Thursday, December 30, 2010

Margaret and Mary visit Mucky Boots

Margaret and Mary drove up from Victoria today to have lunch with us. Margaret comes regularly, and sometimes brings our friend Mary with her, and we just love their visits. We love the great conversation and easy laughter, we soak up the encouragement and all the "oooohs" and "aaaahs" at our latest construction project, and their visits are always the perfect excuse to lay out a great meal for sharing.

This visit had a secondary purpose: Margaret wanted to collect some eggs. She grew up on a dairy farm in Yorkshire and has fond memories of egg gathering. Yesterday we gave the hens a pep talk to encourage them to produce some especially lovely eggs for her today, and they obliged.

The eggs were lovely, but Hector stole the show, letting himself be picked up by both our visitors for a cuddle and a photo op. Good boy, Hector.

On a completely different note, we had a frosty night here last night, and all day the temperature hovered around freezing. Kim found the strangest frosty-snow-like stuff growing on some pieces of wood in the chicken yard this morning. It looks like hair, or very fine feathers, and it's definitely frost because it melted away to nothing when we touched it.

After marvelling at it and taking some photos this morning we left it on the porch and discovered this afternoon that it had continued to grow all day. Has anyone ever seen this before? And what on earth causes it?

Added note: Kim at Golden Pines is bang on: it's called "frost flowers" and here's what the Guide to Frost says about it:

Some of the stranger ice formations you're likely to find in the woods are called "frost flowers" or "feather frost". A typical example looks like a small puff-ball of cotton candy, a few inches across, made up of clusters of thin, curved ice filaments.

Frost flowers usually grows on a piece of water-logged wood. It's something of a rare find, meaning that conditions have to be just so before it will form.

Not much has been written on this unusual phenomenon, and to my knowledge it has never been reproduced in a controlled laboratory environment. It appears that the ice filaments are essentially pushed out from pores in the wood as they freeze.

It's something of a misnomer to call this frost, by the way, since it freezes from liquid water, not water vapor.


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

It's always so nice to enjoy the company of friends, and obviously Hector enjoying them as well!

I've seen this kind of frost before and also thought it was really very interesting. Its been a long time since I've seen it, and I am quite sure it was called frost flowers or feather frost.

Toni aka irishlas said...

Glad to hear you are having such a lovely visit. Nothing in the world like friends!

Don't know whatcha got there as far as the frosty feathers are concerned, but, the photographs are lovely!

Happy New Year!

Paula said...

That's pretty cool! When I lived in Mt. Shasta, I used to see something very similar on my walk to work in the morning, only the frost was pushing out of the ground, usually in the gravelly stuff by the side of the road. Quite something to see.

I'm glad that you had a good visit with your friends, and hope that it sort of made up for not getting home for Christmas this year.

Happy New Year and a peaceful and prosperous 2011!

Flartus said...

Wow, what a very cool post. Hector is such a handsome boy! And those frost flowers are fascinating...I've never heard of nor seen them before. I've learned something new today. :D

Miriam said...

Paula, I read about what you're describing when I was looking up frost flowers, and it's called "needle ice". Very interesting!

Thanks so much, all of you, for making this blog so much fun to write - what an amazing thing, to get to know you across the ether! I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

Rae said...

Holy cow. Hector is a BIG bird!

We get similar frost regularly, but it pushes up out of the mole mounds. Fun stuff!

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