Saturday, March 14, 2009

On The Rocks

Last month, I posted a few February images. Among them was a photo of Benny, whose muzzle was all covered in snow from chasing down shovelfuls of the flaky, white stuff.

Shortly after that blog post, I received an email from very talented artist Jeanne Long whose wonderful work is featured in The Long Zoom exhibit at University of Minnesota's art gallery - The Arboretum. Her email included this sketch of Benny. Jeanne stated that she hoped I didn't mind her taking the liberty of sketching him. Of course neither Frank nor I minded one bit, and were in fact very pleased that she shared her fine drawing with us. I'm just as happy that Jeanne permitted me to share her creativity with you. Please click on the above links to see some of the other lovely artwork she has done.

When I went to Frank's last week, there were a few obstructions on the pathways which we follow on our usual morning walks with Benny. As a result of a sudden thaw and heavy-duty rainfalls, the ice-laden creek flooded the area surrounding its shores, the walking path and into the groves several meters away. The force of the water broke up and carried huge blocks of ice with it.

The path was fairly clear up until this point where the creek overflowed days earlier. In order to continue our walk, we had to climb upon, and walk along these huge blocks of ice. On the right, you can see that a tree stump was brought along for the ride. Up ahead, Frank keeps a steady pace but Benny decides to wait for me to catch up. (please click to enlarge)

Ice chunks are lined up along the shore. There's going to be a lot of mud when warmer weather returns. (please click to enlarge)

You can see the layers of freeze-thaw-refreeze on the sides of these over sized ice cubes. (please click to enlarge)

Tree roots have been rudely ripped out and exposed. (please click to enlarge)

This young tree is one of the casualties. (please click to enlarge)

Other trees were bent, but not broken. Frank has been trying to reorient this trunk daily so that it will stand tall once again. (please click to enlarge)

Just to get a bit of perspective, Frank is a tall guy, and this wall of ice probably reaches about two thirds of his height. (please click to enlarge)

Taken from on top of the ice, this park bench looks dwarfed by its new surroundings. (please click to enlarge)

Frank finds a new, but cold place to park his rear end. (please click to enlarge)

Benny is totally unaffected by his scamper over ice blocks, and tromps through the mud. He dares anyone in sight to take his stick. (please click to enlarge)

This little video shows how Benny responds when we "threaten" to make a grab for his prized stick. It takes place in an area farther from the creek and therefore unaffected by the flood.

A happy, victorious dog. (please click to enlarge)


Woman in a Window said...

That Frank would daily tend to that tree, that is one dear man! Thanks for the walk.

Pat - Arkansas said...

WOW! That's some ice!! I could not have imagined that would occur; thanks for sharing the photos.

Benny has got to be one of the cutest dogs in the whole world! Jenne Long's sketch of him is wonderful.

the Bag Lady said...

Jeanne's sketch of Benny is terrific!
Benny is famous.
And rightly so.

Zuzana said...

These photographs are magnificent; I have never ever seen anything even remotely like his. Chunks of ice this size is a rarity, at least it is here. Amazing, it was like reading the NG magazine. Very interesting. Quiet different from Scandinavia where we got no snow this year at all, pretty much.

The drawing of Benny, as well as the movie clip, are priceless. He is so full of life, those walks with him must be invigorating.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

scarlethue said...

Benny and Bub would be best friends! Bub doesn't like to give up his stick or ball either. He never quite got that "fetch" thing down-- it's more like a game of keep-away and he always wins.

That ice is scary!!! This southern girl would have no idea what to even think if she saw something like that.

Anonymous said...

Poor Frank, freezing his butt off! ;)
The ice chunks are amazing, but I am sad that their arrival brings the destruction of trees. Does this happen every spring?

The Benny sketch is wonderful!

SK Waller said...

I really need to take walks like you do. Your photos are so inspiring, and your videos of Benny just make my day!

photowannabe said...

I am amazed by the shear power of the ice floes. Those are huge chunks. Crazy Benny. He is having a ball.
Loved this series Hilary.
Oh yes the art work is supurb. I'm on my way to see more of her work.

NJ said...

I noticed the same ice chunk phenoma here as well although ours seem to not be as thick as your chunks. I've notice all along the creek and I noticed the same thing today when I went into Kingston in a few areas. It must have to do with the sudden tempature changes we've had lately.

The drawing of Bennie is awesome!

