22 May, 2015
A late frost did extensive damage to foliage on my 25,000 young trees. Green ash, shagbark hickory, pin oak, yellow birch, black walnut and Norway spruce were the most affected. White birch, white spruce and white pine, as well as black cherry and silver maple proved very frost-hardy. Mulberry foliage took a beating, but I suspect the berries will be o.k. Because the apple flowers had already fallen, we don’t know if the coyotes will have an apple crop this year or not.
Please scroll down to the bottom of the comments section to view
Doug Fyfe’s gracious acceptance speech.
19 April, 2015
The ice is now out of this watershed, so I guess I can stop using bold-face type and allow the eyes to relax. A voyage to Chaffey’s Lock this morning turned up no remaining ice, so congratulations go to Doug Fyfe of Emerald Island, this year’s winner of the Ice Out Contest. Doug, this title conveys upon you all of the rights and privileges which go with this rare distinction, and your elevated status shall continue throughout the year until the judge passes the mantle on to the next winner. Congratulations on your choice of April 19th, Doug, and thank you all for participating in this bit of chatter to shorten the wait.
18 April, 4:12 p.m.
Does anyone have any timely ice-out observations within the next hour? Otherwise I’ll need to launch and go for a look.
5:22 update: I drove in to Clear Lake and observed floes still connecting the north and south shores. There’ll be no winner of the Ice Out Contest for this watershed on April 18, 2015.
18 April, 2015
At 8:03 a.m. Keith Cauwenberghs reported:
Still some ice at the end of Mackay Island between there and the bog. Hopefully by tomorrow it could be gone. I won’t be surprised if we don’t see a boat on the lake today or tomorrow.
17 April, 2015
Update: 6:51 p.m.
While the ice is clear of Newboro Harbour, I noticed a large, white floe out in the middle of Newboro Lake.
Clear Lake is 90% covered by black ice.
A low-lying floe stretches across Indian Lake, waiting to strand an unwary boater.
The ice won’t be out on the 17th of April this year.
This one is definitely worth a thousand words:
16 April, 2015
BULLETIN from Pete Frey
Rod, just want to report. I’m currently standing on my point at the marker s399. Grass Point. And it looks like the main parts of the lake may go out tonight. All of the ice is gone between Lewis and McCaskill Islands. I’d send you a pic but haven’t got my grandson here to show me how.
There’s an increasing band of blue between Portland and the Big Rideau ice, though on closer examination I found that the ice is still tight to the public beach. Len’s Cove has a half-dozen cruisers afloat in their slips, though.
14 April, 2015
Above Kingston Mills the ice is all out. Kingston Harbour is clear, though there is a large ice pack still sitting between the west end of Wolfe Island and the mainland. On Lower Beverley Lake I noticed that the ice has receded from the shallow bays.
Near Delta I saw one property owner towing a lawn roller behind a riding lawn mover this fine afternoon, as well. Some portions of our lawns are dry enough to sweep, though others would sink a firmly-placed boot, so we’ll be a few days yet before spring cleanup.
12 April, 2015
A look at the upper end of The Big Rideau today showed plenty of ice, though it is darkening a bit. It’s out from shore a few feet in most of the locations I examined. At the Narrows Lock the thaw is only halfway out into the bay below the lock. On The Little Rideau the ice is basically intact.
Tony Izatt told me this afternoon that he put his heavy pump in on Newboro Lake because the ice looked inclined to break up in the vicinity of his dock after three weeks with a sump pump beneath the pilings.
At our farm the snow’s almost gone. Just a heavily-packed snowmobile track and the odd drift remain.
10 April, 2015
A visit to the Scott Island ferry today revealed that the vessel is in operation, floating well. That indicates that the water level is higher than last week, though it’s still below summer level, I’m sure.
Ice has worn away to 100′ of the Indian Lake shore, but only to the navigation sign on the Clear Lake side. The ice really has a grip this year.
