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Into the Outdoors - Weird Weather

Sometimes, some really strange things occur in nature. At least, they seem weird to most of us. This week, I thought it might be fun to take a little look at some of them.

Back in November, there was a dandelion blooming in my yard. No, I wasn’t hallucinating. It was a dandelion. I had never seen anything like that before. Of course, it was a pretty mild November. I can, however, remember a mild November years ago, when bugs were flying around our coon hunting lights. There were no dandelions, though. I have some delicious recipes for dandelions, but I’ll save those until Spring.

A number of years ago, Old Bub and I were hunting deer when we came upon an unusual sight. Skittering across the snow was a large number of spiders. As my research turned up, they are aptly named snow spiders. I guess they’re not all that uncommon, but that’s the only time I have ever seen them.

Speaking of Old Bub, he recently saw a giant flock of robins in his yard. Several other folks have seen them as well. I, for one, have never seen robins close to the house at this time of year. While deer hunting, I have seen them in the woods on a number of occasions. Maybe the groundhog is full of baloney, and the robins are indicators of an early spring. I certainly hope so. This has been a long and depressing wintertime, and as this is being written, the forecast is not very promising.

Dave Lewis sent me a photo of a deer with hair growing on its eyeballs. It’s some sort of condition wherein the skin grows over the eyes and hair then grows on the skin I had never heard of that until I got that photo.  It was a bit on the gross side.  He also mentioned snow rollers, which he saw in one of his fields.  These look like miniature versions of the snowballs you roll up to make a snowman. I saw some a number of years ago along the Allegheny. They are caused by the action of the wind. One day last week, there was steam rising off the snow, but only in certain spots.

Of course, long spells of cold weather produce ice. That, for some, means ice fishing. The Fish and Boat Commission has issued some safety guidelines for hard water anglers. Here is an excerpt from their news release on the subject.

With cold, winter weather persisting, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) reminds anglers to keep safety in mind while enjoying ice fishing. Every venture onto the ice should begin by:

• Wearing a life jacket or float coat

• Surveying the ice and looking for open water areas and signs of recent changes in water levels

• Listening for loud cracks coming from the ice and looking for new ice, which is clear or has a blue tint

• Remembering that ice thickness is not consistent across the surface and avoiding ice around partially submerged objects

• Carrying a pair of ice awls and never walking on ice that has formed over moving water

• Never going out on the ice alone and letting someone know your plans and when you expect to return.

When it comes to ice fishing, I have no safety concerns, because I have no intention of doing it.  If you like it, more power to you. Every outdoor person will eventually run into something that they just cannot hack. In my case, that would be ice fishing. When I was younger, I forced myself to do it a number of times. To be truthful, I must state that I never enjoyed it. The conditions were just too miserable.

By the way, it’s STILL February. Will it ever end?

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