Travis Erwin said...

Here's hoping Frank didn't get frostbite on his derriere.

Cath said...

Oooh that last shot is spectacular!

I can't believe the size of those ice blocks. Wonderful photos again and what a fabulous sketch! A talented lady.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

BENNYBENNYBENNY! You said: there's a lot of mud all of a sudden!

RiverPoet said...

She captured the essence of Benny! Wow!

What beautiful photos of the blocks of ice. Nature will always provide you with an interesting canvas, yes?

peace - D

Sarah Anne said...

I love that picture of Benny at the end. He is such a happy, free little dog.

Michele said...

I know that as soon as our rivers finally thaw out we will get some of those ice chunks as well but that won't be for a few more weeks yet...
wonderful pictures!

Indrani said...

That is a wonderful sketch of Benny. Jeanne Long is wonderful! And I have never seen such huge chunks of ice... amazing! Great series of shots, Hilary!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how kind folks can be. What a sweet woman to sketch Benny!

The ice is amazing. Fabulous photos today, though not as magical as my usual visit here. Hoe all will be okay when the melting begins...

Nancy said...

Those ice chunks are amazing. I love Benny! He's so cute. He's a Jack Russell, right? I have always wanted one.

Dave said...

Wow Hilary, that ice is amazing! - Dave

blunoz said...

That's remarkable! Never seen anything like it.

Love the shot of Benny daring anyone to take his stick.

Leah J. Utas said...

Those ice chunks are huge. My goodness. And Benny makes me smile.

Kerri Farley said...

Great post! I can't believe all of that ice...WOW! That's pretty amazing.

But my favorite part of this entire post is the sketch of Benny! What a treasure!!

Country Girl said...

I can't believe how huge those ice chunks are!
And that Benny is adorable with his little stick. Nice!!

JC said...

Wonderful sketch of Benny. Such a wonderful gift for you. Benny is my favorite dog.

Frank must be a wonderful man to care about whether that tree can be put back upright. What a blessing he must be.

Great pictures and narrative. Have a wonderful Sunday.

abb said...

That drawing of Benny is spot-on! How neat for her to send it to you.

I've seen ice like that once in Vermont when they had a sudden thaw. Talk about impressive! Your photos are awesome, but in real life...

Nothing like a dog with a favorite stick. Your Benny is delightful.

Anonymous said...

That sketch of Benny is amazing. More proof that he's captured the heart of the world!

And that ice...I had no idea that ever happened. Wow.

Barry said...

Very generous of Jeanne to share that sketch with you. What a beautiful job she did. Of course Bennie is incredibly photogenic.

Those were some very dramatic photos of the ice breakup on the pathway! But I was amused by the following caption:

"Frank finds a new, but cold place to park his rear end. (please click to enlarge)"

Poor Frank's rear end!

Susan English Mason said...

Benny is famous; I love how Jenne has captured Benny's spirit perfectly. And, Frank, what a guy - caring enough to doctor the tree each day until it can stand on its own. Lovely place you live.

ds said...

Those ice blocks are incredible! Nature's power never ceases to fascinate; so nice of Frank to "right" that tree--I hope it works. And the picture of Benny is wonderful.

I do enjoy taking walks with you.

Hilary said...

I LOVE this last pic of "happy, victorious dog".....perfect! I very much enjoy sharing your walks....

Frank Baron said...

Terrific sketch of Ben. I'd like to talk with Jeanne about buying it.

Thank your fine readers for their concern and ASSure them my butt is just fine. Better than fine, really, as you well know. ;)

And I'm very pleased to report the tree is no longer patterning itself after that tower in Pisa. It's standing (very nearly) straight and tall. :)

scarlethue said...

Thanks Hilary-- I love a good book recommendation :) I'll add it to the stack!

Redbush said...

Very cute pictures of Benny! Fabulous sketch by your artist friend! He minds me of Bonzerelli. Are your sure there isn't a little wire-fox in him? That flood ice is something! I'm thinking that you'll have a lot of mud in the spring!

ds said...


As a postscript (and a thank-you) I've left a surprise for you on my blog. Come on over!

Kelly H-Y said...

Those ice blocks are amazing! Love your blog.

SandyCarlson said...

I love the sketch of your pup as well as the last photo! Wow. What a friend. That river and its hunks of ice sure did a number on those trees.

steviewren said...

