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Along the Lakeshore: Dec. 25

One recent morning buffleheads were diving and the mallards were paddling along. We also had about 20 Canada geese sort of milling around without a clear indication of what kind of flight plan they had filed with waterfowl flight control.

When the ice accumulated in the cove over the weekend, the geese settled in a large group, snoozing on the ice with their heads tucked under. It seemed close to shore, but I assume they felt the ice was new and thin and most predators would not venture out.

I recall Mr. Lemon’s early adventure with relatively new ice. I was working on the north side of the floating dock, installing an ice agitator. He ventured out on the ice on the south side of the dock and went out 10 to 20 feet. For some reason, there was an ice adjustment and a sharp cracking sound. Lemon reversed his tracks and headed for shore in a big hurry. We haven’t had much ice since that adventure, but I assume he remembers that ice is not for beagles.

On the other hand, he may have forgotten this experience. If this is the case, we can connect a wire to the invisible fence in such a way that it denies him access to the beach. This would mean we would have to provide outside water when we are away. We do have a heated dog dish which would allow him to have some water if he is outside and cut off from the lake.

If winter continues to progress as it has so far, we should get sound ice with ice fishermen, their shacks, and dogs trying to fish on the perch bed.

My dad lived in Syracuse in the 1920s and he spoke of skating on what is now Erie Boulevard (at that time, the Erie Canal) to go to work at the Halcomb Works tool steel plant. I think it was on Emerson Avenue, very close to the canal. He moved back to Syracuse in the fall of 1969 and we had an early freeze with heavy lake effect snow for the whole month of December. He said it was the coldest and the earliest snow in this area than he could remember, but it must have been just as cold and snowy in the 20s. I’m sure a part of it was the difference between being a 25-year-old athletic guy and a 75-year-old geezer. I have found that my fingers get cold very fast in the last two years, yet I never had trouble with cold fingers when I spent a considerable amount of time skiing.

Joseph Spalding is a long-time Skaneateles resident who enjoys sharing his observations about the Skaneateles lakeshore and community. He can be reached at 685-6937.

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