There’s still some packed snow on that part of the island road which I could see from the ferry, though there was an SUV parked there which looked in regular use.
5 April, 2015
Yesterday was the first day this spring that the snow had receded enough to allow vehicular access to large portions of the open fields on the farm. Before mud became an issue I hauled several trailer-loads of fallen branches around, enjoying access to the land again after a long winter.
2 April, 2015
John Lee sent along this photo with a report of an ice depth of 15″ in Newboro Harbour.
24 March, 2014
The trailer in the photo below must have 3 tons of dead shingles aboard, and I’d say there’s no risk of it falling through the ice at the moment. Tony’s little sump pump at his dock managed to keep an 8″ hole open since the weekend, but that’s about it.
There’s a great deal of hard ice in the lake at the moment, more than I have ever seen.
21 March, 2015
Yesterday Newboro Harbour was cold and damp, with a very deep rut on one side of the plowed trail out onto the water. Louise Pritchard told me that a truck was running building materials to Cherry Island without difficulty. The low water level combined with spring melt and the heavy ice made me wonder how dock pilings may fare over the next two weeks if water levels rise quickly, but from what I’ve seen so far at Chaffey’s, Parks Canada seems to be on top of the runoff.
I observed between 26″ and 30″ of ice when drilling holes around Tony’s dock. My concern that I might drill rock rather than water had some foundation, as Tony could only find 6″ of water beneath the ice in an area which usually offers 5′ of depth.
19 March, 2015
On an afternoon walk around the property I said to Bet: “It’s certainly not hard to own a farm on a day like today.”
This was the first jaunt in a long time when we could venture wherever we wanted around the property on the hard snow. Though for the most part we didn’t stray from frozen snowmobile tracks, the dog had a great time trotting around on the crust, vectoring in on whatever scents came her way on the slight breeze.
March in Leeds County does have its moments of serene beauty.
17 March, 2015
This morning I spotted a furry lump in a large maple a couple of hundred feet from my window. Binoculars didn’t help until a wandering grey squirrel happened by and reprimanded the lump until it woke up. The racoon shook itself slowly, then offered a great yawn in silhouette before finding a new pose and resuming its sleep on the limb. When raccoons leave their nests to recline on tree branches, spring is on its way.
The mourning dove on a bare patch of lawn yesterday was another welcome harbinger.
16 March, 2015
John Lee reports in the comments section below:
I was on Newboro lake on the weekend. Most of the fishing huts are gone. Ice is still 30 in thick. Most of the lake is hard packed snow with a slushy part here and there. Any roads ploughed during the winter are more like canals now, full of 3-4 in of icy water, Should have pulled out my canoe.
14 March, 2015
Blame it on the time of year. I have forgotten my camera twice on visits to the Scott Island Ferry. The lake level is very low and of course there’s quite a bit of open water there.
I felt like kicking myself for the forgotten Nikon at Chaffey’s when the trumpeter swans decided to come over to see who the new human was. I lost count at 13 adults. Noisy place at the end of the point this afternoon. Notwithstanding the rowdy swans in the area (or perhaps because of them), the point is clearly the watering hole for the the local deer herd, as lots of pointed tracks follow the path to the little beach created by low water.
Only one timber (on one side) is open on the dam.
No splake, of course.
7 March, 2015
While joyriding in the heated cab of a new Kubota UTV on tracks, my neighbour Dale Welch and I ventured onto Portland Harbour ice for a look around. Before long the proud owner was squirming and shifting to the left as the right track settled through deep snow and into slush. I turned left (power steering) and throttled out of the trap. The 3000 pound vehicle may well have sunk further into that drift than would a snowmobile, but it’s slush season out there.
We had no sooner left the lake for the relative safety of Portland streets than we encountered a young O.P.P. officer in her SUV. She smiled, waved at the harmless old guys in their shiny toy, and continued on her way.
Today’s snowmobile run across Newboro Lake was conducted at high speed and involved no stops until the skis hit shore. On the packed trail from The Bog to the Lockstation I saw one narrow “rink” where the water has actually broken the surface of the snow and frozen.