Those big ice hunks are amazing. I've never seen anything like that...but I've never seen that much snow either. Once when my sons were young it got cold long enough for a local pond to freeze. It's never happened again.

Hilary said...

• I agree, Erin. He's an old softie beneath that mushy exterior. Thanks for joining us. :)

• It surprised me too, Pat.. even though Frank told me about it first. There was just far more ice than I had imagined. Jeanne's sketch is indeed wonderful. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Yes, Baggie. He's a legend in his own mind. Jeanne's likeness of him was spot-on. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Protege. I'm glad you enjoyed this icy post. It's pretty amazing how nature can be so forceful, eh? Thanks always for your very kind words. :)

• Scarlet Hue, this Northern girl doesn't quite know what to make of it either really. It was new to me too. I bet your Bub would have a blast with Benny too. She sounds about as kooky. :)

• Thanks for stopping by, KC. I asked Frank about whether this happens every year and he said that it does "but not on this particular part of the creek. It usually happened downstream about a kilometer, where most of the surrounding area is open field with a few mature trees. So there's normally very little damage compared to what we're seeing upstream in the woodsier area, especially among the young trees." Thanks always for your visit. :)

• Thanks, Steph. I'm really glad you enjoy your time over at my blog. That means a lot to me. :)

• Thanks, Sue. The ice kind of blew me away too. I'm glad you liked the photos and even more glad that you're heading over to check out Jeanne's work. You won't be disappointed. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• NJ, it sure does have to do with the sudden thaw last week and the heavy rains. I'm envious of your visit to Kingston. That's where my son is (at RMC). :) Thanks for the kind words to me and to Jeanne. :)

• Travis, I'm sure his stubborn old butt survived the cold. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Cath. She is indeed a great talent. Thanks for your always-kind words and for dropping by. :)

• Gary there is a fair bit of mud in some areas where snow has melted, but there's going to be a great deal more when these ice blocks thaw and water the earth. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Yes, Doris. Nature does indeed provide us with an incredible canvas and Jeanne sure knew how to paint on hers. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Georgie. You have indeed recognized his personality at a glance. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Michele. I'll look forward to your photos of ice somewhere down the road/river. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Indrani. I appreciate your kind words and am sure that Jeanne does as well. Thanks always for your visit. :)

• Thanks, MT. I totally agree about Jeanne. She was awfully kind to sketch Benny and allow me to post the image. Thank also for your kind concern about the ice. I'm sure it will take its toll, but nature has a way of repairing itself quite nicely. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, L of L. Yes, he's a JRT, but be careful what you wish for. He's quite the handful.. like a perpetual toddler. ;) Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks, Dave. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Thanks, Kevin. He's only interested in that stick until I have another one in my hand. Then he wants that one. He's easy to dupe but a lot of fun. Thanks for the visit. :)

• I'm glad you get a kick out of Benny, Leah. He's works hard at playing the goof. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• I agree, Kerri. That sketch is wonderful for sure. Thanks for your kind words and for the visit. I've missed you around here. :)

• Thanks, Kate. They sure are amazing, eh? And Jeanne sure is such a talent. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the kind words, JC. Yes, Frank is indeed good-hearted - a tree's best friend. The sketch truly is fantastic. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, TSannie. The likeness is incredible, eh? If you've seen ice like this, then you certainly know how much more impressive it is in real life. Thanks so much for the kind words and for dropping by. :)

• Thank you, Susan. Benny is becoming a star in this corner of the blogosphere. ;) I had no idea about the ice either. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Welcome, Barry. I agree with you about Jeanne. She is indeed so kind to draw Benny and share the image with us, and to allow me to post it on my blog. Your comment about Frank's rear end had me laughing out loud. I never really noticed the humour in the juxtaposition of those two sentences. Thanks for the visit and for the laugh. :)

• You're right, Susan. The likeness is exact and yes, I'm very lucky to have someone as caring as Frank in my life. The trees are too. ;) Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, DS. I'm always glad to have you along on these walks. Nature sure can be fascinating, can't it? Thanks always for your kind words and for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Hilary. I enjoy your virtual company too. I'm glad you liked the photos. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Cheeky comments, Frank. Maybe Jeanne can chime in about the availability of the sketch. Or I can give her your email address if you like. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Anytime, Scarlet. :)

• Thanks, Redbush. I think you're right about the mud. And Frank can correct me if I'm wrong (Benny is his dog) but I think he's a broken coat Jack Russell Terrier. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, DS. Your thoughtful award is now sitting up on my side bar. Much appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Kelly. I hope you'll return again soon. :)

• Thanks very much, Sandy. The art truly is impressive as is that force of nature. Pretty powerful stuff. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Steviewren, I'm mildly envious of a climate that never gets too cold, but then again, I'm quite grateful for the changing season and temperatures we get here. How else would we come to love summer so much? ;) Thanks for dropping by. :)

Shammickite said...

