It is always interesting to take a walk up on Yellow Mountain.  Currently, although we have had a dry winter with only a little snow, it is quite wet.  It is also unusually quiet, with only a few deer tracks and some coyote tracks.*  What is particularly interesting, however, is that the snow (all of a few inches) is a solid blanket in the woods.  However, it has melted almost completely off of people’s lawns, fields, and other areas of human activity.  The fields with the most snow are those that weren’t cut last year, our hay field has largely melted, a neighboring, uncut, field with a similar exposure has more snow.  It is well established that areas of concentrated human activity, such as lawns and intensively used agricultural areas, have much higher levels of storm water runoff.  What I don’t know is whether any one has looked at their temperature changes. 

The woods in March have about the highest amount of sun levels hitting the floor that they will get all year.  Yet, the limited amount of shade that does exist, combined with the changes in air movement, must substantially lower the temperature.  Thoughts anyone?

It is also rather interesting to observe what plants are making effective use of the sunlight, despite the snow.  In particular the Princess Pine, a small evergreen in the club moss family, has just the right shape to pop up through the snow, while its dark stems effectively melt the surrounding snow quickly.  It therefore can absorb huge amounts of light and water for a few weeks, before the other plants start leafing out.

*No people activity either.