Conditions on the groomed trails are excellent. Other locations offer the marked risk of bogging down in soft snow.
BTW: There’s a lawn cleanup day scheduled at The Opinicon for April 25th. Further details and a signup sheet are available at Facebook/Opinicon.
5 March, 2015
Tom Stutzman sent along a favourite John Beluchi quote:
March comes in like a lion and goes out like a wilder beast.
Tom later sent a correction, but I like this version better.
28 February, 2015
John Lee reports:
Heavy powder in middle. No slush. Ice is 18 – 20 in thick.
Today offered perfect conditions for a snowmobile run, so I followed the Cataraqui Trails to the Bog, crossed Newboro Lake, the Upper Rideau, and turned around on Westport Pond. Well-traveled Ski Doo trails on the lake are good, though I crossed several plowed automobile tracks radiating out from the lock. The track linking the two launch ramps has filled up with a foot of snow. From the appearance of the tracks, this made for a nervous drive for the truck which last pawed its way through. The snow kept getting deeper…
20 February, 2015
A combination of deep snow, the inadequate floatation of my snowmobile, and a few aging back ligaments have left me a bit immobile this last while.
If anybody is in position to report on slush development or other changing conditions on the ice, I’m sure readers would like to know.
14 February, 2015
Deep snow is making Ski Doo operation on my property increasingly tricky. It is all too easy to get the thing stuck in drifts of dry, fluffy snow often two to three feet deep. A full-power run across a field today left a track about 16″ deep: the machine just blew the stuff out of the way while the skis rode on top, but I dared not stop.
9 February, 2015
Today’s trip across the lake to the Cataraqui Trail went a little better than yesterday’s effort. The big problem out on the ice on a gray day with fresh snow is the lack of contrast. Without shadows it’s very hard to see the snow, and there is lot of variety in the surface: the deep powder challenges the snowmobile’s traction and power; the frozen tracks concealed under the snow become invisible obstacles; the inability to distinguish between vehicle tracks and virgin snow confuses navigation.
Here was the kind and quantity of snow one dreams about in the off season, but without the ability to see the surface, running across it was fraught with peril. On the other hand with more snow, conditions on the Cataraqui Trail are much improved.
8 February, 2015
I wish someone would explain to me how freezing rain can occur at -15C. Having wimped out from the ice fishing derby this morning after two hours of snow removal around the property, I tried to bring my snow machine home from Newboro this afternoon. The freezing rain quickly browned out my visor, and if I opened it the same thing happened to my face and glasses. Forced to abort the mission after a half mile of bashing through snowdrifts, plowed driveways, and powder whipped by the east wind, I chuckled with my chauffeur about how we would have dealt with the same challenge thirty years ago.
“Yeah, and spent the next 30 years recovering from the trip,” grunted Tony.
Conditions on Newboro Lake at the moment are not conducive to human survival outside the cab of a truck.
7 February, 2015
On the eve of the Annual Newboro Winter Carnival Fishing Derby there’s a great deal of dry snow on the ice. Poor visibility this morning meant running across the lake in a world of white-on-white, where the snowmobile operator dealt with the surface of the snow primarily by feel. At 40 m/hr this can be a little nerve-racking, but it was a good ride.
I found a couple of plowed routes to fishing areas, so I anticipate traffic congestion wherever drivers decide to stop and fish.
While dropping off the snow onto a plowed route this morning I discovered that a snowmobile-towed sled tips over quite readily, and its hitch allows it to tag along behind the Ski-Doo even when upside down. No damage to report.
4 February, 2015
Snow continues to accumulate.
31 January, 2015
Tony Izatt measured 22″ ice depth near his dock on Newboro Harbour this morning.
While snow depth in the sheltered Harbour seemed about 4″ yesterday, today I measured 9″ of snow between Yager and Holder Islands. This may affect tactics for the upcoming fishing derby. Trucks and UTVs may not be able to travel over large portions of the lake.