Ice is a very powerful element in winter, expecially during a flash thaw. Amazing that the ice chunks are so huge. I hope the next few mild days will turn out to be well above freezing and we'll finally lose most of our snow and ice, I did some shovelling of the remaining snow pile off my patio this afternoon, but there's still more to go.... it's in a shady spot and takes a while to disappear.
That's a nice sketch of Benny, do you have the actual sketch or simply a digital copy?

SG said...

Aww... I have to say, you have a way with the camera :)

Suldog said...

Great drawing of Benny. The ice - like having your own personal little glacier! Wow.

Shrinky said...

Benny is just the cutest (and fastest) little thing on four legs! I have NEVER seen ice like that before, each boulder must weigh a ton. God bless Frank for his caring efforts, I hope it pays dividends. As for that marvelous sketch, what a beautiful surprise that must have been for you.

HeatherPride said...

Oh, wow! Those are some huge ice chunks!

Cheffie-Mom said...

What a wonderful sketch of Benny. And the video is great! He is one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen!

Anonymous said...

Heck, I imagine that ice would have been dangerous. Beautiful photographs.

CJ xx

Sandi McBride said...

What a beautiful post...Benny is pretty fantastic himself! So glad that Frank is helping the pine reclaim it's place in the scheme of things!

Reb said...

Lovely sketch of Benny. The ice is amazing!

Startswithana said...

I've nominated you for the I Love Your Blog Award! Head to to receive your award

Andrea said...

Love everything in this post...the sketch..the amazing blocks of ice...the video of Benny!! Excellent...I always so enjoy my time here. :)

Hilary said...

• Shammie, we have no snow left here at all in Mississauga, but I'll bet there's plenty of ice left down by Frank's place. I'll find out later today, as I'm heading out there this morning. The sketch sure is wonderful, isn't it? We have the digital copy. I hope Jeanne is checking comments. So many of us are impressed with her fine work. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Phoenix. Very much appreciated. :)

• You're right, Sully. It's quite amazing, really. I'm looking forward to finding out how it might have changed in 2 weeks. Thanks for the visit. :)

• It was a marvelous surprise, Shrinky. And I agree about Frank. He's a big, ole tree hugger, he is. ;) Thanks always for dropping by. :)

• They sure are, Heather. Hopefully smaller by now. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Cheffie. He's a cute little fart, isn't he? Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, CJ. As scary as it would have been, I'd have loved a (safe) view of the flood as it happened. It must have been dramatic. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• Thanks very much, Sandi. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Your always-kind words are very much appreciated. :)

• I'm glad you enjoyed it, Reb. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, McRae. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks so kindly, Andrea. I'm always glad to have you along. Your kind comments are always a day-brightener. :)

Unknown said...

I'm longing for spring...aren't you? even though the photos from winter are so magical...I can't wait to be able to walk barefoot in the grass.

Clowncar said...

Bennie's a star!

Let's hope he remembers his fans when he becomes a famous movie star!

Merisi said...

These are among the most powerful images reflecting the power of nature I have ever seen!

mansuetude said...

love your ice blocks... when i was a girl i would have loved those for igloo making, it would be so awesome...

that dog rules!
lucky girl.

thanks for sharing these, its no ice for me these days like this and envy is arising like daylight

Hilary said...

• I agree completely, Chessa. I am looking forward to beautiful, warm weather. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• He might still paws to sign an autograph or two, Clowncar. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks kindly, Merisi. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks so much for the very kind words, Mansuetude. These ice blocks were much too big and heavy to lift for igloo-making. It would take a crane to get them into place. But it sure would be a cool structure. ;) Thanks very much for the kind words and I hope that one day soon, you'll see winter again. :)

Louise said...

This is amazing to me. I have never seen anything like it. Very cool photos and commentary. And Benny always entertains.

Hilary said...

Thanks very much, Louise. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)