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The Daily Bucket is a place where we can post and exchange our observations about the natural happenings in our neighborhoods. Birds, bugs, blossoms and more - each notation is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the natural patterns that are unwinding around us.
Gooseville, WI

Frosty grass crunched under our footsteps on our morning walk around. The sun was soundly up, but not yet reaching the lower floors of the valley. The wandering trail of jingling dog tags and soft huffs of snuffling noses etched warm wide paw prints on the cold ground that I could easily follow. They stayed close.

The sharp, scrappy scolds of two blue jays broke the silence overhead in a jeering, 'Jaay! Jaay-jaay!', doubly repeated. The air was dead still and our breaths hung in frozen huffs and puffs.

An overnight layer of ice thinly glazed the river, but locked its surface tight. A small pebble thrown hard, could have pierced its skin. Just yesterday, the lazy flow was crisply open and chuckling around fallen willow snags.

The frost retreated quickly as the sun crept down the hillside we were climbing up. We stopped nearby the bird feeders to check the chipmunk hole.

Winter Chipmunk burrow
Chipmunk burrow and den

Hoarfrost on the front roof of a winter chipmunk burrow is not that uncommon if you watch for it.

Hoarfrost grows whenever it's cold outside and there's an ample source of water vapor nearby. Fragile, feathery, filigreed fingers of ice form delicately sculptured crystals upon the entrance to their homes in season.

'Chippies', sleeping softly in their winter-nests, breathe out water vapor into the cold, and the honest beauty of that nature surpasses the silly twinkling of my small white lights hung for Christmas at my porch entrance.  

Frosty Chipmunk Burrow

The dogs passed by the burrow unaware. I wonder if wild predators take notice of hoarfrost?

What's going on in your backyard and neighborhood? Got chipmunks? Got hoarfrost? Got predators? All are welcome to drop a note in the bucket.

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 09:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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