30 January, 2015
Back from an evening expedition ice fishing on Newboro Harbour. It was too dark, cold, and fishless out there to bother measuring the ice depth, but I’d estimate the thee holes I drilled were about 24″ deep.
I drove my truck across about 4″ of dry snow on the harbour, and on that short run I didn’t encounter any drifting, though there was plenty at the farm today when I ran around the property lines on a snowmobile.
To judge by the velocity of the one snow machine I saw heading for the bog, sledding conditions on the lake are excellent after the new snow.
24 January, 2015
From his armchair overlooking Newboro Harbour, Tony Izatt reports:
Quite a lot of traffic on the lake yesterday and some after dark. All trucks and SUV’s with the odd van thrown in. Don’t people own sleds anymore? I’m astonished at how few I see, but maybe we’re off the main trail down here.
Tom Stutzman visited his johnboat at the Scott Island ferry this afternoon and reported that the ferry is frozen in, but he saw two bathtub-sized holes on the Clear Lake side of the ferry.
22 January, 2015
A look at the Narrows Lock today showed little open water and ample traffic across the road between the Rideau lakes.
18 January, 2015
There was a lot of traffic on the lake last night. Trucks, sleds and at least one van. There was a gaggle of 6 sleds that went bombing by around 9:20 last night, lights blazing. Looked pretty cool, quite unearthly. Tony Izatt
Today was the day to take the snowmobile for a trip down the middle of the lake. It’s easy to feel a bit nervous when first setting out on the ice. Frankly, black spots and bubbles in the ice scare me until I have circled back on my track and pointedly assured myself that there’s no flaw in the footing.
That accomplished, I let the Ski Doo stretch its legs a bit. The warm temperature had softened the tall windshield and it wanted to fold back onto the dash at speeds into the wind over 45 mph. Downwind it did a bit better.
The only place I found much drifted snow was in the narrow area behind McCaskill Island before you go around Cherry Island. If I were on wheels, I’d avoid the soft, drifted snow accumulated there.
17 January, 2015
A brief run through the Bog and up to Newboro by snowmobile yesterday revealed very good ice conditions for travel. I stopped to speak with a fathers-and-sons band of ice fishermen at the east end of Cherry Island who were obviously new to the lake. They reported “about a foot” of ice in all of the many holes they were drilling. Eventually they made their way to the corner of McCaskill Island after they went back for their trucks.
I was mildly surprised that the ice hadn’t grown thicker than 12″ due to the week of very cold weather we’ve had.
14 January, 2015
In this week’s Review Mirror Skate-the-Lake organizer John Bongers claims he measured 13″ of ice on the speed skating course in Portland Harbour on the Big Rideau. The competition will go ahead next weekend, drawing a large slate of competitors to the outdoor course. Bongers did comment that currently the ice is rough, and it will take considerable effort and good weather to get it to where the Zamboni can create a workable surface for elite skaters.
11 January, 2015
Newboro resident Greg Shillington reported 12″ of ice between Cherry Island and the mainland this afternoon in Newboro Harbour.
10 January, 2015
This afternoon I stopped to talk to a lakeshore property owner in Portland on the Big Rideau Lake. He estimated about 8″ of ice in Portland Harbour, though he told me, “There was a pickup truck out on it this morning.
“It’s just this last day that the snowmobiles have been going across the lake…. (though) it’s been frozen over for about a week and a half.”
To me there didn’t seem to be many tracks on the ice at all.
9 January, 2015
The weekend is upon us. It’s cold and there’s some snow. If anyone knows of areas of weak ice and/or open water, this would be a great time to report them to me at email@example.com or as comments below.
8 January, 2015 3:45 p.m.
I measured 11″ ice depth over two holes drilled well past the end of the public dock in Newboro Harbour this afternoon. No tracks were visible on the lake, but the ice seems hard and consistent. There’s an inch or two of crusted snow above the ice, but no significant accumulation to insulate the ice from further development if we get more frigid weather.
