saw a big white chicken standing in the path. I immediately froze and the chicken ran into the brush. I put down my load and went after it. I guess it was an instictive impulse to chase the bird, I don't know what I would have done with it if I caught it. I climbed the hill after the chicken but it wouldn't let me get close. I decided I needed a net and some gloves so I ran down to the Island and fashoined a chicken net out of a fish net. By now it was getting dark and I climbed the hill up to the parkway where I last saw my quarry. I spied something white in the bushes but I couldn't be sure that it wasn't just a piece of trash. I snuck in close and sure enough, the hen was roosting in the vines. I manuevered through the branches and raised my net. I thought I had a clear shot but when I lunged, the chicken took off over the steep revine and vanished below. I stumbled down the hill after it but after looking along the bank of the canal for half an hour I couldn't find it. It was now very dark and I followed the light from my headlamp back up to the trail. I've seen a lot of birds here but this is the first time I've seen a chicken passing through and I wonder where it came from. It reminded me of the time that we had a carrier pigeon staying here for a couple days.

It looks like the construction has resumed. It has been a solid month since any progress has been made. I wish we had a more experienced contractor to help guide us through this inspection process. The blind leading the blind.