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TRR photos by Scott Rando

This is hoarfrost forming from moist air just above the water level of a small stream during a cold winter morning. A closer look shows some smaller tendrils growing off the main stems of ice; these form at exactly a 60-degree angle, or one sixth of what you see in a snow flake. This is an example of the crystalline molecular structure of water at work.

The ice of late winter

The season of winter has slightly less than two months to go before it officially ends; as to what winter does from now on weather-wise, that’s anyone’s guess. We’ve had some mild days in the 50s and also some sub-zero days and a moderate amount of frozen precipitation so far.

Can’t touch this —or that

We all know those people who are always washing their hands and then use a paper towel to open the door. They will wear gloves on the train even in the summer—or the occasional surgical mask. They may be germaphobes, but with this flu season in full swing they may be the smart ones.


TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox

Northeastern Regional Finalist Anastasia Gromova calls the ice rink her “second home,” because she has been skating since the age of two.

Skating on thin ice

As I sit at my desk, the rain spatters against the windowpane, eroding the ice and snow that had built up just a few short days ago. Feeling pensive, I can’t help but reflect on the past week, which was both entertaining and thought provoking—centered, in a way, around water.


TRR photos by Sandy Long

The remains of a football-shaped bald-faced hornet nest ended up in my driveway recently. Its former residents don’t overwinter here, so a new nest is constructed every spring. According to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, bald-faced hornets are not true hornets; they are yellow jackets. They help to reduce populations of unwanted insects and pollinate flowers when seeking nectar.

A world of wonders

The other day I came upon a wonderful thing in my driveway. It lay in a tousled clump and resembled a shaggy rag. Bending to retrieve it, I discovered a beautiful gift from the natural world—the slightly weathered remains of a bald-faced hornet nest that had broken free from a nearby tree.

Love will do that

I was 40,000 or so feet above the North Atlantic a few days ago, on my way back to the States after nearly a year away. I was speaking with my seatmate, a young German grad student in economics, who was traveling to Canada to visit his Colombian girlfriend, who’s at university near Toronto.

Multi-sweater weather

There are many theories as to why I am always so cold. My family likes to speculate on why I am always dressed in multi-layers. Why does she always have a sweater on—even in July? I confess: today I have on three.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

A south-bound female common merganser is winging its way toward the Rio Reservoir in this image. Common mergansers are the most widely seen mergansers in the region and are also plentiful on the Delaware River.

Ducks steal the show during the mid-winter eagle survey

January 10 was my designated day to perform my part of the New York State Mid-winter Eagle Survey. The target day for New York has usually coincided with the “fly day” (or days), when the aerial portion of the survey was flown.


TRR photo by Jonathan Charles Fox

“Birch fragment IV,” glazed ceramic by Naomi Teppich

With a little help from my friends

So far, 2018 has been a rollercoaster that knows only one direction—and it ain’t up. I might have mentioned having contracted the flu, which began Christmas day and hung in far longer than anticipated, but that issue seems to be fading away.

The vulnerabilities we share

As we were coping with a third weekend of deep freeze, my inner optimist searched for things to be grateful for. First, I am grateful that we’ve had a good share of brilliant sunshine on many of these frigid days, which lifts the mood if not the thermometer.

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