5 January, 2015
A strong north wind and -13C (9F) means strengthening ice on the lakes, but almost instant frostbite on exposed skin because of the high humidity of the air today.
If anyone can see the centre pools of local lakes, I’d appreciate hearing if they are covered yet.
4 January, 2015
Yech! The first view outside this morning was one of puddles in low spots of the crusted snow. Our dog fell through the crust.
I emerged to face 5 inches of crust and soft snow to blow before it all turned to slush. Of course the freezing rain rendered the tractor’s windows opaque.
For the record, low-end windshield winter fluid won’t de-ice an unheated windshield, at least not when applied by a household squeeze bottle.
A half-hour of snow removal took all morning. Nobody was using the paved road, anyway.
31 December, 2014
John and Doug, you’ll be pleased to see that the holes this morning at 7:30 showed thicker ice in the vicinity of the public dock in Newboro Harbour.
Halfway out the dock I observed 6 1/2″. At the end of the dock the ice was 6 3/4″. Emboldened, I walked the heavy drill out past the risk of rocks suspended in the ice and found 7″ of clear, hard ice.
Those were my observations. I’ll leave it up to individuals to extrapolate these results as they see fit.
Happy New Year.
30 December, 2014
In response to Doug Fyfe’s query about ice travel, Maggie Fleming responded the following:
Nothing on the lake today and I really don’t know what to say about going to Emerald Isle. There is always a weak spot in front of Lottie’s and a bad spot in the channel in front of Waterbury’s. Personally I wouldn’t risk it. I would give it another week of freezing.
As attractive as New Year’s at the cottage may be, remember that all around Newboro Harbour lakes were virtually ice-free yesterday. I think there’s an old technique for crossing dodgy ice involving partners straddling a canoe, front and back, so as to fall into the boat if the ice fails. That should work, and carry lots of luggage in the bargain over the glare ice.
But think of the inconvenience to the rescue crew if you get stranded and start dialing on your cell phone. Or think of the case of the retired Principal on Lake Skugog whose rescue brought him a bill for $5393. from the township.
29 December, 2014
John Lee reports: Newboro is clear ice. Drilled two holes and it is down to 3in.
At noon today I observed that the Big Rideau and Otter Lake are essentially wide open. There’s just enough ice in each to make launching a boat problematic.
28 December, 2014
The mild spring weather has been perfect for work in the woodlot this week, though the ground was getting soft enough in low-lying sod yesterday that I had to take care not to leave ruts with tractors.
Tony Izatt reported that on a drive from Kingston to Bedford Mills Saturday it seemed that he could have launched a boat on every lake he passed. Newboro Harbour ice is still holding, though Tony suspects it’s thin.
He further reported: Chipping around the edges of the ice that’s melted around the dock posts revealed ice around 3″ thick. It was thick enough the wooden oar couldn’t get through it away from the dock. Scary looking ice.
The lack of snow cover and the cold temps in the next few days should really tighten it all up though.
24 December, 2014
It’s been a still, drippy day in this area today. The snow is going quickly beneath the warm rain. This morning I drove along the waterfront in Portland to see an amazing reflective surface running from a hundred yards out from the beach to about a hundred yards short of that massive island out there. In between was a placid mill pond, likely an enormous puddle over solid ice, producing a perfect mirror image of the island beyond.
23 December, 2014
John Lee reports, with photo: Measured twice at the end of the dock, good solid 6 in. Also saw foot prints but no ATV or snowmobile track at ramp.
20 December, 2014
With an overnight low of -11C the ice seems to have hardened a bit in Newboro Harbour and I measured 6 1/2″ on one hole drilled off the launch ramp at the end of Water Street, but I noticed no tracks around the public docks and a barge beached to the side of the launch ramp.
The Tale of the Tracks
19 December, 2014
Tony Izatt reports ATV tracks on the ice in Newboro Harbour this morning.
