One Must Have a Mind of Winter

You might have noticed.  It’s been kind of a rough winter.

Lots of snow.  Super duper cold.  Even the hardiest, most wool and silk and thinsulate prepared of us have been stuck inside for long stretches.  But a few weekends ago the temperatures soared into the above freezing ranges.  We sprang from our stygian lairs!

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This is the lower portion of Taughannock Falls, clogged and roiling with snowmelt and snowpack.  Walking up to the creek was an iffy affair, it was a little hard to tell where the solid bank ended and the rapidly receding mini-glaciers began.  The noise was stunning.  The sheer amount of water flowing outpaced any flow I had seen before and it was being forced through an exceptionally smaller creek bed then normal.

 IMG_0387Further up the creek the water slows down, it flows more broadly and shallowly.  You could watch hunks of ice being slowly rolled or bobbed down the creek, occasionally getting stuck on a submerged rock or shallow place.  The far edge of the bend in the creek is littered with the stuck mini icebergs; each helps describe the curve of the change in the depth of the creek.

IMG_0405 Shallow water isn’t the only place for a free floating creek-sicle to get stuck.  This trio got stranded on adjacent rocks and were lofted above the water as the water level fell.  They reminded me of nothing more than the three wise men on camel back.  Don’t they look as if they are going some where?

IMG_0401 And here is Taughannock Falls itself.  Friends, if you have a chance to see this falls, or another just as snowmelt starts, do it.  We often go to Taughannock but this was by far the most impressive it has ever been.  Huge ice chunks could be seen coming over the top of the falls then disappeared into the several stories high pile of snow and icy debris  cratered where the deep well of the waterfall usually flows.  Half the flow from the fall seemed to be blasted into mist which began to coat you 100 yards out.  The gorge roared with sound that just kept falling back in on itself from the high echo-y walls.  It was very loud, but it wasn’t painful or anxiety-producing.

The falls were mesmerizing.  Entrancing.  Awesome.

We stayed until our coats began to get soaked through.

It was a less cold day, but not exactly a scorcher.  And we still had one more errand.  To a vineyard.  To see how harvest was coming.  Yes, in March.

IMG_0421 Yes, this is how an unharvested block of grapes looks like in March.  It isn’t pretty.  No leaves, lots of mud.  Everything is wound in birdnetting in an attempt at keeping the hungry avians at bay.  There is a nice change from fall harvest season though, no wasps.  That is a positive note not to be quickly discounted.

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These grapes weren’t left here by accident and then whoopsie someone picks them in March and tries to sneak that in without anyone noticing.  These are ice wine grapes left to freeze on the vine to concentrate all their grapey goodness into a viscous, delicious syrup to make a delicious, syrupy wine from.  We went around tasting the frozen grapes a few days before their anticipated harvest date to make sure they tasted as delicious as they looked.  Thank our lucky stars, they tasted much better than they looked – which was kind of like the zombies of the produce aisle.

IMG_0432 But an extra three months of sunshine fell on these grapes, putting them a season ahead of their peers.  I anticipate you’ll taste every sunny ray in the bottle.

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