Ice Out Contest 2013

Upper Pond Iced Over

The 2″ water line from the sap house spring flash froze earlier this winter. You can just see it in the snow there coming down between the rocks on the other side of the upper pond. When that water line froze this winter it reduced the upper pond to being sourced by the mid-spring, whispering spring and several other small springs. With the cold January and February days it froze over, mostly, rather than staying open as a circulating current with the ice island in the middle like it had been. At this point there is just a little open spot where the mid-spring, now called the brick spring, splashes in.

One of our livestock guardian herding dogs, Sirus, went swimming in the brick spring’s hole, inadvertantly. Hope (our nine year old daughter) is normally the first one in but he beat her to the punch. I think that is an honor she’s willing to forgo. Although the air temperature was up in the forties that day we had high winds. Not that the temperature really matters, apparently, to Hope since the water temperature is a toasty 32°F when she does her first spring dip and plays with the ice bergs. Polar bear, tiger seal or Penguin?

Three little guessing games:

  1. What date the 2″ water line from the sap house spring will begin flowing?
  2. What date will Hope take her first swim in the upper pond?
  3. What date will the ice be gone from the upper pond?

The prizes are a free calendar from Sugar Mountain Farm.


  1. Make one guess for each question.
  2. Limit of one prize per person. i.e., If you win one of the contests then you don’t get to win a second or third calendar.
  3. The winning guess is the one closest event date. In the event of a tie I’ll randomly pick the winner from the tie guessers.
  4. Contests are open to everyone including family except Hope can’t enter contest #2!
  5. Contest entries must be made before the date that the first event happens.
  6. I can make new rules if I want to solve any problems in the known Universe.
  7. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited, walk on the grass.

Leave your three guesses for the event dates in comments!

Outdoors: 34°F/12°F 2″ Snow, Sun
Tiny Cottage: 63°F/61°F

Daily Spark: You probably won’t live forever, but just incase, make plans.

I have a few of the calendars left which have the small cover flaw.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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23 Responses to Ice Out Contest 2013

  1. Zach Zost says:

    1) April 10
    2) April 24
    3) May 4

    The last one is tricky!!

  2. Lynn Glazer says:

    Hello Walter,
    i think the water will flow by april 15th and Hope will take her dip by may 5th and the ice will be gone by may 13th! good luck to all who enter! have a wonderful day :)

  3. Sally Sievers says:

    April 1
    April 18 (I thot Hope ran to being always cold. Swimming in ice filled pond sounds horrifying to me.)
    May 8

    BTW Is the temperature correct today? Low of 4 and high of 4? Not consistent with past patterns.

    Also, since we’re talking about the sap house spring, I’m now curious about the sap house, and the sugar bush. I know you lost a lot of those trees some years back. Sugaring’s been going on for some weeks here in the Ithaca area of upstate New York. Are you tapping any trees this year, and if so, have you started? I don’t think you’ve ever written about making maple syrup.

    You might be interested to know that Cornell’s Extension(?) branch is looking into developing tapping birch and walnut trees. Birch syrup is apparently a big deal in northern Scandinavia and Siberia, and even more of a luxury item than maple syrup is here. Don’t know if you have birch trees; it might be an amusing venture.

    • Holly, the mom, does tend to be cold but Hope, age 9, takes after me and tends to enjoy the cold and feel comfortable in it. Our pond even at its hottest (55°F?) in August is never quite warm enough for Holly. But Hope loves swimming in it from early spring to late fall.

      Oops, I forgot to set the temperature – the 4/4 is from my template. Thanks for catching that! Fixed.

      We aren’t tapping trees this year. After the big ice storm of 1998 damaged 150 acres of our maples we spent about 10 years gradually thinning out the damaged trees, leaving seed trees, encouraging the understory to shift upward and letting the forest recover. Fortunately we were not hit as badly as Quebec. I hope to start maple sugaring again in the future. Hope it’s a good sugaring year for you!

      In Alaska, where I lived for a time, they do tap birch for syrup.

  4. Sue K says:

    1) 4/20
    2) 5/2
    3) 5/15

    Do you play with icebergs too?!

  5. HOTW says:




  6. Michael says:

    1. April 9th
    2. May 6th
    3. April 2nd

  7. Don says:

    1. 4/7


    3. 4/21

  8. Beth says:

    1. 4/1
    2. 4/30
    3. 4/15

  9. Shari Heal says:

    1. April 8th

    2. April 13th

    3. April 18th

  10. Shari Heal says:

    I’m guessing early for Hope, since just the act of observing changes the thing being observed!

  11. William Starck says:

    1. 4/15
    2. 4/21
    3. 4/5

    Sooner would be better than later, eh?

  12. Jody Burgess (elnini) says:

    12 April
    20 April
    3 May

    Cheers !!

  13. Jason says:


  14. Melissa says:

    1. What date the 2″ water line from the sap house spring will begin flowing? Apr 26
    2. What date will Hope take her first swim in the upper pond? May1
    3. What date will the ice be gone from the upper pond? April 28

    On the birch sap– I used a bottle of birch syrup to make a cake when I had run out of maple syrup, the taste is quite different. To bring out the best of birch sap, it will need new recipes. Later the price sticker caught my eye on the back label and I looked. Sticker shock!! Over $25 for a quart.

  15. We have a winner, Janis and William, for the first of the three parts of the contest! See the Ice Out post, #3. See the Ice Out post for why there are two winners.

  16. Davidw says:

    Come’on triple 777’s!

    1. April 18
    2. June 8
    3. Congratulations Janis!!!

  17. Walter, wouldn’t the winner be William Starck as the pond being ice-free is the third question which was asked?

  18. Nance says:

    The 2″ water line from the sap house spring will begin flowing May 7 and Hope will go swimming on July 4. I’m confident about my time lines : )

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