13 December, 2014
A shakedown tour on the recently-acquired snowmobile put me beside Little Lake, located on the Cataraqui Trail 1/2 mile west of Hwy 15. To my surprise I discovered two large open areas near the south shore of the small lake. A set of wolf tracks headed south across the lake, stopped abruptly, and retraced their way to safety below the railway bed.
A family car ride took us from Delta along the eastern shore of Lower Beverley Lake to look at the fine summer homes there. There’s no ice. Waterfowl abound.
Tony Izatt reports: (Local firefighter Bob French) was just out on the ice. He drilled a hole off our dock and got 5.5″ . He’s gone home to get his 4 wheeler. He’s gone fishing. He says you’d be able to use your sled no problem. No he only drilled one hole.
He was out last weekend and got 3.5″. He fished out front on Louise’s and got one pike and then one bass,both small. He was probably there less than an hour.
12 December, 2014
Today Maggie Fleming told me that she saw a man walking on Newboro Lake.
On the way from Lyndhurst to Delta this afternoon, however, I glimpsed the main pool of Beverley Lake, and it wasn’t white.
Bass season closes on December 15th.
7 December, 2014
3.5″ in Newboro Harbour at 10:00 a.m., and with the icy wind freezing my hands I’d say the ice will deepen today.
This test site is sheltered from the north wind so conditions there were much gentler than those I found on Young’s Hill this morning while servicing the auger.
Louise Pritchard reports that the first ice fisherman of the year reached shore successfully after a couple of sorties out on harbour ice today.
6 December, 2014
Tony Izatt reports:
(In Newboro Harbour) I couldn’t break through it from the dock with an old wooden paddle but I saw local volunteer fire fighter Bob French was walking on the ice and drilled a few holes out about 25 yards.
2 December, 2014
As of 10:30 a.m. the ice coverage on the harbour was mostly there, but very thin, crackling easily beneath my extended foot. The outer lake showed waves.
1 December, 2014
Maggie Fleming reported at 8:30 that the ice is out (again) in Newboro Lake.
30 November, 2014
Tony Izatt reports this morning: The lake is like glass from a thin layer of water across the top of the ice.
At 9:50 Maggie Fleming commented: Once again almost all gone. With the high of 8 and rain it may well go again! What an odd one this is. I will keep you posted.
In our woodlot on Young’s Hill, three large maples went down in Friday’s wind. All were tall, old, and hollow. Healthier trees escaped damage. On the other hand these huge old cadavers present a formidable cleanup job. Anybody need firewood?
28 November, 2014
This afternoon I spoke to Newboro resident Maggie Fleming about ice conditions on the lake. She has never seen the ice go out in fall the way it did last week, “Though with the sweep still open, I knew all it would take would be a good wind to break it all up.”
Maggie further mentioned a band of open ice in the harbour now, “made by someone breaking through the ice to cross the lake behind McCaskill’s Island.”
25 November, 2014
Newboro waterfront property owner Louise Pritchard reports:
Last night I noticed that the lake was really noisy and when I looked there were ice patches ramming against shore. I believe it is now gone. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed this before.
At 1:40 p.m. today there wasn’t any remaining ice apparent at the foot of Water Street, though the shoreline and docks appeared undamaged.
I wonder if November 24th is an early ice-out record for Newboro Lake?
23 November, 2014
As of 3:00 p.m. today we have 1% snow coverage on open fields around the farm.
While the lake was still covered with ice this afternoon and I was able to take a short walk out on it at the foot of Water Street, when I lobbed a baseball-sized rock off the end of the public dock, it blew through 1/2″ of ice like a depth charge.
Island crossings are definitely out of the question at the moment.
22 November, 2014
I looked at Newboro Lake this morning from Hwy 42 and the foot of Water Street. The ice does not look in any way hospitable, but it’s definitely frozen as far as I could see. The surface is a mixture of frozen puddles and drifts, so all we can hope for is a good melt or an inch or so of rain to even it out for skaters.
20 November, 2014